Whose English? Language Ownership in Singapore’s English Language Debates

Wendy D. Bokhorst-Heng, Rani Rubdy, Sandra Lee McKay and Lubna Alsagoff

in English in Singapore

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9789888028436
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206939 | DOI:

Series: Asian Englishes Today

Whose English? Language Ownership in Singapore’s English Language Debates

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This chapter examines language ownership in the English language debates in Singapore. It discusses the idealization of the so-called native speaker found within the native-speaker (NS)/non-native-speaker (NNS) dichotomy, as well as the unwillingness to recognize the different varieties of world Englishes as legitimate languages. It proposes a model of language ownership that moves away from the limitations of NS/NNS discourses, and focuses instead on speakers' orientations towards English norms to foreground speakers' degree of ownership of the English they speak.

Keywords: language ownership; English language; Singapore; NS/NNS dichotomy; language variety

Chapter.  9754 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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