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Bottom-up multilingualism in Singapore: Code choice on shop signs: The role of English in the graphic life of language choice in Singapore.

  • Guowen Shang and Shouhui Zhao


Characterized by a politically censorious and highly regulated society, Singapore is widely considered to be one of the most sophisticated authoritarian systems in history (Lee, 2005). As in many other public and private domains, the government, well known for its paternalistic attitude (Schiffman, 2003), usually practices an active interventional policy on linguistic life, which is extensively explored in language planning and policy study. However, in a few areas where less official intervention is exercised, the linguistic reality has received relatively scant attention. This study sets out to examine to what extent grassroots individuals can use shop signs to express their personal inclinations regarding language use, which may partly demonstrate the virtual vitality of various languages in the multilingual society.


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English Today
  • ISSN: 0266-0784
  • EISSN: 1474-0567
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