It is worth noting that Singapore is a state that is of particular interest in terms of overcoming intercultural barriers. Singapore has been able to rally a multilingual society through a focused language policy that supports languages and cultures, while at the same time cultivates the achievement of universal literacy in the language of interethnic communication. The purpose of this paper is to provide arguments to prove that English should be considered as a mother tongue due to the fact that Singapore is a multi-racial country that needs to have a common language in order to communicate well.
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Importantly, the debate on whether English should become the mother tongue in Singapore or remain the first language is still ongoing. People who support the position that English is not desirable as native language suppose that society is not ready for shifting to English as to the mother tongue. For instance, Chee Kwok Hoe (2013) argues that society members should be equally proficient in reading, writing, listening, and speaking while, at present, many citizens translate Chinese sentences into English, which is not the same. In addition, some experts claim that if English is categorized as a mother tongue, then the interests of Malay and Indian communities will be neglected (Lu, 2013).
The author of this writing believes that the language policy of the country, which to a large extent, contributed to economic growth and political unity of the state, differs from the policies of other countries (Yimin, n.d.). The Singapore government supports linguistic and cultural diversity, and English is not seen as a legacy from the colonial past, which can lead to strife and rioting (as happened in India, for example). Also, it can be assumed that English is desirable as a mother tongue since it is used as the language of interethnic and intercultural communication and is actively used in the work of governing bodies at all levels in the economy, trade, and education, including primary and secondary one.
In addition, it can be argued that the use of English as a native language has other advantages for interethnic communication. It is clear that the use of English does not give an advantage to representatives of any particular nationality (Ying Ying, 2019). If English is used as the mother tongue, other major languages will remain equitable. The use of English does not mean that a loss of ethnocultural identification will occur. This language is used by different groups of the population, and this greatly simplifies the process of communication for people (which further unites the nation).
Thus, English should be considered as a native language due to the fact that it performs the function of a common state language and is used in all spheres of the life of society. The functions of the mother tongue also include the implementation of interlanguage and intercultural communication. The other languages should perform the functions of ethnocultural identification and allow ethnic groups to preserve and maintain their linguistic and cultural heritage.
- Chee Kwok Hoe, D. (2013). Singaporeans not ready for English as mother tongue. Today. Web.
- Lu, L. (2013). Can English be a Singaporean mother tongue? Malay Mail. Web.
- Yimin, H. (n.d.). Perception of mother tongue in Singapore (and why it can be limiting). Danamic. Web.
- Ying Ying, T. (2019). What is our Singaporean mother tongue? Today. Web.