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A Sociolinguistic History Of Early Identities In Singapore

On 12 March 2014, the School of Arts and Social Sciences at SIM University (UniSIM) hosted a sociolinguistics talk by Associate Professor Phyllis Chew, a long-time instructor in the English Language and Literature programme at UniSIM and Associate Professor at the National Institute of Education. During the session, Associate Professor Chew presented topics from her most recent book, A Sociolinguistic History of Early Identities in Singapore: From Colonialism to Nationalism (2013), highlighting the cooperative aspects of multiracial and multicultural Singapore, both in the past and present.

Associate Professor Chew offered fresh perspectives on viewing colonial society on a solidarity-plurality cline. She illustrated how aspects of harmony are evident in dress, food, music, religious and literary activities, and familial practices.

Drawing on the social and linguistic history of colonial Singapore, Associate Professor Chew's research revealed how factors that indicate the extent of one's acculturalisation or assimilation are also intimately mirrored in one's use and choice of language, particularly English.

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Associate Professor Phyllis Chew (seated 2nd from left) with UniSIM students, alumni and staff.

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