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Title: Are Chinese Singaporean university students willing to speak in Mandarin?
Authors: Ong, Wei Jie
Keywords: Humanities::Linguistics::Sociolinguistics::Bilingualism::Singapore
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Abstract: Despite the Singapore government’s rhetoric that the speaking of Mandarin provides cultural and economic benefits to the ethnic Chinese in Singapore, there have been trends of dwindling levels of use of Mandarin at home and declining proficiency levels amongst the ethnic Chinese. This paper investigates the willingness of Chinese Singaporean university students to speak in Mandarin, if any demographics would be more likely to speak in Mandarin and the possible reasons behind any unwillingness to converse in Mandarin. The methodology of the study involved approaching Chinese Singaporean university students and recruiting them to participate in the study, in Mandarin. The language in which these university students replied in response to the researcher was recorded down as a measure of the individual’s willingness to speak in Mandarin. Out of the 68 university students that were approached, 47 participants were recruited: individual interviews were then conducted amongst them to gather demographic data and identify reasons as to why Chinese Singaporean university students might not be willing to use Mandarin. The results of the study found that while most Chinese Singaporean university students are willing to use Mandarin, the number of students who are unwilling to use Mandarin is sizable, at around one- quarter of the university students approached. The results also suggest male Chinese Singaporean university students tend to be more willing to speak in Mandarin, as compared to females, and that university students who mostly spoke English at home are less likely to be willing to use Mandarin. A large number of reasons were surfaced as possible explanations to why Chinese Singaporean university students might not be willing to use Mandarin, with a lack of proficiency in the language leading insecurity and refusal to speak the language and a lack of incentive to speak the language being the most salient reasons. The snapshot of the linguistic situation amongst Chinese Singaporean university students suggests that the Singapore government not only needs to focus on these two reasons but address how the use of the English language is crowding out the use of Mandarin.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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