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Title: A study of audience reception on code-mixing in subtitles : Singapore dreaming as an example
Authors: Lee, Wei Liang
Keywords: Social sciences::Communication::Audience research
Humanities::Linguistics::Sociolinguistics::Language policy
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Lee, W. L. (2021). A study of audience reception on code-mixing in subtitles : Singapore dreaming as an example. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: Singapore’s pidginized language variations include English, Mandarin, Malay and Chinese dialects such as Teochew, Cantonese and Hokkien. Although English was designated to be Singapore’s lingua franca upon the nation’s independence from British colonial rule, the Singaporean vernacular is often code-mixed by infusing English with grammar of Mandarin, Malay and Chinese dialects. More often than not, subtitlers are caught in a dilemma between faithfulness of source dialogues and retaining a Singaporean flavour in order to engage both local and foreign audiences. Given that existing literature and research on subtitling code-mixed dialogues are inchoate, this empirical study seeks to explore the relationship between Singlish proficiency and audiences’ understanding of subtitles for code-mixed dialogues through the case study of the local film Singapore Dreaming. An analysis of the 130 responses shows that there is a strong correlation between Singlish proficiency and audiences’ understanding of subtitles. A semi-structured survey and interviews were conducted online with 12 respondents to further investigate the reasons behind such a phenomenon. The majority of the respondents preferred subtitles to be expressed in standard language as it serves as a communicative bridge for audiences, be it local or foreign, to comprehend the Singaporean way of speaking. Apart from comprehension, subtitles are also of educational value in language acquisition, thus emphasising on the importance of using standardised subtitles to prevent misinterpretation by audience. Notwithstanding the viewpoints of the majority, there is a minority who preferred code-mixing subtitles by means of transliteration for cultural-specific terms. Such preference stems from their support for the Singaporean identity and its preservation, and contradicts regulatory authorities’ policies, which advocate standardised language. The outcome of both quantitative and qualitative studies based on the case study Singapore Dreaming clearly indicates the necessity of standard subtitles for Singaporeans and native speakers of English and Chinese to understand Singaporean audiovisual productions culturally and linguistically.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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