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Title: Metrolingual multitasking and differential inclusion: Singapore’s Chinese languages in shared spaces
Authors: Ye, Junjia
Kwan, Justin P.
Montsion, Jean Michel
Keywords: Social sciences::Political science
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Ye, J., Kwan, J. P. & Montsion, J. M. (2022). Metrolingual multitasking and differential inclusion: Singapore’s Chinese languages in shared spaces. Urban Studies, 59(16), 3442-3458.
Project: 04INS000370C430
Journal: Urban Studies
Abstract: Arrival cities are defined through migration-led diversification that structures integration, notably through everyday language practices. In Singapore’s multilingual landscape, we find hints of historical waves of migrants from Southern China speaking Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien and Teochew and the recent contributions of new migrants from Mainland China. In light of the work of Pennycook and Otsuji, this article explores how the norms of metrolingual multitasking – of adaptation through language – structure differential inclusion in Singapore through banal and commonplace interactions in shared spaces, such as markets. By focusing on historically situated linguistic scripts of inclusion and exclusion in the city-state, we contrast the linguistic adaptations of older and newer arrivals to show how integration is continuously constituted through the differential inclusion of new arrivals. Based on a series of interviews, we shed light on how metrolingual multitasking, as praxis of differential inclusion, sets up the normative framework for the coexistence of various linguistic forms and resources, whether recognised officially or not, and their use in creative ways for pragmatic communication in completing daily tasks. In this context, the norms of metrolingual multitasking reveal an overall sense of ordinary coexistence in living with such diversity as a requirement for successful integration, despite necessary instances of differential treatment and exclusionary practices, including a refusal to engage with difference.
ISSN: 0042-0980
DOI: 10.1177/00420980221101452
Rights: © 2022 Urban Studies Journal Limited. All rights reserved.
Fulltext Permission: none
Fulltext Availability: No Fulltext
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