The Survival of “Manglish” in the Spices Archipelago

Author: Angela Rumina Leo (School of Education & Social Sciences, Management and Science University, Malaysia)
Speaker: Angela Rumina Leo
Topic: Anthropological Linguistics
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


In light of the historic linguistic vibrancy of the Spices Archipelago, Manglish; the unique Malaysian creole emerges as a survivor in all its “rojak” glory through the hybridization of its words, expressions and idioms that consists of English, Malay, Hokkien, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil, and Malayalam. Independently; these languages which were once chief conveyance of knowledge, beliefs, traditions and customs between communities, function as an emblem of a pluralistic society living in harmony. However, the de factor national language of Malaysia; with all its creativity & complexity is exhibited as aversive to the Standard English. This study then contests the claim by exploring the position of the Asian variety as a form of World Englishes and accentuating its significance in the global context on the grounds of social history which encourages a multilingual culture. The data for this study is assembled by examining a fairly topical compendium of resources on the Malaysian English via a synchronic and diachronic contextual analysis and investigating the Malaysians’ perspective on the reality of ‘Manglish’ by means of online questionnaires and interviews. The findings of this research will be discussed.

Keywords: Cultural identity, Malaysian English, national identity, pluralistic society, variety, World Englishes