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From Multilingualism to Bilingualism: Singaporean Students’ Language Repertoires and Attitudes

Dr. Peter Siemund (University of Hamburg) gives a talk at the LRC


On the 3rd of October 2017, I was honored to give a talk at the Language Research Centre of the University of Calgary on my current sociolinguistic research in Singapore. The talk was kindly hosted and organized by Prof. Mary O’Brien and Prof. Wei Cai from the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures & Cultures. In my talk, I documented the complex linguistic texture of Singapore and offered generalizations and explanations for ongoing processes of language change and shift in the city state. The audience comprised of faculty and graduate students alike.

I was very positively surprised by the extremely knowledgeable and professional response to a topic on a linguistic area that is perhaps a little less well known in Alberta. It turned out, however, that the social and linguistic dynamics observable in Singapore can be related in a very fruitful way to ongoing population dynamics and processes of language change in Western Canada, and also other areas of the world that some of the graduate students are currently working on. My talk sparked an extremely lively discussion and opened up a number of alleys for cooperation which I would be more than happy to explore in the future.