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Fri 30 Sep 2005

A Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English

Category : heritage

Jack Lee may not be a Singlish speaker but believes that,

"Singlish is economical, expressive and emotional. It is something home-grown that reflects Singaporeans' multi-racial roots. It is how we talk to our families, our friends, the people that live with us on this Little Red Dot whom we come into contact with. Allowing it to wither away would be a real shame."

His contribution has been to toil away on 'A Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English.'

This amateur attempt (he says he's no etymologist) is an ongoing on-line project and quite a serious business, unlike the humourous 'Coxford Singlish Dictionary', so hello, friend, don't play-play*.

In the appeals page which provides some guidelines, he invites you to "help read books, magazines, newspapers and other published works, particularly those produced in Singapore or written by Singapore authors, and to suggest quotations from them for this on-line Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English." He'd welcome suggestions since he's had to rely mainly on just the The Straits Times for his citations.

Link

*play play v. [Eng., poss. < Mand. wnwn: wn play, have fun, amuse oneself; trifle with, treat lightly] Play the fool, fool around, take lightly.
2003 Tan Shzr Ee The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 16 November, L2 Mr Ahmad Ali.. works as a security guard at the Kasturina Lodge condominium in Kay Poh Road, off River Valley Road. Whenever he takes a taxi to work, the driver will inevitably tell him 'Don't play play.' He adds: 'They don't believe me. So I tell them to drive to the famous chicken rice stall nearby instead.' The road, which means 'busybody' in Hokkien, is named after a 19th-century Chinese businessman called Wee Kay Poh, who was a managing partner of an opium and liquor business.
- A Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English

Posted at 4:31AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news