The things you can do and learn online for General Paper (and Project Work).

Pragmatic particles

Taking K G’s comment on /sia/ as inspiration…. Maybe we could look at pragmatic particles, especially in Singlish.

Anthea Fraser Gupta wrote this page on Singlish. On pragmatic particles in particular, she said:

Singapore English uses about 11 particles, mostly borrowed from Hokkien or Cantonese, to indicate attitude to what is being said. They work rather like you know and you see. The three most common are ah (usually expects agreement), lah (strong assertion) and what (usually corrects something). Here are some examples:

There’s something here for everyone lah.Otherwise, how can be considered Singaporean ah?

No parking lots here, what.

OK lah, bye bye.

And then how many rooms ah?

You see my husband’s not at home lah. That’s the problem, ah.

Her price is too high for me lah.

I guess /sia/ is borrowed from Hokkien. Didn’t know there were as many as 11 of these particles though. Wonder which other languages have particles. This very brief page seems to suggest that you can find them in some European dialects too. 


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