01 February 2011

Tiger Lim

I was just reading some of the entries in the blog by Tiger Lim (here). For example:
You know lah back to early 80's where got many entertainment one... the best one is watching movie loh.
Anak Bungsu got one thing not good is they always been forgotten easily sometime by the family. In the movie "Home Alone" also same like this...
These extracts raise some interesting linguistic questions:
  • Clearly, this use of informal, non-standard English is deliberate. I wonder how natural it is. And is this style of speech becoming formalised among a segment of the population?
  • If it is becoming established, does it have a grammar that could be described?
  • To what extent is this style of language different from similar usage that might be found in Singapore? Of course, Anak Bungsu ('youngest child') is Malay. Would a Chinese Singaporean use an expression like that? Or does its use reflect the fact that he is Bruneian?
  • To what extent is this style of language different among Chinese and Malay Bruneians? My impression is that the pragmatic particles lah and lor are rather more common among Chinese, but I am not certain. Also, what about the use of one in 'many entertainment one' ― is this also used by Malays?
I find playful, innovative language like this quite refreshing. Of course, it would be a problem if it cropped up in a formal setting; but then there should always be a range of styles of usage, and a blog is one medium where many people choose an informal style such as this.