Singlish Books to Get Intimate with Locals

MAI SIAO SIAO! Our Singlish is a HIT hor.

On Feb 5, 2017, The Straits Time published an article “Don’t play, play – Singlish is studied around the globe“. Some snippets of the article:

“But they are not merely for entertainment. In recent years, such shows have found a place in universities around the world, where linguists draw on dialogues used in these local productions to introduce to undergraduates and postgraduate students how Singlish has become a unique variety of the English language.”


So for those who want to get started on learning Singlish to get more intimate and build rapport with locals, here are some interesting books you can read and analyse until paralyse:


1. Spiaking Singlish: A Companion to How Singaporeans Communicate / Gwee Li Sui

“Spiaking Singlish: A Companion To How Singaporeans Communicate”, Gwee’s “personal love letter to Singlish” is a collection of columns and cartoons about, and written entirely in, Singlish. Most of the columns were written during Gwee’s 2016 stint as a weekly columnist for news site The Middle Ground, which he has expanded on in the book.

Source: Yahoo Lifestyle


2. Eh Goondu! / Sylvia Toh

The Complete Eh, Goondu! combines in one volume two of Singapore’s best-selling humour titles Eh, Goondu! and Lagi Goondu. Eh, Goondu published in 1982 was the first book on Singlish. It compiled in print a collection of local patois which combined English with vernacular dialects and languages to form what is now called Singlish. It was the first to spell words which were previously spoken and never written down.

Source: Amazon


3. Singaporelang: what the Singlish / Zinkie Aw

The Singapore Lang Singlish Book is a photo-language collection book that consists of 40 photographs that depicts Singlish scenarios. The book includes sticker pullouts for readers to caption their own photos to complete the scene .

This fun and engaging photo sticker book also comes with a dictionary glossary of 100 Singlish terms into 4 main languages. You can now learn Singlish the fun way!

Source: Naiise


4. An Essential Guide to Singlish / Miel

With hilarious illustrations by award-winning cartoonist, Miel this book provides useful tips for bargaining, and a special section on shopping. There are also chapters about food, festivals and customs, and other insights that may coax readers into some very funny moments indeed.

Source: Bookdepository


5. Sounds and Sins of Singlish and other Nonsense / Rex Shelley

Taking a light-hearted approach, the author, a long-time resident in Singapore and Malaysia, deals with the unique form of the English language that is spoken and written in Singapore.

Source: NLB


6. Coxford Singlish dictionary 2nd edition / Colin Goh & Y.Y. Woo

Accused of being “air-level’ during National Service? Ever been called a “keng chio kia”? Are you a “chao ang moh” trying to “buaya” and “SPG”? Dun Scared! The Coxford Singlish Dictionary can hepchu one.

Singlish is Singapore’s unique and beloved blend of English, Malay, Tamil and various Chinese dialects. Often unfairly maligned, Singlish actually involves a lot of very witty cross-cultural wordplay.

Source: MPH Online


7. Singlish vs English: Quirky Singlish meets Standard English by Little Drom Store

A compilation of fun Singlish conversation against colorful backdrop, this book is a light-hearted collectible.

8. The Three Little Pigs Lah : Fairytale in Singlish by Casey Chen

The Three Little Pigs Lah is the first Singapulah Classics depicting the classic story of the three little pigs in modern Singapore.

Let us know your thoughts and comments after you read these books!

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