"Standard English," "Good English," and "Proper English"

Irving Goh, The National University of Singapore

Note 15 in the author's " Promising "Post-colonialism": Deleuze-Guattari's "Minor Literature" and the Poetry of Arthur Yap"

The voice of authority has across time, switched among these terms. Currently, it is "Good English" ("Buck upŠ"). "Standard" came up in the article "SinglishŠ": "Do not use Singlish in our television sitcoms, except for humorous bits, and in a way that makes people want to speak standard [my italics]." "Proper" is glaring in the article "OutŠ": "Go global with proper English." This ambivalence among terms in fact reflects the lawlessness of this instituting "law" that "outlaws" Singapore Colloquial English, just as all laws are as Derrida tells us. Cf. Derrida. "Before the Law." Acts of Literature. Ed. Derek Attridge. NY and London: Routledge, 1992. pp. 181-220.

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Last modified: 31 May 2001