Excerpts from a Skype call in Singlish [Subtitled]

I am finally back in Singapore after 8 months, and I’m ready to start clearing my backlog of planned blog posts. To commemorate this momentous occasion, I’m gonna start off my summer posts with the 3rd of three sound experiments that I had to do for my class called “Looking into Music.”

Since I began studying in America, I have created a separate, more “American” voice so that people could understand me better. I recorded a conversation with my friend Zixin, who is a Literature major at University College of London. This reveals my natural voice as we speak in Singlish, which is a creole that draws on the linguistic elements of Chinese, Chinese dialects, Malay, and Indian dialects. The subject matter stretches from the trivial to the serious in an attempt to both legitimise this method of speaking as well as represent cultural and a-cultural topics.

When I played this in class, it was to an audience of people who knew me, but not the voice that I had grown up speaking in. Furthermore, they had zero previous exposure to Singlish in any form (as opposed to Singaporeans who are exposed to American and British accents through TV). It was also interesting to transcribe my own voice – to recognise how it is different from my “American voice,” e.g. the sing-song quality, dissect the roots of its grammatical structure, and at times cringe at it.

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