The official languages of Singapore include Mandarin, Tamil, English and Malay.

Mandarin is one of the major languages spoken in Singapore which also serves as one of the official languages in the country. Mandarin or Huayu, has been on the rise since the 1970s due to its ability to unify the Chinese living in the region. Most people in Singapore who speak Mandarin are Chinese Singaporeans. Despite its widespread use, Mandarin is only the second most used language in the country, right after English.

Tamil language, which is written using the Tamil Script, is widely used by the Indians living in Singapore. As indicated by the statistics, the Tamil language is a dominant language in many Indian homes and serves as one of the official languages spoken in Singapore. The Tamil language was chosen as the official Indian language in Singapore, as settlers from the southern India’s Tamil Nadu region comprise more than half of the local Indian diaspora.

English is the main language used at work and in education facilities in Singapore, as well as the city’s most commonly spoken language. After the country attained its independence in 1965, the leaders decided to keep English as one of the four official languages due to the fact that it had already become one of the languages used by several countries and they wished to popularize it within Singapore as well. One of the greatest factors which initiated this idea of English popularization was the prospect of economic benefits derived from using the English language in trade and commerce. Furthermore, English is one of the languages used to facilitate communication among individuals from diverse regions within and outside the country. British English has been adopted as the main English standard, a legacy of the country’s colonial past.

Furthermore, Malay is another official and national language in Signapore. Malay is a reflection of the country’s indigenous culture before the arrival of the British colonies in 1819. After independence, Malay language and culture experienced a sharp decline and its use has diminished (unlike Mandarin and English). One of the issues which makes Malay distinct from other official languages utilized in the country is the use of Rumi, the Roman Script, in its written form. Nowadays, the Malay language is used mainly in government orders, the national anthem and decorations, giving it a mainly symbolic role. Singapore’s anthem, for example, is sung entirely in Malay.

Most Singaporeans can speak two languages, English and their mother tongue. There are also officially approved third language options offered to students, which include: Bahasa Indonesian, Arabic, Japanese, French, German and Spanish.


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