The functions of language mixing in the social networks of Singapore students

Werner Botha

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1 Citation (Scopus)


In the context of multilingualism, there is still a dearth of research on the language practices of individuals and the social factors that explain their linguistic behaviour, particularly in the Singapore context. This article discusses the dynamics underlying a particular feature of vernacular Singapore speech - language mixing - and how such mixing practices form part of the social identity of the interactions between speakers in their respective social networks. The approach to this current study was adapted from Milroy's research on social networks (Milroy, Lesley. 1989 [1980]. Language and social networks, 2nd edn. Oxford: Blackwell.) in order to provide access to subjects' most natural use of languages - that is, their "vernacular"in the Labovian sense. This study investigates various aspects of the multilingual language practices of students in Singapore and reports on the social motivations and the social contexts of language mixing in the personal lives of these speakers in the context of other languages and language varieties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-226
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Issue number269
Early online date28 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • code-mixing
  • code-switching
  • language and social networks
  • language contact
  • language mixing
  • Singapore English
  • Singapore vernacular


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