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Many of these features can be attributed to Asian languages such as Chinese, Malay, or Indian languages such as Tamil, though some cannot.Both the basilect and mesolect are referred to as "Singlish".The Singaporean government and some Singaporeans alike heavily discourage the use of Singlish in favour of Standard English.The government has created an annual Speak Good English Movement to emphasise the point.Singapore English derives its roots from 146 years (1819–1965) of British colonial rule over Singapore.
Standard Singapore English began to take root and Singlish began to evolve among the working classes who learned English without formal schooling.As a result, the use of Singlish is greatly frowned on by the government, and two former prime ministers, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, have publicly declared that Singlish is a substandard English that handicaps Singaporeans, presents an obstacle to learning proper English and renders the speaker incomprehensible to everyone except another Singlish speaker.Current prime minister Lee Hsien Loong has also said that Singlish should not be part of Singapore's identity. The Media Development Authority's free-to-air TV code states that the use of Singlish "should not be encouraged and can only be permitted in interviews, where only the interviewee speaks Singlish." Despite this, in recent years the use of Singlish on television and radio has proliferated as localised Singlish continues to be popular among Singaporeans, especially in comedies, such as Phua Chu Kang.a subtle language shift among the post-1965 generation became more and more evident as Malay idiomatic expressions were, and continued to be, displaced by idioms borrowed from Chinese spoken varieties, such as Hokkien.The continuum runs through the following varieties: Acrolectal: Acrolectal Singaporean English exhibits an absence of or a much smaller degree of Singlish pronunciation features than do Mesolectal, Basilectal, and pidgin variants of Singlish.
In British Malaya, English was the language of the British administration, whilst Malay was spoken as the lingua franca of the streets, as the British did not wish to antagonise the native Malays.