Structure dataset 67: Singapore Bazaar Malay

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 67.

Singapore Bazaar Malay was spoken by fewer than 10,000 Singaporeans in the island state of Singapore in 2002-2004 when the research was carried out. This contact variety is under threat of extinction in the Singapore context as it has lost its former role as a lingua franca to English, especially among the younger generation.

Consequently, Singapore Bazaar Malay speakers nowadays are mostly the elderly Singaporeans and some middle-aged Singaporeans who need to be in occupational contact with the older generation who do not speak English and with whom they do not share any common language other than this contact variety. It is used only orally, although it may occur in written form, for example, in the cartoons in Malay. This contact language is normally confined to market places, shop houses, hawker centres and wherever people with no other common language meet and have to communicate.

Like other contact languages, Singapore Bazaar Malay is not a single unified variety with a multitude of variations corresponding to the speakers’ ethnic and linguistic background, age, education, exposure and frequency of use just to mention few.

The default lect described in APiCS is that of elderly people and those middle-aged Singaporeans whose age ranged from 49 to 77 and who came from different ethnic backgrounds. Some of them were formerly immigrants who had been in Singapore for more than 30 years.

Glossed text (61.9KB, application/pdf)
No. Feature Value Details Source
No. Feature Value Details Source


Pulmonic Consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop p b t d k g ʔ
Sibilant affricate t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s
Non-sibilant fricative h
Approximant l j
Flap or tap
Trill r
Lateral affricate
Lateral fricative
Lateral approximant
Lateral flap


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open ihigh front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel əmid central unrounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 w  voiced labial-velar glide


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
No. Feature Value Details Source