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“Baba Malay: Evolving ecologies, evolving language” lecture by Nala Lee (NUS Speaker Series)

Thu. April 11 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

04/11, 8 PM Eastern Time & 04/12, 8 AM Singapore Time

This event will be held online only. REGISTER HERE.
Baba Malay is a language formed via early intermarriages between Chinese traders and Indigenous women in the Malay peninsula. These Chinese traders, mostly from Zhangzhou and Quanzhou in China, were known to have settled in the region as early as the 15th century. With intermarriage came about the Peranakan Chinese community, who speak Baba Malay. Today, Baba Malay is an endangered creole perceived to be a less flexible language entity with static ascribed qualities. A comparison of modern Baba Malay data derived through language documentation with written resources from the late 1800s and early 1900s (including novels and letters) shows that this much less dynamic shape of the language is a new development. The considerable variation found in the earlier variety of Baba Malay can be attributed to the linguistic ideologies of early Baba Malay speakers and competing pressures in their group identities, whereas the loss of variation in today’s modern creole appears to stem not only from natural language change, but also from changes in the language’s socio-environment, such as an increasing lack of proficiency in the component languages and also a desire among speakers to distinguish themselves from speakers of the lexifier variety. These factors together explain the changes that have been observed in the language.

Dr. Nala Lee, Associate Professor in the Department of English, Linguistics, & Theatre Studies at the National University of Singapore.


This event is part of the Bringing Southeast Asia Home NUS speaker series, which aims to connect scholars of Southeast Asia located in the US Southeast with scholars of Southeast Asia at the National University of Singapore.


This talk is the second of a two-part series on linguistics and languages of Southeast Asia. The previous talk was given by Dr. Andrea Pham, Professor of Vietnamese and linguistics at the University of Florida.


Thu. April 11
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Zoom Registration Link NC + Google Map


Carolina Asia Center
View Organizer Website

The Carolina Asia Center supports diverse Asia-related events. However, CAC co-sponsorship of any talk, seminar, documentary screening, film screening, performance or celebration does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein. As an academic institution, we value diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding.

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