Ethnologue: Areas: Asia

Singapore

2,836,000 (1995). Total ethnic Chinese are 2,227,000 or 76.4% of the population. Republic of Singapore. Literacy rate 87% to 90%. Also includes from the Philippines 50,000. Data accuracy estimate: B. Chinese traditional religion, Muslim, secular, Christian, Hindu. Blind population 1,442. Deaf institutions: 3. The number of languages listed for Singapore is 26.

BENGALI [BNG] 600 speakers in Singapore (1985), out of 12,000 in the ethnic group in Singapore (1993 Johnstone); 189,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Also in Bangladesh, India, United Arab Emirates. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bengali-Assamese. Bengali script. National language. Hindu, Muslim. Braille Bible portions. Braille Scripture in progress. Bible 1809-1909. NT 1801-1984. Bible portions 1800-1980.

CHINESE, HAKKA (KHEK, KEK, KEHIA, KECHIA, KE, HOKKA) [HAK] 69,000 speakers in Singapore (1980), or 2.9% of the population, out of 151,000 in the ethnic group (1993); 34,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Also in China, Malaysia, Surinam. Sino-Tibetan, Chinese. Bible 1916. NT 1883-1993. Bible portions 1860-1995.

CHINESE, MANDARIN (HUAYU, GUOYU) [CHN] 201,000 speakers, 7.9% of population, and 880,000 second language users (literate in Mandarin) in Singapore (1985 estimate); 885,000,000 in all countries. Sino-Tibetan, Chinese. Taught in schools, increasing use. 44% also use other Chinese varieties at home; 12% use English at home. National language. Bible 1874-1983. NT 1857-1981. Bible portions 1864-1986.

CHINESE, MIN BEI (MIN PEI) [MNP] 4,000 speakers of Hokchia out of 11,000 in ethnic group in Singapore (1985); 10,537,000 in all countries. Sino-Tibetan, Chinese. Dialect: HOKCHIA (HOCKCHEW). NT 1934. Bible portions 1934.

CHINESE, MIN DONG [CDO] 15,000 speakers of Foochow out of 31,391 in ethnic group in Singapore (1985). Mainly in China. Sino-Tibetan, Chinese. Dialect: FUZHOU (FUCHOW, FOOCHOW, GUXHOU). Bible 1884-1905. NT 1856. Bible portions 1852.

CHINESE, MIN NAN (SOUTHERN MIN, MIN NAN) [CFR] 1,170,000 speakers in Singapore (1985), out of 1,482,000 in the ethnic group (1993), including 736,000 speakers of Hokkien, 28.8% of the population, out of 884,000 in the ethnic group (1993); 360,000 speakers of Teochew (1985), 14.2% of the population, out of 452,000 in the ethnic group (1993); 74,000 speakers of Hainanese (1985), 2.9% of the population, out of 146,000 in the ethnic group (1993); 49,000,000 in all countries (1991 WA). Sino-Tibetan, Chinese. Dialects: HOKKIEN (FUKIENESE, FUJIAN, AMOY, XIAMEN), TEOCHEW (CHAOCHOW, CHAOZHOU, TAECHEW), HAINANESE. Hokkien is the most widely understood language in Singapore (Kuo 1979). Speakers report Hokkien and Teochew to be intelligible with each other, but not Hainanese. Mandarin, English, and other Chinese varieties are also used at home. Trade language. Bible 1933. NT 1896-1974. Bible portions 1875-1916.

CHINESE, PU-XIAN [CPX] 6,000 speakers of Henghua in Singapore, out of 12,902 in ethnic group (1985). Mainly in China. Sino-Tibetan, Chinese. Dialect: HENGHUA (HINGHUA, XINGHUA). Bible 1912. NT 1900. Bible portions 1892.

CHINESE, YUE (CANTONESE, YUEH, GUANGFU) [YUH] 314,000 speakers in Singapore (1985), 12.3% of the population, out of 338,000 in the ethnic group (1993); 66,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Sino-Tibetan, Chinese. Bible 1894-1981. NT 1877, in press (1996). Bible portions 1862-1903.

ENGLISH [ENG] 227,000 speakers, 8.9% of population, 729,000 second language users (literate in English) in Singapore, 28.5% of population (1985 estimate); 322,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Indo-European, Germanic, West, North Sea, English. Ethnic groups which use English: Chinese 154,000, 68%; European and Eurasian 34,000, 15%; Indian 32,000, 14%; Malay 6,000, 3%. Chinese varieties and Tamil also used at home. National language. Braille Bible. Bible 1382-1989. NT 1380-1991. Bible portions 1530-1987.

GUJARATI (GUJERATHI, GUJERATI) [GJR] 800 speakers out of 1,619 ethnic group (1985 estimate); 43,312,000 in India (1994); 44,000,000 in all countries. Also in Pakistan, Bangladesh. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Gujarati. Hindu. Bible 1823-1994. NT 1820-1985. Bible portions 1809-1965.

HINDI [HND] 5,000 in Singapore (1970); 182,000,000 in all countries. Also in India, USA, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Yemen, Nepal, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Germany. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Western Hindi, Hindustani. Devanagari script. Typology: SOV. Hindu. Braille Bible portions. Bible 1818-1987. NT 1811-1992. Bible portions 1806-1962.

JAPANESE [JPN] 20,000 in Singapore (1993); 125,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Japanese, Japanese. Bible 1883-1987. NT 1879-1993. Bible portions 1837-1992.

JAVANESE (JAWA, DJAWA) [JAN] 800 in Singapore out of 21,230 in ethnic group (1985 estimate); 75,500,800 in all countries. Also in Indonesia, Malaysia. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Western Malayo-Polynesian, Sundic, Javanese. Traditional Javanese script. Typology: SVO. Muslim. Bible 1854-1994. NT 1829-1981. Bible portions 1852-1954.

KOREAN (CHAOXIAN) [KKN] 5,200 in Singapore (1985); 75,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Also North and South Korea, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Japan, USA, Guam. Language Isolate. Buddhist, Christian. Bible 1911-1993. NT 1887-1983. Bible portions 1882-1961.

MADURA (MADURESE, MADHURA) [MHJ] 900 speakers in Singapore out of 14,292 in the ethnic group (1985 estimate); 10,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Also in Java, Indonesia. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Western Malayo-Polynesian, Sundic, Madurese. Dialect: BAWEAN (BOYANESE). Muslim. Bible 1994. Bible portions 1890-1964.

MALACCAN CREOLE PORTUGUESE (MALAYSIAN CREOLE PORTUGUESE, MALACCAN, PAPIA KRISTANG) [MCM] Several thousand (1984 I. Hancock), including several hundred in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore (1981 Wurm and Hattori). Trankera and Hilir, Melaka, Straits of Malacca. Related varieties in parts of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Variety in Pulau Tikus, Penang is now virtually extinct. Creole, Portuguese based. Also spoken as second language by some Chinese shopkeepers in Hilir. Used in RC church services until World War II. Trade language. Fishermen. Christian.

MALAY (BAHASA MALAY, MELAYU) [MLI] 396,000 in Singapore (1985 estimate), 15.5% of the population; 17,600,000 in all countries, or more. 10,000 or more Peranakan Malay in Singapore (1986 A. Pakir); 5,000 in Malacca, Malaysia (1979 Tan Chee Beng). Also in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, USA, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Western Malayo-Polynesian, Sundic, Malayic, Malayan, Local Malay. Dialect: PERANAKAN MALAY (BABA MALAY, STRAITS MALAY, CHINESE MALAY). Ethnic groups who speak Malay: Malay 339,000, 85%; Javanese 21,000, 5%; Indians 14,000, 3.5%; Bawean Madurese 14,000, 3.5%; Arabs 2,500, .6%; Bugis 500, .1%. English used at home by 7%. 85% literate. Monolingual speakers of Peranakan Malay are 70 years old or older. National language. Sunni Muslim, Christian. Braille code available. Bible 1733-1993. NT 1668-1938. Bible portions 1629-1932.

MALAYALAM (ALEALUM, MALAYALANI, MALAYALI, MALEAN, MALIYAD, MALLEALLE, MOPLA) [MJS] 10,000 speakers in Singapore, .4% of the population, out of 14,000 in the ethnic group (1993); 33,667,000 in India (1994); 300,000 in United Arab Emirates (1986); 37,000 in Malaysia (1993); 313 in Fiji; 34,014,000 in all countries. Dravidian, Southern, Tamil-Kannada, Tamil-Kodagu, Tamil-Malayalam, Malayalam. Malayalam script. Christian. Braille Bible portions. Bible 1841, in press (1996). NT 1829-1980. Bible portions 1811-1968.

ORANG SELETAR [ORS] 541 (1981 Wurm and Hattori). North coast of Singapore, and opposite coast of Malaysia. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Western Malayo-Polynesian, Sundic, Malayic, Malayan, Aboriginal Malay. Coastal. Survey needed.

PANJABI, EASTERN [PNJ] 9,500 speakers in Singapore (1987), .4% of the population, out of 14,000 in the ethnic group (1993); 23,000,000 in India (1991 IMA). Also in Bangladesh, Fiji, Kenya. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Panjabi. Sikh. Bible 1959-1984. NT 1815, in press (1996). Bible portions 1818-1954.

SINDHI [SND] 5,000 in Singapore (1993); 16,992,000 in Pakistan (1993); 2,678,000 in India; 19,675,000 in all countries. Also in Afghanistan. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Sindhi. Hindu, Sikh, Muslim. Bible 1954. NT 1890-1992. Bible portions 1825-1971.

SINGAPORE SIGN LANGUAGE [SLS] Deaf sign language. Survey needed.

SINHALA (SINHALESE, SINGHALESE, SINHALA, CINGALESE) [SNH] 852 speakers in Singapore (1987), out of 12,000 in the ethnic group (1993); 13,000,000 in all countries (1991 WA). Also in Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Canada. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Sinhalese-Maldivian. Sinhalese script. A great difference between the literary and colloquial language. Typology: SOV. Buddhist. Braille Bible portions. Bible 1823-1982. NT 1776-1980. Bible portions 1739-1966.

TAMIL [TCV] 90,000 speakers in Singapore (1985), 3.5% of the population, out of 111,000 in the ethnic group (1993); 62,000,000 in all countries, or more. Dravidian, Southern, Tamil-Kannada, Tamil-Kodagu, Tamil-Malayalam, Tamil. 19% speak English at home. National language. Hindu. Braille Bible portions. Bible 1727-1995. NT 1715-1988. Bible portions 1714-1956.

TELUGU (TELEGU, ANDHRA, GENTOO, TAILANGI, TELANGIRE, TELGI, TENGU, TERANGI, TOLANGAN) [TCW] 300 speakers in Singapore (1970); 67,000,000 in India (1991 IMA); 2,008 in Fiji; 73,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Also in United Arab Emirates. Dravidian, South-Central, Telugu. Telugu script. Typology: SOV. Braille Bible portions. Bible 1854-1990. NT 1818, in press (1995). Bible portions 1812-1966.

THAI (CENTRAL TAI, STANDARD THAI, SIAMESE, THAI) [THJ] 30,000 in Singapore (1993); 3,000 in United Arab Emirates (1986); 14,416 in USA (1970 census); 20,000,000 to 25,000,000 in Thailand (1990); 21,000,000 in all countries, or more. Daic, Kam-Tai, Tai, Southwestern, East Central, Chiang Saeng. Thai script. Buddhist. Braille code available. Bible 1883-1990. NT 1843-1977. Bible portions 1834-1967.


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Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
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