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Languages of Singapore

Republic of Singapore. 4,327,000. National or official languages: Mandarin Chinese [cmn], Malay [zsm], Tamil [tam], English. Literacy rate: 93% (2000 census). Immigrant languages: American Sign Language, Hindi (5,000), Indonesian, Japanese (20,000), Korean (5,200), Sindhi (5,000), Sylheti, Telugu (600), Thai (30,000), Tukang Besi North. Also includes languages of the Philippines (50,000). Blind population: 1,442. Deaf institutions: 3. The number of individual languages listed for Singapore is 21. Of those, all are living languages.
Bengali

[ben] 600 in Singapore (1985). Ethnic population: 14,000 in Singapore (Johnstone and Mandryk 2001).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bengali-Assamese 
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Chinese, Hakka

[hak] 69,000 in Singapore (1980). Ethnic population: 151,000 in Singapore (1993).  Alternate names: Hokka, Ke, Kechia, Kehia, Kek, Khek.  Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 
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Chinese, Mandarin

[cmn] 201,000 in Singapore (1985).  Alternate names: Guoyu, Huayu.  Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 
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Chinese, Min Bei

[mnp] 4,000 in Singapore (1985). Ethnic population: 11,000 in Singapore.  Alternate names: Min Pei.  Dialects: Hokchia (Hockchew).  Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 
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Chinese, Min Dong

[cdo] 34,200 in Singapore (2000). Ethnic population: 31,391. Mainly in China. Dialects: Fuzhou (Fuchow, Foochow, Guxhou).  Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 
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Chinese, Min Nan

[nan] 1,170,000 in Singapore (1985). 736,000 speakers of Hokkien, 28.8% of the population (1993), 360,000 of Teochew (1985), 14.2% of the population (1993); 74,000 of Hainanese (1985), 2.9% of the population (1993). Ethnic population: 1,482,000 (1993) including 884,000 Hokkien (1993), 452,000 Teochew (1985), 146,000 Hainanese (1993).  Alternate names: Min Nam, Southern Min.  Dialects: Hokkien (Fukienese, Fujian, Amoy, Xiamen), Teochew (Chaochow, Chaozhou, Taechew), Hainanese.  Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 
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Chinese, Pu-Xian

[cpx] 14,100 in Singapore (2000).  Dialects: Henghua (Hinghua, Xinghua).  Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 
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Chinese, Yue

[yue] 314,000 in Singapore (1985). Ethnic population: 338,000 (1993).  Alternate names: Cantonese, Guangfu, Yue, Yueh.  Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 
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English

[eng] 665,000 in Singapore (2000 census).  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English 
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Gujarati

[guj] 800 in Singapore (1985). Ethnic population: 1,619 (1985).  Alternate names: Gujerathi, Gujerati.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Gujarati 
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Javanese

[jav] 800 in Singapore (1985). Ethnic population: 21,230.  Alternate names: Djawa, Jawa.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Javanese 
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Madura

[mad] 900 in Singapore (1985). Ethnic population: 14,292 (1985).  Alternate names: Madhura, Madurese.  Dialects: Bawean (Boyanese).  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Malayo-Sumbawan, Madurese 
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Malay

[zlm] 396,000 in Singapore (1985).  Alternate names: Colloquial Malay, Local Malay, Malayu.  Dialects: Jugra-Muar-Melaka-Johor.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Malayo-Sumbawan, North and East, Malayic, Malay 
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Malay, Baba

[mbf] 10,000 in Singapore (Pakir 1986). Ethnic population: 250,000 to 400,000 (1986). Mainly in the Katong District on the east coast and the surrounding districts of Geylang and Jao Chiat. Also in Malaysia (Peninsular). Alternate names: Baba, Chinese Malay, Straits Malay.  Dialects: It developed since the 15th century from Low Malay with many Min Nan Chinese [nan] borrowings. Regional variants between Malacca and Singapore. Partially intelligible with Standard Malay [zsm]. It is generally believed that the Baba of Malaysia is more ‘refined’, and that of Singapore more ‘rough’. Most have learned Standard Malay and English in school. Lim (1981) and Holm (1989) treat it as a Malay-based creole. It is different from Peranakan Indonesian [pea].  Classification: Creole, Malay based 
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Malay, Standard

[zsm] Few L1 speakers. L2 speakers include ethnic Malays and some others, particularly the older generation.  Alternate names: Formal Malay, Malay, Malayu, Melayu, Melayu Baku.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Malayo-Sumbawan, North and East, Malayic, Malay 
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Malayalam

[mal] 10,000 in Singapore. Ethnic population: 14,000 (1993).  Alternate names: Alealum, Malayal, Malayalani, Malean, Maliyad, Mallealle, Mopla.  Classification: Dravidian, Southern, Tamil-Kannada, Tamil-Kodagu, Tamil-Malayalam, Malayalam 
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Orang Seletar

[ors] 880 in Singapore (2000). North coast of Singapore, and opposite coast of Malaysia. Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Malayo-Sumbawan, North and East, Malayic, Malay 
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Panjabi, Eastern

[pan] 9,500 in Singapore (1987). Ethnic population: 14,000 (1993).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Panjabi 
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Singapore Sign Language

[sls] 3,000 (2007 SIL). Very few monolinguals. Ethnic population: 4,000 (2007 SIL).  Dialects: Natural Sign Language, Contact Signing (Signing Exact English, Pidgin Signed English).  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Sinhala

[sin] 850 in Singapore (1987). Ethnic population: 12,000 (1993).  Alternate names: Chingalese, Singhalese, Sinhalese.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Sinhalese-Maldivian 
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Tamil

[tam] 90,000 in Singapore (1985). Ethnic population: 111,000 (1993).  Classification: Dravidian, Southern, Tamil-Kannada, Tamil-Kodagu, Tamil-Malayalam, Tamil 
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