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Open Access Discourse Particles in Malaysian English

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Discourse Particles in Malaysian English

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Regional varieties of language, often a result of language contact, possess various characteristics, such as borrowed words, and often structures, sounds, and meanings transferred from one or more languages. The variety of English used in informal contexts in Malaysia known as Malaysian English contains localized features resulting from contact with languages spoken by the local indigenous populations as well as the Chinese and Indian diaspora in this Southeast Asian nation. A prominent feature of Malaysian English is the presence of discourse particles (such as lah, meh, and lor) that are not found in the standardized form of English and that are often unintelligible to people unfamiliar with them. Using communication on Facebook by Chinese Malaysian young adults as data representing real-life, informal talk in a computer-mediated environment, this article examines the multiple functions of Malaysian English discourse particles and proposes a framework for interpreting their meanings when used in communication.

Affiliations: 1: Universiti Putra Malaysia lichiatay@gmail.com ; 2: Universiti Putra Malaysia cmy@upm.edu.my ; 3: Universiti Putra Malaysia ntyap@upm.edu.my ; 4: Universiti Putra Malaysia bee@upm.edu.my

10.1163/22134379-17204002
/content/journals/10.1163/22134379-17204002
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Regional varieties of language, often a result of language contact, possess various characteristics, such as borrowed words, and often structures, sounds, and meanings transferred from one or more languages. The variety of English used in informal contexts in Malaysia known as Malaysian English contains localized features resulting from contact with languages spoken by the local indigenous populations as well as the Chinese and Indian diaspora in this Southeast Asian nation. A prominent feature of Malaysian English is the presence of discourse particles (such as lah, meh, and lor) that are not found in the standardized form of English and that are often unintelligible to people unfamiliar with them. Using communication on Facebook by Chinese Malaysian young adults as data representing real-life, informal talk in a computer-mediated environment, this article examines the multiple functions of Malaysian English discourse particles and proposes a framework for interpreting their meanings when used in communication.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134379-17204002
2016-01-01
2018-09-19

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