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Exploring the linguistic power of English and Malay perceptions of vitality, language attitudes and language domains among undergraduates

Murad Sani, Azlina and Karpal Singh, Paramjit Kaur and Shapii, Aspalila and Awang Hashim, Rosna (2005) Exploring the linguistic power of English and Malay perceptions of vitality, language attitudes and language domains among undergraduates. Project Report. Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok. (Unpublished)

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This study compared the linguistic power of English and Bahasa Melayu among Malaysian undergraduates. Three measures of linguistic power were used, i.e., language vitality, language domains and attitudes to bilingualism. It also looked into the relations between these measures and four independent variables: language dominance, language proficiency, gender and ethnicity. Findings showed that although an overwhelming majority of Malaysian undergraduates used the mother tongue in their daily interactions outside the classroom, Malays appeared to have a stronger mother tongue affinity. Overall, there was a larger percentage of Malay bilinguals compared to English bilinguals. With regards to language vitality, both English and Bahasa Melayu were found to possess high status and solidarity value. However, each language was significantly associated with a different value—English with status and Bahasa Melayu with solidarity. It was also found that a language would be seen to have higher status and solidarity value as proficiency increases and the language becomes dominant in daily interactions. Both languages were used across intimate and utilitarian domains, with Bahasa Melayu perceived as slightly more important than English in all domains except private sector employment. However, a different tendency in ratings of important domains emerged by ethnicity, with Malays assigning higher importance to Bahasa Melayu, and non-Malays to English, especially in utilitarian domains. Both English and Bahasa Melayu dominants viewed the respective languages as more important across domains. In addition, non-Malays who were dominant in their mother tongue tended to see Bahasa Melayu as significantly less important across domains. Attitude towards Bahasa Melayu-English bilingualism was found to be highly positive, with females and Malays having significantly more positive attitudes. Based on the combined findings, it was suggested that both English and Bahasa Melayu currently possessed high linguistic power among undergraduates, with the two languages in coexistence. Given the relationships found between the different measures of linguistic power and language proficiency, dominance and ethnicity, implications were suggested in the context of English as a medium of instruction.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: College of Arts and Sciences
Depositing User: Prof. Madya Dr. Azlina Murad Sani
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2013 07:13
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2016 06:24
URI: http://repo.uum.edu.my/id/eprint/5969

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