AN#11: Language and status

I don’t know whether Lucy has made it clear or not (if not, please tell me and I will edit the blog) but among Malaysians the language you speak is somehow related to the way you are in society. There are 3 types of schools: national schools, which instructs in Malay, Chinese schools in Chinese and Indian schools in Tamil. Generally those from Chinese and Indian schools tend to prefer mixing with their own ethnic group. National schools have students from all 3 ethnic groups and so the better schools are more likely to encourage interracial friendships, though that depends on the town you live in. Generally speaking English is perceived as more sophisticated – those with friends of different ethnicities tend to speak English with one another. Many students whose first language is Malay, Chinese or Tamil may try to speak English to look cool and fit in.  Those who speak English as a first language may be quite condescending to the rest.


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