The Gen XY Lifestyle

Slang in Singapore: A linguistic phenomenon in the workplace and beyond

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A recent survey by online tutoring platform Preply reveals an intriguing aspect of Singapore’s linguistic landscape: the pervasive use of slang.

Despite 74 percent of respondents suggesting it’s inappropriate to use slang in an office environment, a staggering 85 percent admit to using it at work.


The likelihood of including slang in workplace conversations, however, depends on the audience. While 47 percent of those surveyed said they use slang with co-workers, only 12 percent would dare to use it in front of their boss.


When asked about the appropriateness of using slang, respondents had varied opinions. The majority (65 percent) felt it was most appropriate to use slang at home, followed by social events (42 percent). Only 26 percent thought it was suitable to use slang at work, and a mere 12 percent felt it was acceptable on a first date. Interestingly, 10 percent of respondents believed that slang was always appropriate.


While attitudes towards slang may vary across settings and generations, there’s no denying it has an important role in language and culture. Getting up to speed on the local slang is a big part of learning a language and fitting in with the locals.

Sylvia Johnson, a language expert at Preply, weighed in on the findings.

However, the use of slang also comes with its challenges. The survey revealed that 79 percent of people worry about using slang incorrectly, and a further 65 percent admit to using slang without fully understanding what it means.


Johnson suggests that working with a language tutor can help individuals stay up-to-date with the latest trends in speech and culture, no matter where they are in the world.

It does seem like in Singapore, slang has found its place, weaving itself into everyday conversations and even into the professional sphere.

Data in tables courtesy of Preply.

Photos by Bna Ignacio on Unsplash and by Keith Yap on Unsplash