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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Attitudes towards bilingualism in Malaysia: An overview

Salasiah Che Lah.

The year 2003 marked the Malaysian government's biggest decision in education that is to reinstate English as the medium of instructions for Mathematics and Science, reversing a policy introduced almost 30 years ago. \the government has approved the proposal to teach the two subjects in English in all schools including vernacular ones at primary One, Secondary One and Lower Six Form. The paper will focus on bilingualism in Malaysia in general and also the attitudes towards bilingualism and bilingual education and English as a second language in Malaysia. Interviews and surveys were carried out to formally and informally assess students' attitudes as a motivating force and their understanding of language and its functions. It is hoped that the information on how students perceive their development in two languages and positive attitudes that they have towards their respective languages can be used to develop truly biliterate individuals.


Salasiah Che Lah  (United Kingdom)
lecturer in linguistics
English Language Section, School of Humanities, Science University Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
Science University Malaysia

A linguistics lecturer with the School of Humanities, Science University Malaysia. Among the courses taught are sociolinguistics, semantics and pragmatics and theories of receptive and productive skills. Currently attached with the Theoretical and Applied Linguistics Department, University of Edinburgh, Scotland as a visiting scholar. Research interests include sociolinguistics, bilingualism, language attitudes, indigenous languages and literacy.

  • Attitudes
  • Bilingualism
  • English as a second language

(30 min Conference Paper, English)