Publication details [#62757]

Starr, Rebecca L., Andre Joseph Theng, Kevin Martens Wong and Natalie Jing Yi Tong. 2017. Third culture kids in the outer circle: The development of sociolinguistic knowledge among local and expatriate children in Singapore. Language in Society 46 (4) : 506–546.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Cambridge University Press


This inquiry explore the sociolinguistic development of local and expatriate children in Singapore and examines the degree to which they share sociolinguistic knowledge and norms. 114 children, aged five to nineteen, completed a region identification task and an occupation judgment task, centering on their perception of four regional English varieties: Singapore English, Northern-China-accented English, Australian English, and Filipino English. While all groups performed well on the region identification task, expatriate children surpassed locals within the youngest age group. Singaporean and expatriate children attending local schools displayed greater familiarity with local norms than international school students in their occupation ratings. Participants mapped speakers to occupations by general prestige level, suggesting that children depend on indirect knowledge of social status rather than direct experience with speakers in their sociolinguistic evaluation development.