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Velda is a Singaporean linguist whose research focuses on Singlish. She works within paradigms of sociocultural linguistics and linguistic anthropology and examines language and identity, language in globalization, and language politics. Through her professional work on Singlish, she engages in debates on the linguistic status of Singlish, and questions fundamental assumptions of language: what is language, how language emerges from usage, and how language facilitates identity construction.

As a PhD student in the University of Colorado Boulder, she has focused on synthesizing and challenging previous research that has placed Singlish in many, often conflicting, categories: hybrid languages, creoles, and “a bastardized variety of English”, among others. Singapore’s unique history has intertwined Singlish in policy and nationalism. This relationship has also proved foundational in Velda’s research, as Singlish’s indexical value often emerges as explicitly political. She explored these aspects of Singlish in recent papers titled “The listening subject in defining the Singapore politician,” and “Simultaneous indexicalities: Linguistic variation in political speech in Singapore”.

Velda is also a graduate instructor at her home department, and has led and taught almost four years of undergraduate courses in linguistics, including World Language Policies, Language in U.S. Society, and Language Sound Structures. In 2015, she helped organize the department’s biannual conference for the Program in Culture, Language, and Social Practice, of which she is a member. She has also served as the Lead Graduate Coordinator for the Linguistics Literacy Practicum, a program in which undergraduate students work with local students and community members. Velda received her MA in Linguistics from the University of Colorado Boulder and graduated valedictorian from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore with a BA (first class honours) in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and playing mahjong with her kakis.