An example illustrating some features of Singapore pronunciation that create homophones in Singlish is the syllable that sounds like “fyoo”. What word is it? There are more possibilities than you might imagine.


“Fyoo” is a rendering of the British/American pronunciation of the word “few”.

However, “fyoo” is a Singlish pronunciation of “feel”, “field”, and “fuel”. The final ‘l’ sound is manifested in the change from “ee” to “eeoo”, but the tongue never touches the roof of the mouth.

Singlish lacks the ship/sheep distinction, hence the joke: “Be kind to your teeth. They have fillings too.” Since “i” sounds the same as “ee”, “fill” sounds the same as “feel”, so “fyoo” could also be “fill(ed)”.


More Examples

In Singapore, the word “wheel” sometimes sounds like “will”; both can be pronounced “weeoo”. “Whale” sounds kinda like “way-oh” rather than “wayl”. “While” sounds a lot like “wow”. That final ‘l’ is really troublesome!

“Kyoo” could be the British noun/verb “queue”… or it could be “keel” or “kill(ed)”!