Singapore Idol vs Singaporean Idol

Someone wrote a letter to the Straits Times' forum page the other day asking why the show is called "Singapore Idol" here, not "Singaporean Idol", given that other incarnations are called "American Idol", "Australian Idol", and so on. This got me thinking: actually the fact that "Singapore" and "Singaporean" can both be used as adjectives to describe things from this island is actually a reflection of the fact that Singapore is a city-state. The adjective "Singaporean" can refer to things from either the country or city of Singapore, while "Singapore", used as an adjective, can refer to things from the city of Singapore. Consider: if there were a New York-only edition of American Idol, it would almost certainly be called "New York Idol", not "New Yorker Idol" (Who the New Yorker's idol is, of course, is a question for another debate.) The same principle applies to talking about sports: the Boston Red Sox play in the American League.

So in speaking about cities, one can often use just their name as adjectives, or use a distinct adjective. Question: if there were a Manchester-only edition of Pop Idol, would it be "Manchester Idol" or "Mancunian Idol"? Which means the choice of adjectival form is just a question of meter and then aesthetics. Personally, I feel "Singapore Idol" trips off the tongue more nicely than "Singaporean Idol".

Either way, the singing in the previews sounds awful.


Anonymous said…
A nice linguistic lesson from ya. Quite interesting.
Anonymous said…
It does make sense.

Also see

Under nationality they give Adjective as Singapore and noun (person) as Singaporean

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