Code choice in Hong Kong : from bilingualism to trilingualism

Woon Yee, Judy HO

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

China resumed its sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. Since then drastic changes in this former British colony have occurred. One of these changes is a shift in language policy, from bilingualism (Cantonese and English) to trilingualism (Cantonese, English and Putonghua). The present study is aimed at investigating tertiary students’ use of Cantonese, English and Putonghua on a daily basis, analysing the roles and functions of each language and discussing how these may impact on language policy and language education. Research instruments included 52 students’ language diaries and written analyses, 51 hours of audio-recordings of verbal exchanges, and focus group semi-structured interviews. Results show that the students’ speech repertoire mainly consists of two languages: Cantonese and English and their various mixes. Cantonese is used to ensure understanding, consolidate solidarity and maintain social cohesion. The English-Cantonese mix has become a more powerful identity marker for educated people in Hong Kong than pure Cantonese. English and its supplement with Cantonese are often used in the domain of education. The majority of students seldom use Putonghua in everyday life, but there is a strong instrumental motivation to learn it. Measures are suggested to facilitate a more successful move from bilingualism to trilingualism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18.1-18.17
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Review of Applied Linguistics
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

Fingerprint

multilingualism
Hong Kong
student
language
policy on language
language education
language policy
social cohesion
solidarity
sovereignty
supplement
everyday life
recording
China
Bilingualism
Code Choice
Trilingualism
Putonghua
Language
interview

Cite this

HO, Woon Yee, Judy. / Code choice in Hong Kong : from bilingualism to trilingualism. In: Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. 2008 ; Vol. 31, No. 2. pp. 18.1-18.17.
@article{6a86a71189064824817354c91df27a61,
title = "Code choice in Hong Kong : from bilingualism to trilingualism",
abstract = "China resumed its sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. Since then drastic changes in this former British colony have occurred. One of these changes is a shift in language policy, from bilingualism (Cantonese and English) to trilingualism (Cantonese, English and Putonghua). The present study is aimed at investigating tertiary students’ use of Cantonese, English and Putonghua on a daily basis, analysing the roles and functions of each language and discussing how these may impact on language policy and language education. Research instruments included 52 students’ language diaries and written analyses, 51 hours of audio-recordings of verbal exchanges, and focus group semi-structured interviews. Results show that the students’ speech repertoire mainly consists of two languages: Cantonese and English and their various mixes. Cantonese is used to ensure understanding, consolidate solidarity and maintain social cohesion. The English-Cantonese mix has become a more powerful identity marker for educated people in Hong Kong than pure Cantonese. English and its supplement with Cantonese are often used in the domain of education. The majority of students seldom use Putonghua in everyday life, but there is a strong instrumental motivation to learn it. Measures are suggested to facilitate a more successful move from bilingualism to trilingualism.",
author = "HO, {Woon Yee, Judy}",
year = "2008",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.2104/aral0818",
language = "English",
volume = "31",
pages = "18.1--18.17",
journal = "Australian Review of Applied Linguistics",
issn = "0155-0640",
publisher = "Monash University ePress",
number = "2",

}

Code choice in Hong Kong : from bilingualism to trilingualism. / HO, Woon Yee, Judy.

In: Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, Vol. 31, No. 2, 01.01.2008, p. 18.1-18.17.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Code choice in Hong Kong : from bilingualism to trilingualism

AU - HO, Woon Yee, Judy

PY - 2008/1/1

Y1 - 2008/1/1

N2 - China resumed its sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. Since then drastic changes in this former British colony have occurred. One of these changes is a shift in language policy, from bilingualism (Cantonese and English) to trilingualism (Cantonese, English and Putonghua). The present study is aimed at investigating tertiary students’ use of Cantonese, English and Putonghua on a daily basis, analysing the roles and functions of each language and discussing how these may impact on language policy and language education. Research instruments included 52 students’ language diaries and written analyses, 51 hours of audio-recordings of verbal exchanges, and focus group semi-structured interviews. Results show that the students’ speech repertoire mainly consists of two languages: Cantonese and English and their various mixes. Cantonese is used to ensure understanding, consolidate solidarity and maintain social cohesion. The English-Cantonese mix has become a more powerful identity marker for educated people in Hong Kong than pure Cantonese. English and its supplement with Cantonese are often used in the domain of education. The majority of students seldom use Putonghua in everyday life, but there is a strong instrumental motivation to learn it. Measures are suggested to facilitate a more successful move from bilingualism to trilingualism.

AB - China resumed its sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. Since then drastic changes in this former British colony have occurred. One of these changes is a shift in language policy, from bilingualism (Cantonese and English) to trilingualism (Cantonese, English and Putonghua). The present study is aimed at investigating tertiary students’ use of Cantonese, English and Putonghua on a daily basis, analysing the roles and functions of each language and discussing how these may impact on language policy and language education. Research instruments included 52 students’ language diaries and written analyses, 51 hours of audio-recordings of verbal exchanges, and focus group semi-structured interviews. Results show that the students’ speech repertoire mainly consists of two languages: Cantonese and English and their various mixes. Cantonese is used to ensure understanding, consolidate solidarity and maintain social cohesion. The English-Cantonese mix has become a more powerful identity marker for educated people in Hong Kong than pure Cantonese. English and its supplement with Cantonese are often used in the domain of education. The majority of students seldom use Putonghua in everyday life, but there is a strong instrumental motivation to learn it. Measures are suggested to facilitate a more successful move from bilingualism to trilingualism.

UR - http://commons.ln.edu.hk/sw_master/476

U2 - 10.2104/aral0818

DO - 10.2104/aral0818

M3 - Journal Article (refereed)

VL - 31

SP - 18.1-18.17

JO - Australian Review of Applied Linguistics

JF - Australian Review of Applied Linguistics

SN - 0155-0640

IS - 2

ER -