Pursuing dreams in an Asian global city: Does host language proficiency matter for Asian minorities?

Jin JIANG, Hon-Kwong LUI*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

Abstract

Asians who are not attracted by western culture may pursue their dreams in an Asian global city. While most people in Asia do not use English to communicate in their daily life, past literature on international migration focuses on English-speaking countries. This study uses Hong Kong (branded an Asian global city) as a case study to examine whether mastery of a native language (Cantonese) and/or English, a dominant non-native language in the commercial sector, determines the economic success of Asian migrants. Contrary to the general expectation of the importance of the native language, this study finds that a mastery of English and the official language of China (Putonghua) instead of Cantonese generates higher earnings for Asian minorities. The language advantages for earnings are mediated by the attainment of high-paid occupations. This study suggests that immigrants’ assimilation in a host society is not just a local problem but relates to the global and regional contextual factors of the city.

不被西方文化所吸引的亚洲人可能会在亚洲的全球化城市中追求自己的梦想。虽然大多数亚洲人在日常生活中不使用英语进行交流,但过去有关国际移民的文献主要关注英语国家。本研究以香港(被视为典型的亚洲国际城市)作为案例,研究掌握母语(粤语)和/或英语(商业领域占主导地位的非母语)是否会决定亚洲移民的经济成功。与对母语重要性的普遍预期相反,本研究发现掌握英语和中国的官方语言(普通话)而不是粤语能为亚洲少数族裔带来更高的收入。收入方面的语言优势是以获得高薪职业为媒介的。这项研究表明,移民在东道国社会的融入不仅是一个当地化问题,而且与城市的全球和区域背景因素有关。
Original languageEnglish
Article number004209802210928
JournalUrban Studies
Early online date27 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2022

Bibliographical note

The authors thank Shenjing He and the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions

This research was supported by a Start-up Grant (No. 162660) from the Hong Kong Baptist University.

Keywords

  • colonial history
  • demographics
  • employment/labour
  • global power structure
  • globalisation
  • migration
  • race/ethnicity
  • 殖民历史
  • 人口特征
  • 就业/劳动力
  • 全球权力结构
  • 全球化
  • 移民
  • 种族/民族

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