Hong Kong English

Hong Kong English

Hong Kong English

Hong Kong English

Synopsis

This volume provides an overview of all aspects of Hong Kong English in a style designed for undergraduates and general readers. As a former British colony, Hong Kong used English as the language of government, law and education in the early days of colonial rule. Since the Handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997, it is no longer used as the primary language of government. However, the status of English has survived the decline of colonial rule, as English has become an international language which is indispensable for a service-oriented economy such as present-day Hong Kong. Its use is still widespread in legal contexts, and English is the medium of instruction in at least a quarter of secondary schools.

Outwith the realm of education, English is important as a means of international communication in the fields of banking and finance, business, and in the tourism and hospitality industry. English is therefore integrated into Hong Kong life in various ways and this has resulted in a thriving and developing variety of English. This book describes English in Hong Kong as a linguistic phenomenon from the point of view of language structure, but also takes into account historical, socio-cultural and socio-political developments.

Excerpt

There is no doubt that Hong Kong is seen as one of the most exciting cities in the world. The view across the harbour at night looking towards the neon lights, a silhouette of a junk against the setting sun, or the hubbub of lively business and commerce in a 24-hour city are quintessential images conjured up in the mind when one thinks of this exotic location. The self-portrait of Hong Kong as presented on the official government internet website describes it as ‘a vibrant city, and a major gateway to China’. Indeed, the geographic location of Hong Kong has unequivocally placed it as an entry port to greater China. The historical development of the city as well as the cultural composition of its population have provided the dynamics necessary for Hong Kong to thrive as a cosmopolitan urban centre in the Pearl River Delta region.

Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is located adjacent to the Pearl River Delta, in the south-eastern region of China’s Guangdong province, facing the South China Sea. Contrary to popular belief, Hong Kong is not just a single island territory comprising a built-up urban cityscape, but includes three major parts: Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories. It is replete with country parks, sandy beaches and outlying islands large and small. Along the northern part of the New Territories is the border between Hong Kong and China. South of the New Territories is Boundary Street, which used to mark the boundary between Kowloon and the New Territories. The Kowloon Peninsula extends into the famous Victoria Harbour, one of the world’s most renowned deep-water harbours. Across Victoria Harbour is Hong Kong Island. In addition to these three major administrative regions, there are 262 outlying islands within Hong Kong, the largest of which is Lantau Island. Until July 1998, travellers used to arrive at Kai Tak, an airport directly in the midst of the built-up region of Kowloon, flying past tower blocks close enough to see people eating their midday meals . . .

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