“English in Hong Kong: Usage and Attitudes: A Survey” by Robert Fuchs

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We are interested in when people in Hong Kong use English and what their attitudes to using English in certain contexts are. If you live in Hong Kong, no matter your level of English, nationality, origin and birthplace, we invite you to share your opinions with us and complete the survey at http://bit.ly/HKEnglish2018. The survey is available in English and Chinese (in both the traditional and simplified scripts). Please also share this information with your members, friends and family.

Linguists are not only concerned with the structure of language(s) but also social contexts of their use. One such field is the study of language attitudes. While linguists believe all languages are of equal worth, speakers and listeners often harbour very explicit attitudes towards specific languages and varieties. Broadly speaking, economically powerful languages and varieties are perceived as standard or educated ways of communication, while economically less powerful languages and varieties inspire a sense of solidarity among their users (but usually not outsiders exposed to these languages).

Together with Dr. Alison Edwards from the University of Leiden, I am currently studying attitudes to and the use of English alongside Chinese and other languages in Hong Kong. The political and linguistic history of Hong Kong make it a particularly interesting place to study language attitudes. 20 years after the handover, English continues to be an important language in Hong Kong, and is used on a daily basis in different contexts. At the same time, Cantonese and Putonghua dominate in certain areas. Around the world, questions of language policy and attitudes often cause controversy, and Hong Kong is no exception. Should English be more widely taught in Hong Kong? Do enough people in Hong Kong speak English and do they speak it well enough? Or is English overrated in Hong Kong? Should Cantonese or perhaps Putonghua be strengthened? Should people immigrating to Hong Kong learn Cantonese or is English sufficient? It is also important to consider that using English can exclude those people who do not understand it well. Your voice counts in these matters. This survey gives you a chance to share your opinion. After this research project has been completed, we will publish the results and share them with the public, policy makers and stakeholders.

We are interested in when people in Hong Kong use English and what their attitudes to using English in certain contexts are. If you live in Hong Kong, no matter your level of English, nationality, origin and birthplace, we invite you to share your opinions with us and complete the survey at http://bit.ly/HKEnglish2018. The survey is available in English and Chinese (in both the traditional and simplified scripts). Please also share this information with your members, friends and family.

Best regards,

Dr Robert Fuchs
Hong Kong Baptist University (until January 2018)
University of Hamburg (from February 2018)

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Robert Fuchs.jpgRobert Fuchs is Research Assistant Professor working in the Department of English Language and Literature. [Read all entries by and about Robert here.]

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