This volume gives an up-to-date account of the language situation and social context in multilingual Hong Kong. After an in-depth, interpretive analysis of various language contact phenomena, it shows why it is such a tall order for Hongkongers to live up to the Special Administrative Region government’s language policy goalpost, ‘biliteracy and trilingualism’. A detailed contrastive analysis between Cantonese and (a) English, (b) Modern Written Chinese, and (c) Putonghua helps explain the nature of the linguistic and acquisitional challenges involved. Economic forces and sociopolitical realities helped shape the ‘mother tongue education’ or ‘dual MoI streaming’ policy since September 1998. The book provides a critical review of the significant milestones and key policy documents from the early 1990s, and outlines the concerns of stakeholders at the receiving end. Another MoI debate concerns the feasibility and desirability of teaching Chinese in Putonghua (TCP). Based on a critical review of the TCP literature and recent psycholinguistic and neuroscience research, the language-in-education policy implications are discussed, followed by a few recommendations. Hongkongers of South Asian descent saw their life chances curtailed as a result of the post-1997 changes in the language requirements for gaining access to civil service positions and higher education. Based on a study of 15 South Asian undergraduate students’ prior language learning experiences, recommendations are made to help redress that social inequity problem.
Table of Contents
1. The Hong Kong Language Context.- 2. Language Contact: Sociolinguistic Context and Linguistic Outcomes.- 3. Challenges in Acquiring Standard Written Chinese (SWC) and Putonghua.- 4. Challenges in Acquiring English for Academic Purposes (EAP).- 5. Medium-of-instruction Debate I: Mother Tongue Education and the Dual MoI Streaming Policy (1998-).- 6. Towards ‘Biliteracy and Trilingualism’ in Hong Kong (SAR): Problems, Dilemmas, and Stakeholders’ Views.- 7. Medium-of instruction Debate II: Teaching Chinese in Putonghua (TCP)?.- 8. Meeting South Asian HongKongers’ Needs for Chinese Literacy.- 9. Issues in Language Policy and Planning: Summary and Recommendations