A Comparative Study of Language Attitudes in Hong Kong: Towards English, Cantonese and Putonghua

  •  Xiaokai Liu    


20 years have elapsed since Hong Kong has returned to China and the connections with Mainland China are growing in different domains. Especially, the universities in Hong Kong attracted a large number of Mainland students and the number is increasing. Therefore, it is interesting to examine the language attitudes towards English (the former British colonial language), Cantonese (the local dialect) and Putonghua (the third official language) from the perspective of local students and Mainland students. The study reported in this thesis is a quantitative investigation of 30 local students and 30 Mainland students from different disciplines at City University of Hong Kong. Their attitudes towards three languages were compared in terms of integrative orientation and instrumental orientation. The results revealed the local students hold a more integrative attitude and showed their strong loyalty to Cantonese while Mainland students showed integrative attitude and favored the use of more Putonghua in different language contexts. English was still regarded as a prestigious language from both the integrative and instrumental perspective by the local students and the Mainland students. Besides, interactional language preference between the Mainland students and the Local students was also investigated and the result showed English was the most preferable language. The findings of this study suggest Cantonese remains as a strong dialect; English still will be the linguistic capital and the pragmatic function Putonghua is developing well in Hong Kong. Results also indicate subtle transition towards Trilingualism among the university students in Hong Kong.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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