English Language In Hong Kong

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Chinese and English are the official languages of Hong Kong.( GovHK: Hong Kong – the Facts,2015) It is well-known that the English language has unprecedentedly become the most important international language. After the handover in 1997, Chinese cannot be neglected in the Chinese society. According to the Kachru’s (1985) three-circle model, the “Outer Circle”, ESL stands for “English as a second language”. Hong Kong is in the Outer Circle which is treating English as a second language. Therefore, if Hong Kong had to choose between Chinese and English as its only official language, which should it be? Before making a decision, discussion should go from several areas, such as historical background and the generalization of using English language.…show more content…
Under period, the Chinese and the British were separated by language, culture and racism. the British governing, English became the only official language in Hong Kong. In that The British had a higher social status. Therefore, if a Chinese who was western-educated and English-speaking, he or she would be the elite in the society. The importance of using English has led to the improvement of Chinese’s status in the society. The separateness between the Chinese and the British in early 1900s has been showing us that English language held an important part in Hong Kong. In 1974, Chinese became another official language in Hong Kong, along with English. It has been showing that even in the British colonial period, Chinese could also achieve the status of official language. Also, English were declared as the co-official language after 1997. It has been showing that, Under the British governing, English seems to be very “powerful” in Hong Kong, but after 1997, the circumstances have been changed. For example, with the departure of the British officials, Chinese replaces English as the working language naturally. Therefore, from the perspective of the historical background, Chinese can be the only official…show more content…
It means there is a large group of people who can use Chinese. The website point out that “English is widely used in the Government and by the legal, professional and business sectors.” ( GovHK: Hong Kong – the Facts,2015) It has been showing that English still occupies an important position. English and Chinese is equally important position ostensibly, but indeed, written English still has a dominant position. For example, Government paperwork is still mainly written in English. Only when the paperwork needs to publish, it will be translated into both Chinese and English. Also, in some legal documents, the sentence “If there should be any discrepancy or contradiction in between, the English version will be prior to the Chinese one.” always appears. From paperwork within the government or legal documents, the English language has an absolute dominance. Although English language is widely used in paperwork within the government, English is mainly used to communicate with the outside world. Not much Hong Kong people would use English to communicate with another Hong Kong people in daily life. Although the English language has an absolute dominance in the government, there is some changes in the use of English after the handover. For example, in the Legislative Council meeting, although bilingual interpretation as the same as

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