Multilingualism Case Study

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Chapter 2: Multilingualism in the workplace in the Hong Kong Financial sector In this chapter, relevant research (Chew, 2005; Evans, 2013) examining the functions and use of English, Cantonese, Putonghua on the work floor in the Hong Kong financial sector will be reported on. Chew’s (2005) objective is fourfold. His primary goal is to determine what proportion of the daily tasks performed by bank entrants is undertaken in English or in Cantonese. Furthermore, he examines which English skills (speaking, listening, writing, reading) are more often used on the work floor by the bank entrants. In addition, Chew investigates the difficulties new employees experience while communicating in English in the professional field. Moreover, he examines…show more content…
To reach a conclusion, he used a variety of data. He conducted a semi-structured interview with 28 employees active in the four key industries. Moreover, Evans (2013) carried out a case study examining one employee of each industry for 5 consecutive days. In addition to the interviews and the case studies, he sent out 4,000 questionnaires of which 2,030 were filled in. Moreover, he analysed spoken and written discourse while observing ten conference calls and emails. Evans (2013), as well as Chew (2005) distinguish between Hong Kong-owned companies, international companies and Chinese-owned companies when discussing the languages used on the work floor. In the international companies, English is perceived by the employees as being important as a spoken and written language. In Hong Kong-owned companies, English remains important. However, they were more oriented toward Chinese as a written and spoken language, since the staff is local and not foreign. In Chinese-owned companies, spoken and written English were still perceived as being important, as well as Standard Written Chinese, Cantonese and…show more content…
S. (2005). An investigation of the English language skills used by new entrants in banks in Hong Kong. English for Specific Purposes, 24, 423-435. Retrieved from Cenoz, J. (2013). Defining multilingualism. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 33, 3-18. doi:10.1017/S026719051300007X Evans, S. (2013). Perspectives on the use of English as a Business Lingua Franca in Hong Kong. Journal of Business Communication, 50(3), 227-252. doi: 10.1177/0021943613487073 Evans, S. (2016). The English language in Hong Kong: Diachronic and Synchronic Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. doi:10.1057/978-1-137-50624-5 Lee, K. S., & Leung, W. M. (2012). The status of Cantonese in the education policy of Hong Kong. Multilingual Education, 2(2). doi:10.1186/10.1186/2191-5059-2-2 Poon, A. Y. K. (2010). Language use, and language policy and planning in Hong Kong. Current Issues in Language Planning, 11(1), 1-66. doi:10.1080/14664201003682327 Stavans, A., & Hoffmann, C. (2015). Multilingualism (Key Topics in Sociolinguistics) [Kindle DX version]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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