Developing biliteracy in Chinese and English: Is it possible?


Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The Hong Kong government’s language policy seeks to ensure that its citizens are trilingual (in Cantonese, Putonghua and English) and biliterate (in Chinese and English). The Singapore government also seeks to ensure that the population is biliterate in English and the speaker’s L1. As most of the population is ethnically Chinese, this means that the Singaporean education system is concerned to ensure that people emerge biliterate in Chinese and English. The Chinese government, while insisting that Putonghua remain the medium of instruction in most contexts, is also encouraging the acquisition of literacy in English, and English has recently been introduced as a subject in all primary schools. This talk will consider the cognitive challenges involved in the acquisition of literacy in both Chinese and English and discuss some of the results of the current policies. The talk will include suggestions for ways of helping students acquire literacy in both Chinese and English.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007



Kirkpatrick, A. (2007, November). Developing biliteracy in Chinese and English: Is it possible? Plenary paper presented at the IATEFL Hong Kong YL SIG Conference Event: Literacy in the language classroom: The role of the YL Professional in developing reading and writing in young learners, Hong Kong, China.


  • Teacher Education
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning