Hong Kong students' attitudes towards Cantonese, Putonghua and English after the change of sovereignty

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46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

When Hong Kong was returned to the sovereignty of China by the British in July 1997, the new Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) Government announced the 'Biliterate and Trilingual' policy for all schools. Hong Kong students of this generation are expected to be proficient in both written English and Chinese, and speak fluent English (the international language), Cantonese (the vernacular language) as well as Putonghua (the national language of the PRC). To find out the attitudes of secondary school students towards these three languages, a questionnaire study was conducted with 134 senior secondary students. Given also the important relationship between social class, achievement and language attitudes (Schumann, 1976; Gibbons, 1984; Gardner, 1985; Siu, 1988; Lee, 1998), this paper compares the language attitudes of two main groups of Hong Kong students, namely the middle-class elite and the working-class low-achievers. The findings showed that the former group was more inclined to use English while the latter group the vernacular Cantonese. Despite this difference, both groups of students held generally positive attitudes towards the three languages. Copyright © 2001 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-133
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001

Citation

Lai, M.-L. (2001). Hong Kong students' attitudes towards Cantonese, Putonghua and English after the change of sovereignty. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 22(2), 112-133.

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