Language attitudes of the first postcolonial generation in Hong Kong secondary schools

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

Abstract

Following the return of sovereignty from Britain to China, Hong Kong has undergone significant sociopolitical and educational changes. This study is a quantitative investigation of the language attitudes of 1,048 secondary students from the first postcolonial generation brought up amid the significant changes after the political handover. The results show that the respondents feel the most integratively inclined to Cantonese (the vernacular variety), and they perceive English (the colonizers' language) as the language of the highest instrumental value and social status, while Putonghua (the language of the new ruler) is rated the lowest from both the integrative and the instrumental perspectives. Unlike what has been predicted by scholars, Putonghua has not yet taken the place of English as the language of power. Despite this, there are signs of a subtle transition toward an accommodating attitude to Putonghua, mainly induced by the growing instrumental value of the language for economic purposes. Copyright © 2008 Open University of Hong Kong Press.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage and society in Hong Kong
EditorsKingsley BOLTON , Han YANG
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherOpen University of Hong Kong Press
Pages453-486
ISBN (Print)9789627707578
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Citation

Lai, M.-L. (2008). Language attitudes of the first postcolonial generation in Hong Kong secondary schools. In K. Bolton & H. Yang (Eds.), Language and society in Hong Kong (pp. 453-486). Hong Kong: Open University of Hong Kong Press.

Keywords

  • Language attitudes
  • Postcolonial Hong Kong

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