Linguistic acceptability in Hong Kong English

Fung King Jackie LEE, Peter COLLINS

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11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports the findings of a study of 28 debatable English usages – items whose acceptability is the subject of community debate – which figure prominently in usage guides in Hong Kong. Data were collected from Hong Kong informants via several elicitation methods : a judgment test, a slot-filling test and a proofreading test. Respondents’ acceptability judgments were noted to be sensitive to a number of sociolinguistic variables. Informants who were older (in this case, members of the English teaching profession) were more tolerant of traditional debatable usages than younger informants (students), as were students with higher levels of English proficiency (as indicated by students’ results in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination) compared to those with lower levels. Finally, prescribed debatable usages were found to be more readily embraced in formal than informal styles. Copyright © 2006 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-40
JournalAsian Englishes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


Lee, J. F. K., & Collins, P. (2006). Linguistic acceptability in Hong Kong English. Asian Englishes, 9(1), 24-40. doi: 10.1080/13488678.2006.10801175


  • Development of Subject Knowledge
  • English Language


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