Article published in:Developments in Diglossic Settings in the Asian Pacific Region
Edited by Marinus van den Berg
[Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 30:1/2] 2020
► pp. 115–138
Borders and bridges
The politics of language identity in Hong Kong
This study examines the construction of linguistic identities at a time of significant political tension in Hong Kong, with a focus on Hong Kong’s three official languages: Cantonese, the most widely spoken variety of Chinese in Hong Kong; English, the longest serving official language of Hong Kong; and Putonghua, the official language of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which became an official language in Hong Kong after the 1997 Handover of Hong Kong to PRC rule. Given the current political tensions between Hong Kong and the PRC, particularly in light of grassroots political movements such as the 2014 Umbrella Movement and the ongoing 2019 civil unrest due to the proposed introduction of an extradition treaty between Hong Kong and mainland China, the status of Hong Kong’s three languages is particularly interesting. Past research has primarily focused on the perceived value of these three languages in terms of instrumentality and integrativeness. The current study expands previous research by focusing on how the participants construct a linguistic identity of the self vs. a national language identity for Hong Kong, particularly within or in contrast to a national language identity of the PRC.
Keywords: identity, monolingualism, bilingualism, trilingualism, Hong Kong, nationalism
Published online: 30 June 2020
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