Chapter published in:Cultural Keywords in Discourse
Edited by Carsten Levisen and Sophia Waters
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 277] 2017
► pp. 183–210
Chapter 8Cantonese ‘mong4’
A cultural keyword of ‘busy’ Hong Kong
This chapter investigates the Hong Kong Cantonese cultural keyword ‘mong4’. Mong is usually translated into English as busy and into Mandarin as máng, but though their meanings overlap, many examples of busy and máng cannot be translated directly into Cantonese using mong. This is because mong has a culturally significant meaning and usage, and is linked to a specific value system supported by Hong Kong discourse. This chapter examines some differences between mong, busy and máng, explores Hong Kong discourses of work and life, and the meta-discourse surrounding mong in the speech community. A Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) explication for mong is proposed in English and Cantonese.
- 2.Cantonese mong4 in comparative perspective
- 3.Cultural discourses of mong4
- 3.1 Mong4-based speech routines
- 3.2The desire to be mong4
- 3.3Socialisation into mong4 discourse
- 3.4The drawbacks of being mong4
- 3.5Ambivalence towards being mong4
- 4.NSM explication of mong4
- 5.Further perspectives
- 6.Concluding remarks
Published online: 19 October 2017
Census and Statistics Department
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