Talk:Languages of Hong Kong

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Translation[edit]

May anyone who knows Chinese and/or German help translating the English article to those languages. Thanks. - Alanmak 01:17, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

there is already someone translating it into Chinese. --K.C. Tang 02:29, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I know. That's why I was asking more users to help with the translations. - Alanmak 03:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I´ll translate into german! Dagadt (talk) 17:27, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Villa Athena[edit]

Is Villa Athena intended to be Spanish, Italian or something vaguely foreign sounding? In Spanish, the primary meaning of villa is something similar to a town. It was a part of an Ancient Regime hierarchy, with a mostly heraldric meaning now. For example, Madrid is villa y corte, while the smaller Ciudad Rodrigo is a ciudad, "city".

Italian has maintained the Latin meaning of villa as a countryside ample house, as in Villa Borghese.

Athena is Atenea in Spanish and Atena in Italian.

yes, that's really a problem. but i guess the developers know neither spanish nor italian ... and just put the ajective after the noun to make it foreign sounding. --K.C. Tang 04:26, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

restaurants[edit]

i'm re-reading the article, and find that there're probably too many mentions of restaurants :D A reader may ask: well, the presence of foreign restaurants (and their signboards or menus written in foreign languages) in an area mean nothing concerning the linguistic situation of the area. There may be restaurants from 20 countries (and each has its own language) in an area, but we cannot say that thus there're 20 languages spoken in this area in a general sense. say, an Amazon River-theme restaurant, owned by a man coming from the Amazon River and has one of the Amazonian languages as his mother tongue, is opened in Causeway Bay, we cannot base on this fact to say that Amazonion languages are spoken in Hong Kong, right? maybe we can cut off some of the restaurant-mentions. --K.C. Tang 09:00, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

This article is disappointing. It barely mentions any of the other Chinese dialects spoken in HK. Maybe this paper can be used for reference. --137.189.4.1 12:03, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Indeed. Where are the statistics? The pictures near the end showing signs in foreign langauges are good and they give an indication of the existence of such foreign langauge speakers. The ethnic restaurants, "western exoticism" and foreign branding however have not much to do with languages actually SPOKEN in Hong Kong. I can crack open a Kinder Surprise and find a product warning label printed in 20 some languages, that doesn't mean there are 20 some different languages spoken in MY HOUSE. --Kvasir 08:24, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
completely agree with you.--K.C. Tang 07:09, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Most studied foreign language?[edit]

The article claims Japanese as the most studied foreign language. I tend to believe it's English, since most would have learnt the most basic words upon completing elementary school. Either that or English is not considered "foreign" since it's one of the official languages. It would be good to add a sentence or two to clarify this. --Kvasir 08:14, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

have done that.--K.C. Tang 07:09, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
English is not quite a foreign language in Hong Kong, although it's not the mother tongue for most people. — Instantnood 09:40, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
I would rate Japanese as the second-most learned foreign language in Hong Kong, with the first being English. This is by my daily-life observation.--User:Fitzwilliam 10:18, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Is French still the third most popular language in HK to be learned? or has Korean taken over? Ondog 09:32, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Should be French, still. Every day when I am either in the MTR or KCR trains, I can hear some sort of French speaking people around. May be the Koreans are quite? (Except when some of those Ajumma finished their shopping from the Shenzhen border and came back) -- Tomchiukc 10:09, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Not wanting to be Mr. Obvious, but ... the presence of some people from overseas doesn't mean their language is actually being studied. E.g. Tagalog. People speaking it natively in HK: 140,000+. Language schools teaching it in HK: 0. Same for Urdu, Bahasa Indonesia, etc. In contrast, there are at least a few schools teaching Thai (HKU, HKFTU, and even those commercials on the bus!) despite the relative lack of Thai immigrants or tourists compared to the other groups mentioned.

Anyway, closer to the topic, I would say that Korean is more popular than French now, based on the number of language courses offered. E.g. HKBU School of Continuing Education has 15 sections of Korean courses [1] vs. only 4 of French [2]. Similarly, CUHK School of Continuing Studies only offers 3 French classes, but a full certificate programme in Korean language along with various short courses. But I'd also bet more HK people speak passable French than passable Korean right now, since French has been popular for a long time, while Korean only got put in the spotlight recently. cab 04:42, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

suggestions for improvement[edit]

  1. add sources for most of the statements, remove them if no sources can be found
  2. remove all the trivia, most glarinly the ones about "restaurant menues"--K.C. Tang 05:03, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


This Page is Now Fixed / Rewritten[edit]

I have the following comments after fixing this page.

  1. I think the term Hong Konger need to be replaced.
  2. What people do on sunday does not have to do with the language. I left a similar description in the Indonesian section only because it sounds like that area is where the language will be most concentrated.
  3. There is alot in the code-switch part that got deleted. I still do not understand the "V" and the "care"? And the "a" part? I cannot fix the grammar or wording there. I really tried to understand but can't.
Benjwong 04:03, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Nice job on the clean-up. I did some copy-editing of the intro. But particularly, I'm not sure how to better describe 兩文三語. It's really just an unofficial policy that says that HKers should strive to use 2 written languages and 3 spoken languages. To the best of my knowledge, Basic Law doesn't make a distinction between Cantonese and Mandarin. It just says that the official languages are English and "Chinese". Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 04:41, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I was hoping that is the official government translation. Since someone else translated it, guess we are keeping it. Biliterate Trilingual do make sense, except it just sounds so hardcore. Benjwong 18:00, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Naturalisation and Chinese language "consideration"[edit]

According to this[3], "sufficient" knowledge of Chinese language is a "consideration" when someone applies to naturalise as a Chinese citizen in HK. Not sure if this is worth mentioning in this article as it is of a different scope. Note that Chinese citizenship is not the same as permanent residency in HK. Almost any foreigner can apply for permanent residency in HK after having lived there continuously for 7 years. But naturalising as a Chinese citizen has, to the best of my knowledge, much much more stringent requirements. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 05:08, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Spoken Chinese edits[edit]

I have made these edits:

To understand why there are so many flavors of Chinese, one must understand China began with many different dialects mutually exclusive by regions to begin with. Difference between Guangdong and Fujian is an example. During migration, the languages are spread to other provinces and eventually spread culturally to Hong Kong.

is vague and inaccurate (and badly written), replaced by:

"China has numerous regional and local variants of spoken Chinese, many of which are mutually unintelligible. Most are only used in their own native areas, but some, particularly the various languages and dialects of Guangdong and Fujian, have spread to other areas by emigration from those provinces."

Since the 1950s, Mandarin / Putonghua has been the primary language in mainland China and Taiwan. When the languages were facilitating in Hong Kong, the territory was already under the British colony. At the time, English and Cantonese was the most widely used language. As a result, it was far easier for Cantonese to make a way into Hong Kong's everyday life. The Cultural Revolution would split mandarin into traditional and simplified making it extremely difficult for Mandarin to integrate into Hong Kong. In China alone, the debate on the split have challenged everything from cultural legitimacy to pronunciation phonetics.

is inaccurate with factual errors and badly written, it does not explained why HK is generally non-putonghua speaking, replaced by:

"Since the 1950s, Putonghua/Guoyu (Mandarin) has been used as the de facto language in government, education, and the media, throughout much of mainland China and Taiwan. Many Chinese are thus able to understand and speak Mandarin in addition to their own native dialects. As a result most Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong's neighbouring province of Guangdong are bilingual in Mandarin and Cantonese. However, Mandarin is still not widely used in Hong Kong due to historical reasons. At the time of the widespread introduction of Mandarin in mainland China and Taiwan, Hong Kong was a British colony where English and the local variant of Chinese, Cantonese were the most widely used languages in Hong Kong. Cantonese was and continues to be used in education, the media, and in daily life."

Putonghua has been the primary language in mainland China and Taiwan is open to debate, it is more useful to merely state that it is "the de facto language in government, education, and the media, throughout much of mainland China and Taiwan"

When the languages were facilitating in Hong Kong, the territory was already under the British colony. At the time, English and Cantonese was the most widely used language. As a result, it was far easier for Cantonese to make a way into Hong Kong's everyday life. Badly written and circular statement. The next part on traditional and simplified Chinese characters is simply mistaken and irrelevant, simplification began before the Cultural Revolution and it did not split Mandarin. LDHan 11:06, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

The cultural revolution was about the time, when the change from traditional to simplification became mainstream. I didn't say it was created in the 1950s. Benjwong 18:09, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I am only reading what was written in the paragraph, which said that "The Cultural Revolution would split mandarin into traditional and simplified making it extremely difficult for Mandarin to integrate into Hong Kong." I assume what was meant was traditional and simplified characters, or maybe it had split into two different versions of spoken Mandarin? Whichever way you read it, it is simply wrong, and discussion about characters is irelevant in a section on spoken Chinese. LDHan 20:51, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Spread of languages[edit]

May I know how many people of the residents in Hong Kong speak English/Cantonese/Mandarin. Please give me no numbers, just percentures. Dagadt (talk) 11:04, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

I gather 99% can speak Cantonese, while the figure for Mandarin varies: probably 45% can pronounce single words to passable school Mandarin if say reading out of textbooks and engaging in small talk like "How are you?" and another 10% have Mandarin as the native or working second language. 75% can at least speak school English, while about 15% (included in the 75% figure) are either native speakers, or use English as a working second language that they can chat with friends who are native speakers.--JNZ (talk) 05:04, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Even in Macao the percentage of fluent Cantonese speakers is much lower. Is there any statistics on what languages are spoken at home and what languages can be spoken by Hongkongers? --Atitarev (talk) 05:41, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

stats[edit]

Scanning the article I see no statistics, how many people speak English as a per cent, etc. +Hexagon1 (t) 11:25, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

>--Da Vynci (talk) 04:44, 25 June 2008 (UTC) to Hexagon1: Since you are asking a technical question, I can tell you that technically everybody speaks English in Hong Kong as English is a compulsive subject from primary schools to universities.

Which English?[edit]

...is spoken? Do they use British English, or something else? Brutannica (talk) 04:53, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Of course it's British English...being a former British colony. But a lot of times I wish to see things clarified in Wikipedia. I have searched and can't find an article listing which English standard each non-English country/territory uses, if there is one. HkCaGu (talk) 05:17, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, I'm under the impression (but again, it's not clarified on Wikipedia as far as I know) that the standard English taught in China is American English. Brutannica (talk) 05:21, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Look, Brutannica, Hong Kong is not administrated by China, none of the laws that applied in Communist China apply in Hong Kong, let alone the education system. The reason why the name "Hong Kong" in some occassion is followed by a comma and the word China now is because Britain was too weak to even bring us half-baked independence before they left. --Da Vynci (talk) 04:29, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Should one learn Cantonese or Mandarin if they are to go to Hong Kong?[edit]

If one if to go study abroad to a university in Hong Kong, The University of Hong Kong, what should one learn? Cantonese or Mandarin? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Darabo (talkcontribs) 17:26, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

"de facto official"—what??[edit]

What does that even mean? – RVJ (talk) 13:16, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Education language in Hong Kong[edit]

What language is normally used in schools of Hong Kong? In Malaysia, schools normally use Malay language, except for several subjects. In Hong Kong, what language is used? English or Chinese?

And is it true that using English in schools was banned in 1998?--124.82.54.108 (talk) 17:07, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

Hong Kong has both English as the Medium of Instruction (EMI) and Chinese as the Medium of Instruction (CMI) schools (which use Cantonese), as well as a few other schools which teach in other languages (e.g. Japanese International School has a Japanese language section, the Korean International School has a Korean-medium section, etc). Also, it is not true that English was banned in schools. English is one of the two official langauges in Hong Kong (Chinese being the other, usually interpreted as being Cantonese, although the Basic Law doesn't specify which Chinese language is meant). Around that time, many formerly schools were given permission to switch language medium. The idea was that some students would learn better in their mother tongue, and that the higher-performing students would be able to handle learning in a second language better than less well performing students. Kdm852 (talk) 02:30, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

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