A tale of two special administrative regions: The state of multilingualism in Hong Kong and Macao

Chor Shing David Li, Choi-Lan Tong (湯翠蘭)

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


This chapter gives an overview of language diversity in Hong Kong and
Macao. Both places enjoy a high level of sociopolitical autonomy, including
the continued use of the former colonial languages—English and Portuguese,
respectively—as co-official languages alongside Chinese, which is understood to refer to spoken Cantonese and Mandarin-based Standard Written Chinese (SWC). The language policies in both places aim at achieving biliteracy and trilingualism: the ability to read and write Chinese and English, and to speak and understand Cantonese, English, and Mandarin. Unlike elsewhere in the sinophone world, Cantonese as a regional Sinitic variety continues to be used as the medium of instruction (MoI) from kindergarten to secondary-level schools. Language contact phenomena, such as lexical borrowing from English and code-switching, are commonplace. With cross-border visits to and from mainland China becoming more and more frequent, the use of Mandarin is increasingly frequent in both communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage diversity in the Sinophone world
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages163
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-50451-9
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics

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