Bilingual practices in corporate communication functions: Verbal skills in focus

Pak Kei Patrick Ng

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


The notion of Anglo-Chinese bi- or trilingual verbal communications in the Hong Kong business and educational contexts is not a novel one (Westcott K (1977) Survey of the use of English in Hong Kong. Hong Kong, Unpublished mimeo, 1977; Luke KK, Richards JC (1982) English in Hong Kong: Functions and status. Engl World-Wide J Var Engl 3(1):47–64, 1982, as cited in Gibbons J (1987) Code-mixing and code choice: A Hong Kong case study. Multilingual matters, 27. Multilingual Matters Ltd., Avon, 1987), while receiving increasing attention from different societal stakeholders (e.g., the bilingual education and professional communication academics, the Hong Kong Government, employers, practitioners, and professional bodies in the PR & CC professions alike) spanning across internal and external CC functions. In fact, the Hong Kong Chinese corporate professionals are facing a realistic demand for a “glocalizing” workplace diglossia (or linguistic division of labor): While on the one hand, English is resilient and a required skill asset for local professionals to advance in the corporate business workplace (Evans S, Green C (2003) The use of English by Chinese professionals in post-1997 Hong Kong. J Multilingual Multicult Dev 24(5):386–412, 2003), on the other hand, it is equally demanding for the local executives to be locally responsive to address both internal and external corporate stakeholders in their local languages (Anderson H, Rasmussen ES (2002) The role of language skills in corporate communication. Paper for the Nordic workshop on interorganizational research, vol 12, Kolding, Denmark, pp 1–16, August 16–18, 2002). A proficient trilingual (Cantonese, English, and Putonghua speaking) CC professional in today’s HK CC workplaces is more likely to succeed, given the dominance of Chinese capital in the local economy. This chapter examines both the status quo challenges of dealing with increasingly complex and integrated internal and external corporate communication settings (e.g., the vast use of social media) and introduces Anglo-Chinese bilingual communication strategies (e.g., code-switching, code-mixing, and bilingual punning) available to a novice trilingual Hong Kong Chinese executive attempting to communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders in the dynamic internal and external corporate work fronts (e.g., locals to locals, locals to Putonghua speakers, locals to English-speaking Asians and Westerners, inter alias).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRole of Language and Corporate Communication in Greater China
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Academic to Practitioner Perspectives
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783662468814
ISBN (Print)9783662468807
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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