Code-mixing in print advertisement and its cultural implications in Hong Kong

Chi Hong Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Code-mixing is a common phenomenon in communities of high heterogeneity and Hong Kong shows no exception to this. English, Japanese Kanji, and vernacular Cantonese are permeated and mixed with Chinese virtually in every sector of the economy. Commercial print advertising, which draws on visual and linguistic resources to attract consumers, provides an ideal microcosm model of the code-mixing phenomenon in Hong Kong. A total of 125 code-mixed print advertisements produced in Hong Kong between 2008 and 2009 were analyzed. It is found that there are different reasons for people to mix English, Japanese Kanji, and vernacular Cantonese in print advertisements. Mixing English is the norm in Hong Kong advertising industry. Japanese Kanji mainly mixes in advertisement to achieve positive country-of-origin effects. Vernacular Cantonese is still in its infancy and has yet to enter the mainstream of advertising. The code-mixing practices in advertisement reflect the relative importance of the mixed languages in Hong Kong society. The use of these codes is complementary to the dominant language to get across the message.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-429
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Code-mixing
  • Cultural implications
  • Print advertisement
  • Qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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