English and Cantonese in a bilingual call centre in Hong Kong

Man Kit Marvin Lam, Carol Yu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


With the rapid development of telecommunications and the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry, many companies are establishing call centres for customer service in developing countries, where English is the major language used in the industry but often not spoken as the first language. While there is an abundance of research on call centre communication from the perspectives of business and management, sociolinguistics and applied linguistics, there is still a dearth of information about the use of English in the BPO industry with the coexistence of other languages. This paper presents a comparative study on the use of English and Cantonese in call centre communication conducted in an international healthcare insurance organisation in Hong Kong. English and Cantonese calls with apparent conflicts were transcribed and analysed in terms of how customer service representatives (CSRs) respond to complaints, and how customers enact their negative emotions while complaining.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-535
Number of pages15
JournalWorld Englishes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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