The status of Cantonese in the education policy of Hong Kong

Kwai Sang Li, Wai Mun Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


After the handover of Hong Kong to China, a first-ever policy of “bi-literacy and tri-lingualism” was put forward by the Special Administrative Region Government. Under the trilingual policy, Cantonese, the most dominant local language, equally shares the official status with Putonghua and English only in name but not in spirit, as neither the promotion nor the funding approaches on Cantonese match its legal status. This paper reviews the status of Cantonese in Hong Kong under this policy with respect to the levels of government, education and curriculum, considers the consequences of neglecting Cantonese in the school curriculum, and discusses the importance of large-scale surveys for language policymaking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMultilingual Education
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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