World Englishes: Lesson 9
We've finished with outer circle Englishes, and for the rest of the course, we'll focus on English as a Lingua Franca and sociolinguistic issues connected to all of the varieties.
Origins of Hong Kong English (HKE):
During the 19th century, there were many traders that made their way through Hong Kong's ports. These traders mainly came from the East India Company. There were also competing American traders in the region. Hong Kong became an official colony at the end of the Opium War in 1842. The Treaty of Nanking opened up ports, and allowed for trade. Originally, traders communicated in a pidgin English. However, English quickly became a lingua franca. In 1974, English became a co-official language with Cantonese in the city-state. Once Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, the Hong Kong government introduced more Cantonese-medium schools, but this was met by protest by many parents. The main reason for this was to decrease any influence of Mandarin Chinese. However, Peking preferred Hong Kong to remain as an international city rather than as a southern Chinese city.
Interlanguage vs. Variety:
Some researchers believer that HKE isn't a true variety. Instead, they believe that it is an interlanguage, which is like an "in-between language" before a L2 gains complete fluency in the target language. Interlanguage combines features of both the L1 and L2. Researchers base their claim on that HKE English has many fossilised errors. Fossilisation happens when the learner cannot master a linguistic term even though he/she has chances to listen to the target language, has motivation, has the chance to practice, and has correction.
Lexical Features of HKE:
However, HKE has unique phonological, syntactical and lexical features like other varieties, so we can't "demote" it to an interlanguage. One particular interesting feature o f HKE is how the local language and context has enriched the varsity's vocabulary.
In next week's lesson, we'll have our course test. The test will include these parts:
a. listening section
c. questions about the article "Cantonese, please."
d. linguistic analysis
e. short paragraph about World Englishes (opinion)
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