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Investigating Hong Kong English

Globalization and Identity


Qi Zhang

The status of Hong Kong English has been an increasing concern among the local population. Despite prolific research into attitudes towards language variation within the field of sociolinguistics in general, very few studies have focused on the Hong Kong context. Previous research has demonstrated that native English speakers tend to evaluate Standard English varieties highly as far as status is concerned, while non-standard varieties are evaluated highly in terms of solidarity. There is still, however, a noticeable lack of information about the attitudes of Hong Kong Chinese people to different English varieties and, particularly, about their attitudes to the local non-standard variety.
This richly detailed case study sets out to investigate the attitudes of Hong Kong university students to eight varieties of English speech. It employs a range of direct and indirect techniques of attitude measurement in order to obtain in-depth information about the students’ perceptions. The book also discusses the important pedagogical implications of the choice of linguistic model in English language teaching, both within the Hong Kong population and among other Chinese communities.
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Chapter 4: Methodology of the Case Study



Methodology of the Case Study

The last chapter discussed the nature of attitudes and introduced a series of important studies focusing on those conducted in Hong Kong. This chapter describes the methodology used here, particularly the ‘verbal-guise technique’, which permitted an in-depth study of Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards different Englishes. I will also provide a detailed description of the research design and the data collection procedure for the case study of HKE. The chapter continues with a discussion of how exactly the social variables addressed here were approached.

4.1 Main approaches to the measurement of language attitudes

A number of methods for measuring language attitudes have been developed since the 1960s. They can be generally categorized into three broad approaches: the societal treatment approach, and the direct and indirect approaches. This section critically reviews these, comparing their advantages and disadvantages.

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