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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 7: Discussion and Conclusion



Discussion and Conclusion

In Chapters 5 and 6, the results of the data analysis were presented and preliminary comments on these findings were offered. Chapter 7 contains a more in-depth discussion of these findings as well as cross-examinations of each sub-section of the research instrument with particular reference to the research questions presented in Chapter 3 (and reproduced below). The discussion synthesizes my findings in order to provide a review of the results obtained here and also to compare them with previous research. I shall also outline the original contribution of the current study to the fields to which it most closely relates (especially research methodology and language pedagogy) as well as its inevitable limitations, which have implications for conducting language attitudes research particularly in Hong Kong, but also in other communities worldwide.

7.1 What attitudes do Hong Kong people hold towards different varieties of English?

Since people’s attitudes tend to be latent and covert, an indirect method of attitude measurement, namely the verbal-guise technique, was employed to investigate Hong Kong informants’ perceptions of eight varieties of English: RP, AmE, AusE, TynE, PE, ME and two varieties of HKE – HKed and HKbr. Using a 5-point semantic-differential scale, this research instrument sought to collect judgements of the personality of the speakers representing these varieties on the basis of twenty-one traits. The intention here (as in other research based on similar methods) was to use the results of ← 183 | 184 → the test...

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