Societal and individual bilingualism in Hong Kong : a study of students'use of and exposure to English

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Societal and individual bilingualism in Hong Kong : a study of students'use of and exposure to English

 

Author: Humphreys, Gillian M
Title: Societal and individual bilingualism in Hong Kong : a study of students'use of and exposure to English
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1995
Subject: English language -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- China -- Hong Kong
Second language acquisition
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: v, 78, [16] leaves : ill. ; 31 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1224940
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2981
Abstract: Hong Kong is a diglossic society in the classic sense in that mother-tongue speakers of Cantonese here have to master a 'high' written form of Chinese in addition to a 'low' spoken form, and English is additionally superposed on this already diglossic state of affairs. Largely due to mass English medium education, which is immensely popular because of its importance for careers in service industries and for general upward social mobility, the nature of societal bilingualism has changed over recent decades, with a far higher percentage of the population than ever before qualifying as functional bilinguals. These functional bilinguals tend to be more proficient at reading and writing than they are at listening comprehension and oral production, and it is these 'literate skills' that are generally required and fostered in the educational system and at work. A questionnaire survey examines the functions of English in the daily lives of a sample of Polytechnic University undergraduates and graduates, who are regarded here as typical products of mass English medium education. It does not seek to assess their competence in English, but to provide a picture of their family language background and of their linguistic world in the domains in which they are exposed to or use English. The domains considered are: education (secondary and tertiary); work (part-time for undergraduates, full-time for graduates) and leisure (including the mass media, religion and other uses).

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