Chapter 13. Language policy and planning in Hong Kong

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Until 1974, Chinese had no <i>de jure</i> status as an official language of Hong Kong where the colonial government had often claimed to favour a <i>laissez-faire</i> approach to language planning. In the run-up to the resumption of Chinese sovereignty throughout the 1990s, official policy became more interventionist. From 1995, the stated policy of the government has been to promote a &#8220;biliterate&#8221; and &#8220;trilingual&#8221; society, and the use of Chinese as a medium of instruction in schools. Immediately after the change in sovereignty, <i>Putonghua</i> became a compulsory school subject. This chapter examines the issue of language planning and policies both from a historical perspective and through a consideration of current policies and practice across the domains of government, law and education in Hong Kong.


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