Language Planning and Varieties of (Modern Standard) Chinese
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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Hong Kong written Chinese is the register used in government documents, serious literature and the formal sections of printed media. It is a local variation of Standard Chinese and has many special features in its lexicon, syntax and discourse. These features come from three distinctive sources: English, Cantonese and innovation. The main concern of this paper is which features come from English and how they are adopted. It is shown that Hong Kong written Chinese has a large number of English loan words, both localized and semi-localized ones, and quite a few calque forms from English. Some of its lexical items have undergone semantic shift under the influence of English or Cantonese. The most interesting characteristic of Hong Kong written Chinese is that a number of its words have changed their syntactic behavior due to English influence and a few syntactic structures are apparently adopted from English. This particular form of written Chinese thus provides an excellent case to study the impact of bilingualism and multilingualism on language use and language change induced by language contact.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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