Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2452-1949
  • E-ISSN: 2452-2147
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This paper will argue that the role and status of the languages promoted as part of Hong Kong’s “trilingualism and biliteracy” policy cannot be understood without reference to each other and to their wider social, political and linguistic context. Particularly, in Hong Kong, race is a key mediating factor that structures social orders in which language is used and evaluated, and therefore its role in the ecology must be emphasized. This article will outline the links between language and social hierarchies of race, focusing particularly on the positioning of Hong Kong South Asians, based on ethnographic research in a Hong Kong secondary school and analysis of media and policy data. This approach is key to understanding the apparent contradictions in the evaluation of various languages spoken in Hong Kong, and demonstrates the necessity of a holistic, contextualized analysis of language and race.


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