Languages of Hong Kong

No place like home

Causeway Bay's connections to Indonesia go back much further than today's weekend crowds of (mostly Javanese) migrant workers in Victoria Park might suggest. Indonesian Chinese have had a significant impact on this district since the late 1940s.

Sunday, 29 July, 2012, 12:00am


Tough checks and balances long overdue

As a Hong Kong resident, it is disheartening to read about various scandals involving civil servants.

26 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Citizens from ethnic minorities could help raise English standards in schools

I read with interest the comments Paul Stables made in his letter ('Minorities can help with English', July 11).

In it he made several astute observations about the state of English in Hong Kong to which I would add the following comments.

No one can deny the standards of English have fallen alarmingly over the last two or three decades in Hong Kong.

23 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Who said it?

In the medium to long term, Cantonese is an endangered language

Dr Stephen Matthews, a University of Hong Kong linguist who is calling on the government to review its policy of allowing Putonghua to be used for Chinese language teaching in schools

We regret the fact that the first notice was not our best work

27 May 2012 - 12:00am

Schools may be killing dialect

Education officials have been urged to review their policy of using Putonghua to teach Chinese language and literacy in Hong Kong, amid fears that Cantonese is becoming marginalised and is at risk of dying out within generations.

27 May 2012 - 12:00am

Why save Cantonese?

Students at the University of Hong Kong have spelled out the reasons they believe Cantonese should be saved amid predictions that the language is in danger of dying out. Here are some of their views in an essay assignment on the effects of the disappearance of the language set by Associate Professor of Linguistics Stephen Matthews:

27 May 2012 - 12:00am

Mark my words

Chinese-language chauvinists take note: Cantonese is anything but a minor southern dialect of only localised importance.

13 May 2012 - 12:00am

Nepalis strangers in their own city

Nepalis are struggling to make a living in Hong Kong, prompting some people to ask whether policymakers are serious about promoting multiculturalism and equality.

6 May 2012 - 12:00am

Ancient art, fresh heirs

There's rather a lot of noise coming from class 4A at St Joseph's Primary School in Ma On Shan and surely too much laughter for serious study. At the front of the room, facing their classmates, children sit in a row with signs around their necks, each depicting the Chinese character for one of the nine tones in Cantonese.

29 Apr 2012 - 12:00am


Coca-Cola's irresponsible move

The news about soft drinks and their link to cancer deserves our attention. The drinks are a favourite among teenagers in Hong Kong. No one denies that soft drinks are unhealthy. But a new report from America adds to the worries.

4 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Youngster pursues passion for opera

At two, Chinese-Canadian Chloe Ng-Brossard Yee-tsing could hum the song her mother would sing in Chinese while washing the dishes.

It was the Cantonese opera classic Dai Nui Fa. A few weeks later, she was able to sing it.

Chloe, now 10, developed a passion for Cantonese opera and has already performed in Hong Kong and at the Shanghai World Expo.

2 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Master Cantonese with a little application... on your phone

For most foreigners learning Chinese, the biggest struggle is finding the right tones when presented with romanised script. Dean Head, the creator of Fonetic Cantonese, says this is because 'the tongue is a muscle.

25 Mar 2012 - 12:00am


In a recent New York Times op-ed, former Harvard president Lawrence Summers wrote: 'English's emergence as the global language, along with the rapid progress in machine translation and the fragmentation of languages spoken around the world, make it less clear that the substantial investment necessary to speak a foreign tongue is universally worthwhile.'

2 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

Wow, that sounds good!

Six junior reporters met up with the Metro Vocal Group to explore the world of acappella at their Hong Kong-based American Vocal Studio. Vocal percussionist Michael Lance taught them how to beatbox, while vocal instructor Eric Monson showed them how to hit the right notes. Check out what they learned ...

Songs for all fans

29 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Brothers in arms

Soon after Wang Lijun's dramatic visit to the US consulate in Chengdu, a poster was circulated online with the tagline: 'Security chief Wang, we've had enough', airing grouses such as: 'I've sung off-key all my life, yet you forced me to sing red songs.' Wang is, of course, the disgraced former vice-mayor of Chongqing, and the poster was just one in a series of mainland-produced posters that pa

21 Feb 2012 - 12:00am