Hong Kong should promote Cantonese as part of its cultural heritage
I am writing in response to the article by Luisa Tam, “You could never replace Cantonese as the language of Hong Kong” (May 9).
I agree with your columnist that Cantonese and Hong Kong go back a long way and are inextricably linked. However, we see that most teenagers and young children in the city these days speak English or Mandarin even better than they do Cantonese. Nowadays, most parents don’t want their children to learn Cantonese as the first language. They tend to expect their children to learn universal and useful languages, instead of Cantonese – with its limited usage.
The Hong Kong government also supports the use of Mandarin for learning Chinese. So, is Cantonese expected to totally disappear in the near future?
I think Cantonese is an integral part of Hong Kong’s tradition and culture. There are many specific Chinese expressions that are unique to Cantonese – it represents the evolution of Hong Kong’s linguistic culture. Therefore, I think the learning of Cantonese should be promoted in the city as part of our cultural heritage. After all, Cantonese is the first language of Hong Kong people. No other language can ever take its place.
Celia Wan, Tsing Yi