English In Colonial Hong Kong Analysis

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In 1842, Hong Kong was ceded to the British Empire and became a colonial state. The role that English played in Hong Kong society have received much attention over the last thirty years by people in different fields including academic commentators and political engagers. 1997 was considered to a commemorable year for Hong Kong for the reason that it signaled a new stage of its development and evolution as a unique city state in China. However, the status of English seems cannot be substituted by Chinese language easily. As Lin (1996) suggests, the predominant status of English in colonial Hong Kong was based on a “self-perpetuating myth”. And there are mainly three factors that led to the English-dominated symbolic market in Hong Kong: “the…show more content…
I agree with what Lin concluded. In colonial Hong Kong, the market demand for English drove the “myth” to some extent. In the following paragraphs, I will summarize and analyze these three factors respectively. Additionally, the survival of that “myth” in postcolonial Hong Kong will be further discussed. Four main types of government selection policies contributed to the formation of the English-dominated symbolic market in Hong Kong. Firstly, the choice of the medium of instruction of the University of Hong Kong affects other education level’s preferences on English. The reason is that the University of Hong Kong was only a single and government-recognized university for many years in Hong Kong at that time. Therefore, it was considered as the most prestigious institution among all other schools in the colony. However,…show more content…
The importance of English as a language for global business and international commerce was always highlighted by Hong Kong people. Actually, according to the historical records, the English language was not the influential factors that caused the economic miracle achieved by Hong Kong after 1960s. It was the manufacturing industries set up by Hong Kong rich immigrants from Mainland China that led such as economic miracle. Those entrepreneurs brought their necessary capital and expertise to set up the industries in the colony. In addition, numbers of other immigrants from China provided cheap labor for the industries. Particularly, the competition between those cheap-labor industries was not stiff in the international market so that they could develop rapidly. Accordingly, the impact of English was very little during that period. However, after Chinese “open door” economic policy, Hong Kong’s labor-intensive industries shifted their base to China and thus became dependent on China gradually. But why people still insists that the economic success depended on English? Maybe the job market demand for English especially the white-collar jobs could explain their opinion. It could be seen that this phenomenon was part of the production of the government’s English-dominant policies. As for the education part, it

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