Official language of Hong Kong

Of Hong Kong. According to them:

Although the Basic Law stipulates that Chinese and English are the two official languages in Hong Kong, nearly 97 per cent of the local population learn Cantonese (a Chinese dialect that is not an official language) as their commonly used daily language.

This has, undoubtedly, led to outrage in Hong Kong, where the overwhelming majority speaks Cantonese as their mother tongue and in their daily life. The Education Bureau apologies shortly afterwards, and took the relevant text off their website. Many people have already make good arguments on why Cantonese is not just a dialect, and I am not going to repeat them here.

I just want to do some math here, and present a simple line of logic. The law says that “Chinese and English” are Hong Kong’s official languages, but there is no rule about verbal language, such as Cantonese. If, however, as the Education Bureau claims, Cantonese is just a “dialect” and “not an official language, ” what is Hong Kong’s official verbal Chinese language? Could that be Mandarin?

Let’s look at a few numbers. According to the Hong Kong government and its 2011 census, almost 90 percent of the Hong Kong population uses Cantonese as their usual language (meaning the primary language they use in daily setting); 3.2 percent of population speaks English; 5.5 percent speaks Chinese “dialects” other than Cantonese and Mandarin. How many people speaks Mandarin as their usual language? A mere 0.9 percent of the population. That is not to say that Mandarin is not important. However, I find it totally unconvincing to try to argue for a language spoken by just 0.9 percent of the population as the official language, while the one spoken by 90 percent is not.

Well, you may say, Hong Kong is a metropolis, so it should not be surprising that there are many Westerns who speak English as their first language. But if we narrow down and look only at the ethnic Chinese population (not necessarily legally Chinese, but people with Chinese origins, including American Chinese, etc.) in Hong Kong, we will see that Mandarin is still spoken by just a tiny fraction of ethnic Chinese.

We can further break down the ethnic Chinese population by their duration of residence in Hong Kong.

There we have more interesting findings. We see that the longer these ethnic Chinese lived in Hong Kong, the more likely they speak Cantonese as their usual language. Almost 95 percent of the ethnic Chinese population who have lived in Hong Kong for more than 10 years speak Cantonese as their usual language. While this does not necessarily mean that living in Hong Kong causes non-Cantonese speaking Chinese to speak Cantonese, I would argue that this is probably a persuasive story.

You might also like
Official Trailer Longines Hong Kong Masters 2014
Official Trailer Longines Hong Kong Masters 2014
Rigor Mortis Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Hong Kong Horror
Rigor Mortis Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Hong Kong Horror ...
閨密 GIRLS (2014) Hong Kong Official Trailer HD 1080 (HK
閨密 GIRLS (2014) Hong Kong Official Trailer HD 1080 (HK ...
Pocket Dictionary Chinese-English and Pekingese Syllabary: With a Supplement of New Abbreviated Characters in Official Use (Chinese and English Edition)
Book (Hong Kong University Press)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
SelectWisely Doctor Letter for Auto-injector - Translated in Chinese (Hong Kong) or any of 8 languages
Health and Beauty (SelectWisely)
  • Our Doctor Letter for Auto-injector provided in Chinese (Hong Kong). If you need another language select it in the Flavor dropdown above.
  • Easily get through airport security and gate boarding without official documentation.
  • Show the letter to airport staff, security or customs to clearly demonstrate your medical need.
  • Shipped as Letter-sized PDF format via email.
  • Instructions included for doctor request.
Aberdeen 香港仔 (2014) - Hong Kong Official Trailer HD
Aberdeen 香港仔 (2014) - Hong Kong Official Trailer HD ...
Hong Kong Fencingmob (official)
Hong Kong Fencingmob (official)
iphone 6 case WAWO Leather Wallet Flip Case, Brown
Wireless (iphone 6 case)
  • Meticulously build for your precious iPhone 6 (4.7 )
  • Precise cut and design make it easy to access to all ports: sensors, speakers, cameras and all other iPhone functions.
Topics Entertainment Instant Immersion Level 1 - Cantonese [Download]
Digital Software (Topics Entertainment)
  • Instant Immersion Level 1 teaches you basic vocabulary and phrases quickly and easily. You will be able to get around with confidence, speak with ease and understand...
  • In Instant Immersion Level 1, you will learn how to say first words, food, colors, useful phrases, numbers, time, shopping terms and more in your new language.
  • Language learning is broken down into goal-focused 10-minute sessions in Instant Immersion Level 1. This helps make the process of learning a new language quick...
  • Practice your new language in real-life situations using the advanced interactive recording feature in Instant Immersion Level 1. You will be able to hear what you...
  • The game-based exercises in Instant Immersion Level 1 make learning fun and keep you coming back for more. Earn points during games and quizzes, and achieve awards.
Related Posts