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The Common Law in Two VoicesLanguage, Law, and the Postcolonial Dilemma in Hong Kong$
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Kwai Hang Ng

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804761642

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804761642.001.0001

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The Practices of English and Cantonese in Colonial Hong Kong

The Practices of English and Cantonese in Colonial Hong Kong

Chapter:
(p.50) Chapter 3 The Practices of English and Cantonese in Colonial Hong Kong
Source:
The Common Law in Two Voices
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804761642.003.0003

This chapter presents a historical overview of the roles of English and Cantonese in Hong Kong society in general and in the Hong Kong legal system in particular. It describes the historical landscape of societal bilingualism, where English and Cantonese occupy different linguistic domains in the society. For a long time, English has been regarded as the language of power and prestige. Whereas Cantonese, despite its role as the vernacular of the overwhelming majority of the population, has been absent in the colonial legal space.

Keywords:   societal bilingualism, Hong Kong society, vernacular language, English, Cantonese

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