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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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Institutional Adaptation to Legal Bilingualism

Institutional Adaptation to Legal Bilingualism

Chapter:
(p.235) Chapter 8 Institutional Adaptation to Legal Bilingualism
Source:
The Common Law in Two Voices
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804761642.003.0008

This chapter discusses the institutional responses that the Hong Kong Judiciary derived in the face of the challenges posed by legal bilingualism. Legal professionals justify new practices to delimit the scope of Cantonese by arguing how a linguistic division of labor can bring out the best in English and avoid the worst in Cantonese. The process underlines the close interactions between language ideology and institutional behaviors. The discussion shows how the existing beliefs that English stands for the abstract common law and that Chinese stands for factual everyday mundaneness guide the use of Cantonese as a legal language in the operation of the bilingual system.

Keywords:   Hong Kong Judiciary, bilingualism challenges, language ideology, Cantonese, mundaneness

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