Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
In This Section

Global Chinese

Ed. by Wei, Li / Yanbin, Diao

2 Issues per year

Online
ISSN
2199-4382
See all formats and pricing
In This Section

Language choice and code-switching among Hong Kong’s Hakka speakers

香港客家人的語言選擇和語碼轉換

Sherman Lee
  • Hong Kong Shue Yan University.
  • Email:
Published Online: 2015-04-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/glochi-2015-1003

Abstract

This paper examines the language practices among speakers of Hakka in Hong Kong, a minority Chinese variety still found in the territory. These speakers were largely monolingual a few decades ago but are now primarily bilingual in Hakka and Cantonese as the community shifts towards the latter, the dominant societal language. To explore the process and dynamics of this language shift, the present study adopted an ethnographic approach for observing the actual bilingual behaviours of individuals and families in the community. The informant sample comprised 32 speakers aged between 9 and 82 from nine separate families across Hong Kong. Data was collected through a combination of participant observation, informal interviews and conversational exchanges in the informants’ homes. Examination of their patterns of language choice and language use shows that most of the speakers use Cantonese-dominant patterns, and are ‘shifters’ rather than ‘maintainers’ of the Hakka language; the shift is clearly generation and age-related. The paper also illustrates how bilingual speakers make use of code-switching between Hakka and Cantonese to achieve various discourse purposes in their everyday conversations, suggesting that even among the ‘language shifters’, Hakka remains an important linguistic resource.

摘要

這份文章旨在研究香港一個漢語方言少數族群──操客家話者的語用習慣。幾十年前的香港,大部分的客家人都只操單一語言,但隨著社會逐漸傾向廣東話主導,他們現在基本上已同時操客家和廣東話。本研究以民族誌研究方法為導向,透過探索這種語言轉變的過程和動態,深入觀察香港的客家話社區內確實的客廣雙語行為。參加這項研究的合共 32 人,年齡由 9 至 82 歲,來自 9 個家庭。數據來自研究者親身到他們的家庭進行語言交流、觀察和非正式訪問。分析他們的語言選擇和使用方式之後,顯示大部分操客家話者採用以廣東話為主導的模式溝通,屬於客家話的「轉移者」而非「維持者」,而這種變化與年齡和不同輩份有明顯關係。本文亦展示部分雙語者在日常生活中,為了滿足不同言談功能或目的,如何利用語碼轉換交替使用客家話和廣東話。這顯示對於即使是那些被視為「轉移者」的人,客家話仍然是重要的語言資源。

Keywords: Hakka; Hong Kong; language shift; code-switching; Cantonese

關鍵字: 客家; 香港; 語言轉移; 語碼轉換; 廣東話

References

  • Alfonzetti, Giovanna. 1998. The conversational dimension in code-switching between Italian and dialect in Sicily. In P. Auer (ed.), Code-switching in conversation: Language, interaction and identity, 180–214. London: Routledge.

  • Auer, Peter. 1984. Bilingual conversation. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins.

  • Auer, Peter. 1995. The pragmatics of code-switching: A sequential approach. In L. Milroy & P. Muysken (eds.), One speaker, two languages: Cross-disciplinary perspectives on code-switching, 115–135. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Bacon-Shone, John, & Bolton, Kingsley. 1998. Charting multilingualism: Language censuses and language surveys in Hong Kong. In M. C. Pennington (ed.), Language in Hong Kong at century’s end, 43–90. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

  • Bradley, David. 2005. Introduction: Language policy and language endangerment in China . International Journal of the Sociology of Language 173. 1–21. [Crossref]

  • Chow, Pak Sing, & Lau, Chun Fat. 2001. Xianggang Kejiaren de yuyan taidu yu Keyu xiang Yueyu zhuanyi de yinsu he qushi 香港客家人的語言態度與客語向粵語轉移的因素和趨勢 [Language attitude among the Hakka in Hong Kong and the cause of shift from Hakka to Cantonese]. In C. F. Lau (ed.), Xianggang Ke Yue fangyan bijiao yanjiu 香港客粵方言比較研究 [Comparative research on the Hakka and Yue dialects of Hong Kong], 25–38. Guangzhou: Jinan University Press.

  • Constable, Nicole. 1996. Introduction: What does it mean to be Hakka? In N. Constable (ed.), Guest people: Hakka identity in China and abroad, 3–35. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.

  • Coulmas, Florian. 2005. Sociolinguistics: The study of speakers’ choices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • DeFrancis, John. 1990. The Chinese language: Fact and fantasy. Honolulu, JI: University of Hawaii Press.

  • Deng, Xiaohua. 1998. Kejiahua yu Ganyu ji Minyu de bijiao 客家話與贛語及閩語的比較 [A comparison of Hakka speech with Gan and Min dialects] . Yuwen Yanjiu 語文研究 [Linguistic Researches] 3. 47–51.

  • Dorian, Nancy C. 1981. Language death: The life cycle of a Scottish Gaelic dialect. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Gal, Susan. 1979. Language shift: Social determinants of linguistic change in bilingual Austria. New York: Academic Press.

  • Groves, Julie, M. 2008. Language or dialect – or topolect? A comparison of the attitudes of Hong Kongers and Mainland Chinese towards the status of Cantonese. Sino-Platonic Papers, 179.

  • Gumperz, John J. 1982. Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Hong Kong Government. 2001. 2001 population census: Main report – volume I. Hong Kong: Census and Statistics Department.

  • Hong Kong Government. 2011. 2011 population census: Main report: volume I. Retrieved from http://www.census2011.gov.hk/pdf/main-report-volume-I.pdf

  • Hong Kong SAR Government. 2001. Press release: Access control of ChungYing Street. Retrieved December 2014, from http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200102/14/0214245.htm

  • Johnson, Elizabeth. 2000. Recording a rich heritage: Research on Hong Kong’s New Territories. Hong Kong: Leisure and Cultural Services Dept.

  • Lau, Chun Fat. 1997. Keyu pinyin zihui 客語拼音字彙 [Hakka Pinyin Dictionary]. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press.

  • Lau, Chun Fat. 2000. The decline of the general Hakka accent in Hong Kong: A comparison of “Old-Style” and “New-Style” as spoken by the indigenous inhabitants. Muenchen: Lincom Europa 2000.

  • Lau, Chun Fat. 2001a. Xianggang de Kejiaren he Kejiahua 香港的客家人和客家話 [The Hakka people and the Hakka language in Hong Kong]. In C. F. Lau (ed.), Xianggang Ke Yue fangyan bijiao yanjiu 香港客粵方言比較研究 [Comparative research on the Hakka and Yue dialects of Hong Kong], 1–15. Guangzhou: Jinan University Press.

  • Lau, Chun Fat. 2001b. Xianggang Ke Yue fangyan bijiao yanjiu 香港客粵方言比較研究 [Comparative research on the Hakka and Yue dialects of Hong Kong]. Guangzhou: Jinan University Press.

  • Lau, Chun Fat. 2002. The criteria for Chinese dialect classification and the problem of the position of the “Hakka dialect” in Chinese dialect grouping . Journal of Chinese Linguistics 30(1). 82–96.

  • Lau, Chun Fat. 2004. Xianggang yuanzhumin Keyu: Yi ge xiaoshi zhong de shengyin 香港原居民客語: 一個消失中的聲音 [Hong Kong aboriginal Hakka: A vanishing voice]. Hong Kong: The Chinese Language Society of Hong Kong.

  • Lau, Chun Fat. 2005. A dialect murders another dialect: The case of Hakka in Hong Kong . International Journal of the Sociology of Language 173. 23–35.

  • Lau, Chun Fat, & So, Daniel W.C. 2005. Cong fangyan zachu dao Guangfuhua weizhu: 1949–1971 nianjian Xianggang shehui yuyan zhuanxing de chubu tantao 從方言雜處到廣府話為主: 1949–1971 年間香港社會語言轉型的初步探討 [From multi-dialectal society to Cantonese dominant: A survey of language shift in Hong Kong 1949–1971] . The Journal of Chinese Sociolinguistics 2005 (1). 89–104.

  • Li, Wei. 1994. Three generations, two languages, one family: Language choice and language shift in a Chinese community in Britain. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

  • Li, Wei. 2002. “What do you want me to say?” On the Conversation Analysis approach to bilingual interaction . Language in Society 31. 159–180.

  • Liu, Jiahong. 1998. Chuangdang Xianggang de Kejiaren 闖蕩香港的客家人 [The Hakkas making a living in Hong Kong] . Zhongnan Minzu Xueyuan Xuebao-Zhexue Shehui Kexue Ban 中南民族學院學報 - 哲學社會科學版 [Journal of South-Central College for Ethnic Communities - Philosophy and Social Science] 18(3). 40–44.

  • LSHK. 1997. Yueyu pinyin zibiao 粤語拼音字表 [Guide to Linguistic Society of Hong Kong Cantonese Romanization of Chinese Characters]. Hong Kong: Linguistic Society of Hong Kong.

  • Luo, Xianglin. 1933, reprinted in 1992. Kejia yanjiu daolun 客家研究導輪 [An introduction to Hakka research]. (Orig. Kuangtung: Shi-Shan Library); Taipei: Nantian Shuju.

  • Mair, Victor H. 1991. What is a Chinese “dialect/topolect”? Reflections on some key Sino-English linguistic terms . Sino-Platonic Papers, 29,. 1–31.

  • Milroy, Lesley. 1987. Language and social networks. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Norman, Jerry. 1988. Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Ramsey, S. Robert. 1987. The languages of China. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  • Sagart, Laurent. 1998. On distinguishing Hakka and non-Hakka dialects . Journal of Chinese Linguistics 26(2). 281–301.

  • Shin, Sarah J. 2005. Developing in two languages: Korean children in America. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

  • So, Daniel W.C. & Lau Chun Fat. 2013. Rapid large scale intra-nationality language shift in Hong Kong 1949–1971 . Journal of Chinese Linguistics 41(1). 21–51.

  • T’sou, Benjamin K. 1997a. Aspects of the two language system and three language problem in the changing society of Hong Kong. In S. Wright & H. Kelly-Holmes (eds.), One country, two systems, three languages, 22–33. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

  • T’sou, Benjamin K. 1997b. “Sanyan”, “liangyu” shuo Xianggang “三言”,“兩語”說香港 [“Three types of speech” and “two languages” in Hong Kong] . Journal of Chinese Linguistics 25. 290–307.

  • Weinreich, Uriel. 1953. Languages in contact: Findings and problems. London: Mouton.

  • Yang, Yaolin. 1997. An inquiry into the origin and development of the Hakka in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. In Z. Wu (ed.), Kejiaxue Yanjiu 客家學研究 [Studies in Hakkaology], 56–65. Shanghai: Shanghai Renmin Chubanshe.

About the article

Sherman Lee

Sherman Lee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Hong Kong Shue Yan University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Hong Kong for research examining language shift among the Hakka population, and her B.A. (Manchester) and M.Phil (Cambridge) from the UK in the fields of linguistics and computer speech. Her current research and teaching interests include sociolinguistics, bilingualism, discourse analysis, English for academic purposes, and research methodology.

李雪曼現為香港樹仁大學英文系助理教授。她分別在英國曼徹斯特大學和劍橋大學獲得語言學學士學位與計算語音學哲學碩士學位,並於香港城市大學以研究客家人的語言轉用獲得社會語言學博士學位。她目前的研究與教學項目包括:社會語言學、雙語現象、話語分析、學術英語及研究方法論。


Published Online: 2015-04-14

Published in Print: 2015-04-01



Citation Information: Global Chinese, ISSN (Online) 2199-4382, ISSN (Print) 2199-4374, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/glochi-2015-1003. Export Citation

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in