Language Trends in the Organs of Government



This chapter examines the changing status and use of written and spoken English vis-à-vis Cantonese, written Chinese, and Putonghua in the organs of government since the mid-1960s. The chapter begins by discussing the political factors behind the rise of Chinese as an official language in the late colonial period and the HKSAR government’s aspiration to nurture a society that is biliterate in Chinese and English and trilingual in Cantonese, Putonghua, and English. It then proceeds to analyse recent trends in language choice and use in the Executive Council, the civil service, government-affiliated organisations, the Legislative Council, and the judiciary.


Decolonisation Government communication Language choice Language policy Official language 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong KongHong Kong

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