Language Policy

, 7:47

Disputes and deliberations over language policy: the case of early colonial Hong Kong

Original Paper


This case study of colonial language policy examines the disputes and deliberations over language policy in Hong Kong education during the Governorship of Sir John Pope Hennessy (1877–1882). Although language policy had been a source of controversy at various times during the 1860s and 1870s, it was not until Hennessy’s term that conflict over the roles of English and Chinese in Hong Kong’s education system came fully into the open. One consequence of this sudden upsurge of interest in language policy was that the colonial and metropolitan authorities were finally forced to confront the issues and problems associated with two decades of government-sponsored English-language education. The debates and decisions about language policy during this period provide revealing evidence of the British government’s position on the learning and use of English in colonial education and society.


British colonial education Chinese Colonial language policy English Hong Kong Linguistic imperialism Medium of instruction 



China Mail

CO 129

Colonial Office, Original Correspondence: Series 129


English language teaching


Hong Kong Blue Books


Hong Kong Government Gazette


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung Hom, KowloonHong Kong

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