The English-Using Community



This chapter examines the evolution of Hong Kong’s English-using community. The chapter begins by discussing the widespread perception in contemporary Hong Kong that standards of English are declining. Using a range of unpublished primary sources, this part shows that perceptions of unsatisfactory standards have characterised discussion of English in Hong Kong since the mid-nineteenth century. The remaining parts of the chapter present and analyse three complementary sets of diachronic data relating to the knowledge and use of English as an additional language, namely, trends in government censuses, in the authorship of letters to the English-language press, and in the membership of juries. This evidence makes it possible to demarcate phases in the ascent of the city’s community of English users.


Demographic trends Diachronic research Jury membership Language standards Newspaper correspondence 


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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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