IJCH 2017 Vol.3(1): 134-141 ISSN: 2382-6177
doi: 10.18178/ijch.2017.3.2.090

The Cantonese Linguicide: A Study of Prospective Language Death in Hong Kong

Kent Y. Hu
Abstract—Abstract—When the Communist Party of China rose to power in 1949 and established the People’s Republic of China, there was a movement to unify the nation’s languages under one common dialect, Mandarin. As a result, this has led to a decrease in the speakers of the many dialects that make up the Chinese language as a whole. At this time, the city of Hong Kong was still under British rule, thus remained untouched by this movement. However, with the growth of the PRC’s power and influence in recent years, like many other provinces on the mainland, Hong Kong has received much pressure to embrace Mandarin over other dialects. In this paper, it will outline major themes regarding changing the de facto language of Hong Kong from Cantonese to Mandarin under political and economic pressure. It will also explore the socio-cultural and socio-political consequences of unifying the language and generalizing the culture of China, when historically, China was comprised of various language groups, regional cultures, and political identities.

Index Terms—Index Terms—Cantonese, Hong Kong, Hong Kong identity, linguicide.

Kent Y. Hu is with the National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan (e-mail: KentYHu@gmail.com).

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Cite: Kent Y. Hu, "The Cantonese Linguicide: A Study of Prospective Language Death in Hong Kong," International Journal of Culture and History vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 134-141, 2017.

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