Language Immersion Courses in Hong Kong
Language Immersion Courses in Hong Kong by City:Hong Kong
About Language Immersion Courses in Hong Kong
The official languages of Hong Kong are English and Chinese. English was the sole official language during British rule (1883-1974). Chinese became an official language in 1974 after numerous demonstrations and petitions from Chinese residents in their demand for equal status.
Today, Chinese and English are both acknowledged as official languages, with Cantonese declared the de facto official spoken Chinese in Hong Kong. Cantonese is spoken by 97% of the population. Mandarin is also accepted.
The government supports the “bi-literate and trilingual” policy. In fact, new legislation is required to be enacted bilingually in both English and Chinese.
Hong Kong uses standard modern written Chinese, most closely related to the grammar and vocabulary from the Mandarin dialect. There is also a writing system based on the vocabulary and grammar of spoken Cantonese, in which people write the way they speak.
Code-switching, the practice of using more than one language in conversation at a time is very common. As a result of bilingualism, casual conversation consists of a mix of Cantonese and English.
There are many programs for immersion education in English, Cantonese Chinese, and Mandarin Chinese. Some programs are run by international universities, others by private companies based in the country or internationally. There are a number of private international schools.
Private international schools teach in both English and the language of the sponsoring nation. Often tuition is more expensive than other types of schools. In general, these private international schools offer an exposure to a challenging curriculum reflective of a native country with daily language usage in their native tongue.
The residents in Hong Kong represent a range of ethnicities, and many of them are neither native English nor native Cantonese speakers. With over 25,000 Japanese people, Japanese is the largest non-official language. Vietnamese is a distinct language used primarily among ethnic Chinese from Vietnam who settled in Vietnam, then relocated to Hong Kong. Vietnamese refugees who left their country during the Vietnam War era and fled to Hong Kong add to the large number of Vietnamese speaking residents.
A significant number of South Asians bring different language exposure to Hong Kong. Hindi and Urdu are widely used in common areas with South Asians. Nepali, Sindhi, and Punjabi languages are prevalent.
Arabic is used frequently by members of Muslim communities. Arabic study is offered through at least one tertiary institution. Islamic organizations teach the language.
Japanese is the foreign language studied the most. The study of the French language places second. There are about 5000 German speakers with special institutions offering language programs. Approximately 1000 students take Korean courses.
Two, out of the many written newspapers in Hong Kong, are published in Nepalese. Special radio shows launched in 2004, Hong Kong-Pak Tonight broadcast in Urdu and Harmo Sagarmatha in Nepalese cater to the diverse language populations.