Language and the curriculum in Hong Kong: Dilemmas of triglossia

Bob Adamson, Winnie Auyeung Lai

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


As with colonial transition elsewhere, the language patterns in Hong Kong have changed with the return of sovereignty to China. Biglossia (whereby Hong Kong Cantonese and English predominate) is shifting to triglossia, as Putonghua, the official language of the People's Republic of China, has become increasingly important. This paper focuses on the impact of colonial transition and in particular the emergence of Putonghua and on the language subjects in the primary and secondary school curricula in Hong Kong. It argues that, whilst the rationale for promoting Putonghua is logical, tensions are evident in the school curricula, most notably in two areas. Firstly, the curricula were already heavily biased in favour of language subjects and, secondly, the necessary teaching expertise for Putonghua is not readily available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-246
Number of pages14
JournalComparative Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Language and the curriculum in Hong Kong: Dilemmas of triglossia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this