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Academic Paper


Title: The Long March to Biliteracy and Trilingualism: Language Policy in Hong Kong Education Since the Handover
Author: Stephen Evans
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
English
Chinese, Yue
Abstract: Since the handover, policymakers in Hong Kong have faced the daunting task of determining the educational roles of two major international languages (Putonghua and English), as well as a vibrant local language (Cantonese), which is the mother tongue of around 90% of the city's predominantly Chinese population. Their response to this unprecedented challenge has been to set the ambitious goal of developing students’ ability to read and write Chinese and English and to speak Cantonese, Putonghua, and English. At the same time, however, they are pursuing policies that in some respects run counter to this commendable if ill-defined aim. This article examines the background to and rationale for the promotion of biliteracy and trilingualism and reviews recent research into the government's major language-in-education initiatives since 1997, namely, the adoption of a compulsory mother-tongue policy at junior secondary level, the recent fine-tuning of this controversial policy, and the use of Putonghua as the medium of instruction in Chinese subjects at primary and secondary levels.

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This article appears IN Annual Review of Applied Linguistics Vol. 33, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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