Case Study Of Cantonese-English Code Switching

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Case study
Cantonese-English code switching is widely used in Hong Kong’s society and community and yet Hong Kong people may not even aware of this situation. The use of code switching has been one of the issues for the young generations since it does not only affect the way they speak in daily life but also when they are at school. Hong Kong was once colonized by the British for over decades and English has been used as a major language during the colonization. After the handover, the medium of instruction has become a question in the education domains. In fact, the raises of the code switching tend to present quite often in the schools in Hong Kong. The case study would be talk about how code switching affects to the students and teachers in the school and the reason how it is difficult to avoid code switching inside and outside the school in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was ruled under the British colonial for over decades, English was mainly used during the British colonial era. After the handover in 1997, Under the Basic Law of Hong Kong, English and Chinese are the official languages in Hong Kong (Poon 2004, p. 54). Due to the language policy change in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong SAR government has adopted a "biliterate and trilingual" policy. This policy helps Hong Kong people to develop ability to read and write Chinese and English, and to speak Chinese, English and Putonghua (Li 2008, p. 77). However, the policy has created a concern for the students who had to convert English-medium to Chinese- medium. In fact, there were 94% of the students studying English medium Secondary schools whereas only 6% of students were studying in the Chinese medium schools (Tollefson & B.M &Tsui 2005, p. 98). This change of the medium of instruction policy aroused the reaction of the community. The language policy not only had given a fear revealed to the parents and teachers and indeed it had caused a social issue. As a result employers of the transnational consortiums and businesses leaders are the one concern or compliant about the decline of the English standard in the workplace on the local economy. Besides, according to Zen (2007, p. 43) states that ‘instruction delivered in English or a mixed code of English and Cantonese was unrealistic and ineffective and negatively influenced students’ learning.’ This is true that students in Hong had to switch to an unfamiliar language which were difficult for them .The consequences of the mandatory implementation have affected broadly not only in the education sectors but the leaders in the businesses factors as well. The introduction of the medium of instruction has brought out code switching and code mixing in different circumstance in Hong Kong.

According to Chan, Ching and Lee( 2009, p. 281) notes that ‘code switching and code mixing are common phenomena in bilingual societies.’ Cantonese-English code switching is one of the mixed code which is used everywhere in Hong Kong. By no mean is that code switching not unique in Hong Kong because it is frequently use in young generation in this current society. Hence, for the participant that was being interviewed, she uses code switching in her conversation with her friends and family everyday (Lei , 2014). In addition, code mixing does not only appear in the speech and writing but particularly in the Chinese local media as well, for example, ‘sprinkling’ English expression or words in Cantonese conversation in speech. In writing, mixed code occurs in the Chinese press when English words are involved in Chinese characters (Li 2008, p. 76). However, Li (2008, p.76) points out that ‘the term code-mixing itself tends to attract negative associations, giving (especially lay readers) the value-loaded impression that ‘mixing’ languages is symptomatic of bad or pathological language behaviour.’ It seems that there are negative perceptions regarding on the use of mixed code because it is an informal way in communicative situations. Furthermore, my