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Title: A study of language choice and language shift among the Hakka-speaking population in Hong Kong, with a primary focus on Sha Tau Kok
Other Titles: Xianggang Kejia ren de yu yan xuan ze he yu yan zhuan yi yan jiu : yi Shatoujiao wei zhu yao jiao dian
香港客家人的語言選擇和語言轉移研究 : 以沙頭角為主要焦點
Authors: Lee, Sherman (李雪曼)
Department: Department of English and Communication
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Hakka dialects -- China -- Hong Kong.
Hakka (Chinese people) -- China -- Hong Kong.
Notes: CityU Call Number: PL1860.H6 L44 2008
xiii, 328 leaves : ill. 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 300-323)
Type: thesis
Abstract: This thesis explores the sociolinguistic practices of members of a minority language community in Hong Kong, the Hakka community, with a primary focus on Hakka speakers in Sha Tau Kok. The study is informed by two complementary levels of sociolinguistic inquiry. At the macro-level, the study aims to investigate the extent of language shift from Hakka to the predominant societal language, Cantonese, by examining patterns of language choice and language use among speakers, and to identify the social and sociolinguistic factors most associated with variations in those patterns of language choice. At the micro-level, the study aims to analyse language behaviour from an interactional perspective by examining the patterns and communicative purposes of conversational code-switching among bilingual Hakka speakers using a conversation analytic approach. The informant sample comprised 32 male and female Hakka speakers aged between 9 and 82 from nine separate families in Sha Tau Kok and other parts of Hong Kong. A combination of methods was used to collect data on language choice and language use patterns, social network and other social background information, and conversational data, including informal interviews, recordings of spontaneous conversations and participant observation in the informants’ homes. The findings on language choice and variation show clear evidence of language shift, with individual variables such as age and social network characteristics appearing to be strongly related to the language behaviour of speakers. The interactional data suggests that bilingual speakers systematically employ code-switching as a communicative resource and that this code-switching serves both participant and discourse-related functions. Through its adoption of a social network approach to data collection and analysis, this study illustrates the application of an originally Western construct to an Asian setting. The research also contributes to the limited empirical data on a minority Chinese variety in Hong Kong and that on code-switching between two varieties of Chinese.
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