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Title: Rapid large scale intra-nationality language shift in Hong Kong 1949-1974
Other Titles: 香港“非广州话”族群快速及大规模的语言转移 1949—1971
Authors: So, DWC
Lau, CF
Keywords: Cantonese
Language shift & maintenance
Urban bilingualism
Hong Kong & Chinese identity
Issue Date: Jan-2013
Publisher: Project on Linguistic Analysis
Source: Journal of Chinese linguistics, Jan. 2013, v. 41, no. 1, p. 21-51 How to cite?
Journal: Journal of Chinese linguistics 
Abstract: According to Tsou (1978), post-1949 Hong Kong has evolved from a multi-dialectal society to a Cantonese-speaking society, and that not only is the scale of the shift relatively big, its pace is also unusually fast. In addition there appears to be significant differences in the rate of shift among the four dialect groups identified in the study. However a validation of Tsou’s observations and a more precise estimation of the pace and scale of the shift have been hampered by (1) the inherent constraints of census data used by Tsou, (2) the loose and inconsistent use of dialect-group labels and (3) the absence of a direct study of the groups concerned. This paper reports the findings of our attempts to address these issues via documentary (census and historical) evidence, and a sociolinguistic survey conducted from 2005-07 among members of the groups concerned. Specifically, findings from our study of the documentary evidence largely corroborate Tsou’s observations as they indicate that (1) Cantonese-speakers’ share of the population increased from somewhere between 51.8% and 57.2% circa 1949 to 88.2% in 1971; (2) a significant differential rate in the groups’ shift to Cantonese is in evidence albeit the number of dialect groups involved should be seven instead of the aforementioned four. Findings of our sociolinguistic survey of six of the seven groups indicate that (1) bilingualism is in evidence among most immigrant (G-0) interviewees, suggesting the shift is already in progress among them; (2) the shift to Cantonese with the corresponding loss of native-tongue proficiency is relatively complete among most G-1 and G-2 interviewees but (3) there are sufficient difference in native-tongue retention among the groups to rank them according to this ability in descending order as follows: Weitou, Kejia, Minnan, Chaozhou, Siyi and Shanghainese. Moreover the survey data indicate that (4) the shift took place with a relative absence of linguism, and that (5) it might have been facilitated by an apparent multiplicity in the number of factors that the survey participants use to define their nationality. Initial analysis of the data also indicates that the groups’ settlement patterns might contribute to the differential rate of shift. It is further observed that Cantonese is not indigenous to Hong Kong, and that this shift may develop in tandem with the emergence of the Hong Kong identity. The shift may also be unique in the context of Modern China as it involves the replacement of the native tongues of both indigenous and immigrant populations by another non-indigenous dialect-group of the same nationality.
根据邹嘉彦(1978)的观察,香港在1949 年后,由一个多方言的社会,演变成为一个广州话为主的社会。这个演变的规模不仅较大,发展亦比较迅速。他同时认为他所研究的四个方言族群之间,方言转移的速度各有不同。但是如要考证邹氏这些观点,以及较准确评估这个转移的规模和步伐,则往往受到以下条件的限制:(1) 被邹氏大量采用的人口普查资料的内在局限,(2) 过往界定方言族群的标准以及标签比较宽松和不划一,(3) 对涉及的方言族群缺乏直接研究。为此,本文利用文献数据(人口普查及历史资料),以及一项在2005-2007 年间,对各个有关族群成员进行的社会语言学调查,重新探讨了这个课题。根据我们对文献数据的研究显示,邹氏的有关观察大致正确。我们同时观察到:(1)操广州话的人口,由1949 年前后的51.8%至57.2%之间,上升到1971 年的88.2%,(2)不同方言族群转移到广州话的速度有明显的差异,但涉及的族群数目,应该是七个而不是前述的四个。我们对七个有关族群中的六个进行了社会语言学调查,发现(1)大多数移民(G-0)受访者已经普遍操双语,显示转移早在他们这一代已经开始;(2) 广州话已经是大多数G-1 及G-2 的母语,他们亦同时失去用本族方言沟通的能力;但是(3) 各个族群对本族方言的保留能力,也有明显的差异,由强至弱的排列为:围头话、客家话、闽南话、潮州话、四邑话和上海话。此外,我们的研究资料显示,(4) 转移不受到语言中心主义的影响,而(5) 这可能是由于受访者界定个人身份时,母语只是其中的一个因素。另外初步的分析指出,转移的速度差异与族群的居住模式有关。我们同时强调广州话并非香港本土语言,并且认为这个转移与香港身份的浮现是同步衍生。这个转移牵涉到一个非本土的方言取代了同宗族的本土和非本土方言,成为地方的主要方言。我们相信同样的现象,不容易在现代中国其他地方找得到。
ISSN: 0091-3723
Rights: Copyright© 2013 by the Journal of Chinese Linguistics
Posted by permission of the publisher.
Appears in Collections:Journal/Magazine Article

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