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Title: Language contact : sociolinguistic context and linguistic outcomes
Authors: Li, DCS 
Keywords: Translanguaging
Translingual practice
Cantonese-English mixed code
Medium-of-learning effect
Plurilingual interaction
Multilingual society
Negotiation of identity
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Springer
Source: In DCS Li. Multilingual Hong Kong : languages, literacies and identities, p. 21-70. Cham: Springer, 2017 How to cite?
Series/Report no.: Multilingual education, v. 19
Abstract: In this chapter, we will first outline the sociolinguistic context of language contact between Hong Kong Cantonese, Standard Written Chinese (SWC) and English. Then we will exemplify the typical language contact phenomena in terms of salient patterns of linguistic outcomes, namely:
•Lexical borrowing or transference from SWC and English into Hong Kong Cantonese;
•Translanguaging in speech: more commonly at the intra-sentential level (traditionally termed ‘code-mixing’) than the inter-sentential level (code-switching); and
•Translanguaging in writing: written Chinese may range from formal Hong Kong Written Chinese (HKWC), where SWC has been infused with classical Chinese (wenyan) and Cantonese elements, to informal colloquial written Cantonese, which is modeled on the norms of speech, including the free insertion of English words.
The various linguistic outcomes of language contact exemplified in this chapter, first in speech then in writing, seek to demonstrate that all the languages and language varieties within a plurilingual’s linguistic repertoire are treated as a composite pool of semiotic resources to make meaning. Our focus is on the transference of English open-class words into Cantonese, including the use of terms of address mixed with the salutary expressions ‘Sir’ and ‘Madam’ among members of the Hong Kong disciplinary forces, and ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’ when referring to teachers in the education domain. By virtue of languages being closely bound up with specific sociocultural attributes, language choice invariably has the semiotic potential to symbolize or index speaker/writer identity. This is the basis for social motivation of translanguaging. In the absence of evidence of language choice being consciously motivated by a wish to signal and/or negotiate speaker/writer identity, translanguaging to English typically results from one or more of the following linguistic motivations: (a) to fill a lexical gap, (b) to avoid semantic incongruence, and (c) to use field-specific terms acquired through English-medium instruction, hence the medium-of-learning effect (MOLE).
ISBN: 978-3-319-44193-1 (print)
978-3-319-44195-5 (online)
ISSN: 2213-3208
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-44195-5_2
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