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An Investigation of a Language Profile of a Mother-Tongue Mandarin-Speaking Graduate Student from English Major in Hong Kong

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1. Introduction As 50% or more of the world’s towns and cities are bilingual or multilingual communities (Pennington et al. 1992), quantities of research studies have been carried out on language behavior or choice of a certain ethnic group in a bilingual or multilingual community. This research focuses on the language behavior of a mother-tongue Mandarin speaker who is having graduate study in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a typical metropolis immersed in multilingualism, since there are considerably diverse ethnic groups in this area (2011 Census Office, 2012). According to the report of 2011 Census Office (2012), the number of mother-tongue Standard Mandarin (hereafter, Mandarin) speakers in Hong Kong has displayed an increase in the…show more content…
Though there has been a much wider tolerance of Mandarin speaking in different contexts in Hong Kong (Chen, 2012), Mandarin speakers experience language alternation in this triglossic community. Many studies have been conducted to examine the language behavior of a specific ethnic group. Gibbons (1987) and Pennington et al. (1992) carried out empirical studies on investigating code-switching and code-mixing of HongKongers in different communicative contexts in Hong Kong and their attitudes towards language alternation. Pannu (1994) focused her research on Indian ethnic group in Hong Kong, which explored their language repertoire and perception of their language use. As Pennington et al. (1992, p.3) described, the ultimate goal of those investigations is “to model language choice” of different groups in Hong Kong by presenting their language use. As previously demonstrated, mainland Chinese students have taken up the major proportion of non-local tertiary students in Hong Kong, and it will probably be an evitable tendency in the following years (Yeung, 2012). Nonetheless, little study has been undertaken to shed light on language profile around sociolinguistic question of “who speaks what language to whom, when, where and why” (Fishman, 1972) on mother-tongue
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