The language in Hong Kong |

The language in Hong Kong

The 2 main languages used in Hong Kong are English and Chinese.

Posted on

19 March 2014

Last updated on 28 June 2017
The language in Hong Kong

There are two official languages in Hong Kong, namely English and Chinese. English is taught in schools from the early years, so most residents speak it, albeit with an accent and different pronunciations. Chinese (Cantonese) is also taught as a second language in English speaking schools.

Hong Kong language

Expats in Hong Kong will find it easy to get around. All the street signs and official documents are written in English and Cantonese, and most police officers and government officials are required to speak English. Hence communication in Hong Kong is easy.
Chinese and English

Historically, English was the sole official language of Hong Kong from 1883 to 1974. Only after demonstrations and petitions from Hong Kong people demanding equal status for Chinese, did Chinese become the other official language in Hong Kong from 1974 onward. In March 1987, the Official Languages Ordinance was amended to require all new legislation to be enacted bilingually in both English and Chinese. In 1990, the Hong Kong Basic Law declared English's co-official language status with Chinese after the 1997 handover.

Government language policy

After the handover, the government of Hong Kong adopted the "biliterate and trilingual" (兩文三語) policy. Under this policy, both Chinese and English are acknowledged as official languages; with Cantonese being acknowledged as the de facto official spoken variety of Chinese in Hong Kong, while also accepting Mandarin.