HKJAL Vol 12(2)
Putonghua’s Spread in Hong Kong: Four Teachers’ Experiences of Learning the National Language as Adults
Sam F. Cole
Centre for Applied English Studies
University of Hong Kong
This study investigates the experiences of four Hong Kong learners of Pǔtōnghuà who did not begin learning the language until adulthood. The four informants teach Chinese and Pǔtōnghuà at local sub-degree granting tertiary institutions. Teachers from this background were chosen by the investigator because they are agents of the spread of Pǔtōnghuà and because a large number of Pǔtōnghuà teachers in Hong Kong learned the language as adults. Based on the analysis of qualitative interview data, the study illuminates three themes common to informants’ experiences: contact with Pǔtōnghuà, learning of Hànyǔ Pīnyīn and focus on phonological form, and attitudes about Pǔtōnghuà in teaching. By providing a thematic account of informants’ experiences of learning Pǔtōnghuà, this study paints a small part of the overall picture of the status and spread of China’s common language in Hong Kong.