Chiuchownese in Hong Kong

“You don’t look like you are from here.” “Oh! I am half English, half Chinese.” “Oh, me too, I am half Chiuchownese, half Hakkanese!”
This is apparently a JOKE, but nowadays do many still refer themselves by their ancestral origin in Hong Kong? Seeing Chiuchow as one of the most prominent Chinese dialects remaining in Hong Kong, our group is interested in studying how Chiuchownese of different age groups use their dialect in different contexts and also how they identify themselves in Hong Kong. Moreover, we would want to find out whether there is a relationship between their identities and the usage of the local dialect. Last but not least, we also want to address the problem of language endangerment, finding out whether Chiuchownese in Hong Kong are aware that their local dialect is being spoken by less and less and how they see this issue.
 The dialect in Hong Kong

Chiuchownese (or Chiuchaunese) is one of the most influential dialects in Hong Kong as the dialect is spoken by many Hong Kong people. There are more than a million Chiuchownese in Hong Kong, making up approximately one sixth of the total population. Most of these Chiuchownese were born and raised in Hong Kong as their ancestors had migrated to Hong Kong earlier, hoping for a better living. The Chiuchow dialect has been used for more than a thousand years and it is a member of the Southern Min or Min Nan dialect group. Some Chiuchow elements can also be found in Cantonese, for example many Hong Kong people use the Chiuchownese term “架己冷(ka-kī-lâng) to refer to “us” in Cantonese. It is observed that more Chiuchownese in Hong Kong only know how to speak Cantonese and it is especially evident among the young generation.

Chiuchownese had started to settle in Hong Kong since the 19th century and most of them settled in Kowloon City. A lot of traditional Chiuchownese restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores can be found in Kowloon City. The Chiuchow community also contributes a lot to Hong Kong economy as there are many successful Chiuchownese businessmen in Hong Kong.





LCOM3001 Cultural dimensions of language and communication

Instructor: Dr Lisa Lim

Student: Beattie Cho
              Rachel Chan
              Sharon Chan