I think this is a really exciting initiative. First, it taps into, and puts on display, the emerging multiethnic and polyglot nature of contemporary Hong Kong – something that is not part of everyone’s typical picture of Hong Kong, but which is of growing importance for all sorts of social, economic, cultural and educational reasons. Second, it is a great example of how linguists can bring the notion of ‘the field’ right into the heart of modern cosmopolitan cities, which shelter an increasing fraction of the world’s linguistic diversity. And third, I think getting students to post their research work as part of a collective and evolving website is an incredibly motivating way of seeing why what they do is important and of wider appeal, and of encouraging them to do original and socially relevant research.
~ Professor Nicholas Evans, Head, School of Culture, History and Language, Australian National University. Prof Evans who also delivered the M.B. Lee Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities at HKU in 2013 speaking on linguistic diversity and language endangerment.
I was delighted to see the website produced by your project on linguistic minorities in Hong Kong. With its attractive presentation embedded media files, the site is ideally suited to the internet generation, many of whom belong ancestrally to such minorities but often retain limited linguistic and cultural knowledge. It is especially gratifying to see how the website incorporates student projects such as the study of Tanka people by Ho Wing Lun and her team, so that their work has lasting value. The site will help the public to recognize the language diversity of the Hong Kong community and the educational needs of minorities. At the same time, it effectively uses the case of Hong Kong to draw attention to the wider picture of language loss and dwindling linguistic diversity around the world.
~ Professor Stephen Matthews, Professor, Linguistics, School of Humanities, HKU
I lived in North Point for many years but didn’t even realise it was home to a Hokkien community until I saw a reference to it on your site. I also appreciated the link to The Minority of Minority project: the tiny Hakka village in Tuen Mun sounds fascinating because of the comprehensive language shift that has taken place there.
How wonderful that work is being done to document Hong Kong’s linguistic minorities such as those above. Raising awareness about these communities and others is an important step towards understanding the SAR’s cultural make-up, how different groups interact and policies regarding language and education.
[…] At the newspaper for which I work we always try to inform readers about what makes Hong Kong tick. Knowledge of its linguistic diversity certainly adds to that understanding.
~ Ms Charmaine Chan, Journalist, South China Morning Post, HK
It is wonderful to see an informed and serious initiative on Hong Kong’s linguistic minorities, and an attempt broadly to understand and communicate the city’s growing diversity. And this diversity is quite considerable–both outside and, importantly, within the Chinese-speaking communities. Initiatives such as this will undoubtedly encourage the process of cross-cultural and linguistic understanding, and help frame policy too, which at present is nascent and inadequate.
~ Mr Charles Goddard, Editorial Director, Asia-Pacific, The Economist Intelligence Unit
As someone who has been involved with teaching for many years I think resources like “linguistic minorities” are vital if young people and the public at large are to understand the rich diversity of culture that we have here in Hong Kong. I strongly feel that people with an awareness of a minority language also develop an awareness of a minority culture and as such become more tolerant of others and gain a deeper understanding of the world. The website fosters this kind of understanding in a way that is easily accessible and fun to use. I particularly like the video content and the range of article entries on the welcome screen. I am also impressed with the depth of the resources and look forward to following the site in the future!
~ Ms Kemmiss Pun, Director and Senior Education Consultant, iLearner, HK, www.i-learner.com.hk