Analyzing Hong Kong English in Computer-mediated Communication: texts from Blogging
Tam, King Man
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This paper examines the linguistic features in blogging (a kind of text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC)) written by Hong Kong people. There are two parts of analysis concerning the notion of Hong Kong English (HKE). Part 1 is based on a collection of 1413 online personal journals in blogging written by 20 Hong Kong adolescents. The use of English is revealed with respect to the overall language distribution in blogging. It is found that the bloggers have followed the language trend in Hong Kong and have used code-switching most frequently. Part 2 is based on a corpus of 15,892-word English online personal journals, collected selectively from the samples in Part 1. Some specific features of Hong Kong English are identified, which include the topicalisation of other categories rather than subjects; omitting the inflection and overgeneralizing some inflection markings; and using CMC features such as creative Romanised Cantonese and direct transliteration. Having compared those features in blogging with those in two other genres including online instant messaging and daily conversations, it is suggested that some distinct structures of Hong Kong English are used intentionally for functional reasons in the context of blogging. And, Hong Kong people actually have the ability to vary the selection of certain HKE features according to the communicative purposes across different genres.