Language use as a carrier of social identity

Yuk-yue Tong, Ying-yi Hong, Sau-lai Lee, Chi-yue Chiu

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64 Citations (Scopus)
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In the present study, we examined the relationship of social identity (Hongkonger or Chinese) and the attitudes toward bilingual code switching in a conversation between a Hong Kong person and a Chinese Mainlander. Students from a local university in Hong Kong (N = 159) listened to a four-turn conversation between a Hong Kong person and a Mainlander in a wedding party. As expected, when the speaker converged to the Putonghua (the Mainland official language), those who claimed a Hongkonger identity judged the Hong Kong speaker less favourably than did those who claimed a Chinese identity. In addition, participants who claimed a Chinese identity judged the Hong Kong speaker more favourably when he converged to Putonghua than when he maintained Cantonese (a Chinese dialect most commonly used in Hong Kong). Finally, social identity was unrelated to language attitudes when the Mainland speaker converged to Cantonese first.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-296
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1999

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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