Since the Second World War, Hong Kong has been one of the highest migration-rate territories in the world, both in percentage terms and absolute numbers. More than six million people have settled inside its borders and, in the process, maintained use of over fifteen statistically significant languages. The Multilingual Hong Kong series, by showcasing this port city’s rapidly-evolving communication landscape, explores the undeniable dependencies between life and language through topics such as education, entertainment, prejudice, politics, identities, and ideologies.

The concept for this series was originally born of a desire to help raise sociolinguistic awareness among the people of Hong Kong, but early in the test screening process we discovered that the material resonated across age, sex, ethnicity, nationality, social class, and professional background. Perhaps this shouldn't have surprised us, though, because the world is nothing if not multilingual. Sarah G. Thomason, renown historical linguist at the University of Michigan, affirms that "Not only are there multilingual citizens in every nation, but there are different language communities in every nation, even when (as in the U.S.) one language community is dominant." So, while it is true that the series is centered around Hong Kong, the social and linguistic issues explored are by no means confined to its geographical boundaries. Our hope is that, no matter who sees our work, they will walk away with a new understanding of the multilingual, or even monolingual, communities which they are most familiar with.

 

 
 

© 2005-2007 Katherine Chen and Gray Carper