Phonological Changes in Cantonese-English Code-Mixing for ESL Learners in Hong Kong and Their Attitudes Toward Code-Mixing


Tzi Dong Ng, Hsueh Chu Chen

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The purposes of this study were (a) to identify how ESL learners make phonological changes in English words in a code-mixing context; and (b) to examine ESL learners’ attitudes toward Cantonese-accented English and code-mixing in the classroom setting. Two groups of learners with high proficiency (HP) and mid-level proficiency (MP) were recruited to participate in the research. A specially designed codemixed script, an English translated version, and a list of isolated English words served as the tasks for collecting phonological data. A questionnaire survey was then used to examine participants’ opinions on code-mixing and its effects on pronunciation learning. The results showed that HP and MP learners pronounced numerous words similarly in a Cantonese-accented manner; however, MP learners were less likely to switch back to the correct pronunciation when the context of code-mixing was changed to pure English or when given a list of isolated English words. The survey results found that MP learners tended to be slightly more positive toward Cantonese-accented English and the use of a mixed code in English as a medium of instruction classrooms. Nonetheless, the use of code-mixing was less preferred in English lessons for learners of both groups. More HP learners considered Cantonese-accented English as a symbol of identity as Hongkongers than MP learners.


 Literature Review
  Cantonese-Accented English in Hong Kong
  Phonological Changes in Code-Mixing
  Attitudes Toward Code-Mixing and Its Effects on Pronunciation
  Instruments and Procedures
 Results and Discussion
  Phonological Features in Code-Mixing
  Survey Results on Attitudes Toward Code-Mixing
  Phonological Changes in Different Contexts in Relation to Proficiency
  Implications for Teaching
  English Proficiency
  Attitudes Toward Code-Mixing in Relation to Proficiency
 The Authors
 Appendix A
 Appendix B
 Appendix C


  • Tzi Dong Ng The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Hsueh Chu Chen The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


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