Aspects of the morphosyntactic typology of Hong Kong English

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Abstract

English and Cantonese are the main two languages in contact in Hong Kong, together with some other minority Sinitic languages and a variety of Austronesian languages spoken by domestic helpers. Cantonese and English are typologically dissimilar in terms of word order, tense, mood and aspect marking, noun phrase structure, relative clause formation, the formation of interrogatives, and argument structure. Yet there is no work which systematically explores how these morphosyntactic typological differences are revealed in Hong Kong English (HKE). This paper explores how a typological perspective facilitates an analysis of the expression of finiteness in HKE, a significant feature because it subsumes a number of other typological facts. The analysis claims that HKE is a new English variety where the typology of the substrate is more directly responsible for the morphosyntactic features under analysis than the typology of the lexifier.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-169
Number of pages21
JournalEnglish World-Wide
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • hong kong english
  • finiteness
  • typology
  • ecology
  • feature pool

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