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    Phonological Variation of Hong Kong English Essay

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    Variation 4: No distinction between long vowels and short vowels According to Tony(World Englishes, 2000: 338),researchers Bolton and Kwok (1990) have identified that HKE has a simpler vowel system than RP by subjective hearing and that some of the vowel contrasts in the British RP are neutralized. In other words, RP has a more complex vowel system than HKE, which again is the result of the influence of Cantonese, the mother-tongue of HKE speakers. Taking the scale of this research into consideration, we are not likely to conduct a spectrographic analysis to justify the subjective perception.

    However, the academic sources and previous research which researchers have read prove the validity of this variation. Researchers also recognize that this is also a common feature of Asian English speakers, like variation three. Long vowel duration is not part of their native language phonological system, hence no distinction between long vowels and short vowels. This variation is exemplified by the following data. The shorter duration of certain vowels could lead to offence or impoliteness, such as “sheet” is pronounced as “shit”, “beach” is pronounced as “bitch”. Examples Received Pronunciation.

    Hong Kong English My parents and ‘me’ /mi:/ /mi/ ‘Tea’ and coffee? /ti:/ /ti/ That’s a beach / bi? t? / / bit? / ‘Beat’ eggs in the bowl /bi:t/ /bit/ Take that sheet / ? i? t / / ? it / Conclusion As is stated in the introduction, many phonological variations exist between speakers of Hong Kong English and Received Pronunciation. This report elaborates four of the most noticeable characteristics of HKE, which are:  Pronouncing Interdental-fricative/? / as labio-dental fricative /f/  Pronouncing voiced interdental-fricative / i?? / as alveolar plosive /d/ or voiceless interdental-fricative /?.

    Pronouncing voiced palato-alveolar /? / as voiceless palato-alveolar/s/: occasion( occacion) * No distinction between long vowels and short vowels Data are collected by the means of question-answer interviews and insufficient in terms of scope. Researchers make efforts to minimize the negative effects of the limitation by referring to academic sources and transcribing from everyday communication. Analysis of four of the most salient features reveals that Cantonese phonological system is reflective in HKE, that is, HKE displays some of phonemes in Cantonese, which makes HKE vary from RP.

    Other than this, even though some of the speakers of HKE realize that variations exist, they admit that it is out of their convenience, hence preserving them. Furthermore, certain variations may result in misunderstandings, offence or impoliteness.

    Some of the features in HKE are also typical of Asian English varieties and the reference of HKE which may facilitate the study of these varieties. At last, more advanced research and in-depth study are highly recommended to be conducted to analyze Hong Kong English. Books.

    Crystal, D 1995, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Melchers, G. and Shaw, P 2003, World Englishes: An Introduction, Arnold Publishers, London. George, Y 2000, The Study of Language, Second edition, Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, Beijing. Hung, T. T. N 2000, “Towards a phonology of Hong Kong English”, World Englishes, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp 337-56. Internet Sources Youtube (Andrew Chu – TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong – English Stand up comedy, 8 January, 2009), viewed 16 May 2009 ;http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=o5m16E9xdDI;.

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