The Feasibility of Implementing Standard Chinese Characters in Hong Kong

Abstract

As the outcome of the reform of Chinese characters in China during the 1950s, the system of Standard (Simplified) Chinese characters had established its international status and is one of the official languages of the United Nations. However, the conventional use of Traditional Chinese characters in Hong Kong has never been affected, not even after the return of sovereignty to China in 1997. While China has had the vision of unifying written Chinese, the apparent direction is not toward resuming the use of Traditional Chinese characters. As the contacts of people between China and Hong Kong get more frequent, will Hong Kong go after China adopting Standard Chinese characters in conventional use?
Ever since the colonial days, the use of the Chinese language in Hong Kong has been rather flexible; the government has made no attempt toward standardization. In the community, people’s primary consideration is on the communicative function, whether the written texts are in the standard forms or just some popular forms is not much a concern. Whenever accuracy of a script is considered, the traditional form is the basis of judgment. This all- encompassing, practical attitude toward written scripts not only does no harm to the latter’s communicative function, but also facilitates the passing down of cultural traditions.
This paper is an analysis of the future development of the use of Chinese characters in Hong Kong, in particular, the feasibility of adopting Standard Chinese characters.



Author Information
Chi Hung Chan, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2013
Stream: Arts & Humanities

This paper is part of the ACAH2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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