The issue of representativeness in Hong Kong English
Few scholars have addressed the issue in specific terms of what constitutes representativeness among the users of a new English variety. Some recommend “educated users” be employed, and others recommend “expert users.” However, few define who these speakers are. Researchers, in turn, have made different or even conflicting assumptions, and often take for granted the representativeness of users or samples they have chosen for analysis, which sometimes even leads to differences in results. This article deals with the issue of representativeness among users, specifically of Hong Kong English (HKE), and discusses several related issues. It recommends that a wider range of users be utilized for research purposes, beginning with first-year university students, and also that different kinds of studies may require targeting different groups of users. In addition, Schneider’s framework for the development of post-colonial Englishes has important implications for research into HKE in terms of the kind of individual variation to be expected at the beginning of phase 3 (nativization), and future research directions. In the future, more research into HKE needs to be focussed on the key area of lexico-grammatical features.
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Groves, J. M. (2012). The issue of representativeness in Hong Kong English. Asian Englishes, 15(1), 28-45. doi: 10.1080/13488678.2012.10801318