Date of Award


Degree Type

UG Dissertation (Restricted)



First Advisor

Assistant Professor, FU Baoning


This paper investigates folk transcription and examines the possible link between this transcription method and the pronunciation of Hong Kong English (HKE). Folk transcription refers to the way in which second language learners transcribe words of the target language with their mother tongue knowledge. Instead of transcribing the words with standard transcription method such as the International Phonetic Symbols (IPA), the learners create their own forms to represent the pronunciation of the target words. In particular, folk transcription in Hong Kong refers to the combinations of Chinese characters, English spellings and other symbols. It is a common practice among the majority of Hong Kong students in approximating English pronunciation. A research is conducted in order to examine the link between folk transcription and HKE pronunciation. This research is divided into two parts. The first one is a written test where the subjects are asked to transcribe a list of English test words with folk transcription. The second part is an oral test. The subjects are asked to pronounce the test words after they have completed the written test. The collected data reflect the typical characteristics of HKE pronunciation. This suggests that folk transcription and HKE pronunciation is correlated with each other. This transcription method affects the subjects in transcribing the given English test words. At the same time, folk transcription to a certain extent reinforces the subjects' pronunciation errors. Although some subjects do speak with a good English accent that differs considerably from their transcription, the impact of folk transcription on their pronunciation is still discernable.

Recommended Citation

Yam, C. Y. P. (2003). Folk transcription and the pronunciation of Hong Kong English (UG dissertation, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from