I just returned from Hong Kong last night. One of the strongest impressions I bring back from this visit is that the city is becoming even more multilingual than it was in the past. Hong Kong is a global center of finance and business. The number of different languages one hears being spoken on the streets, in restaurants, on buses and trains is simply astonishing. The government has an official policy of three languages (Cantonese, English, and Mandarin) and two scripts (Chinese characters and the Roman alphabet), as discussed in these and other Language Log posts:
- "Cantonese and Mandarin are two different languages " (9/25/15)
- "Hong Kong Multilingualism and Polyscriptalism " (7/26/10)
- "Is Cantonese a language, or a personification of the devil? " (2/9/14)
But the situation has become far more fluid and complex than that.