Hong Kong English
Hong Kong is located in the South of China but it used to be a British colony until 1997. Therefore it has a lot of interesting culture and characteristics. People who lives in Hong Kong are known as Hongkies. They have their unique English names and the English spoken by most of the Hongkies has a special accent. Hongkies have also invented some English vocabularies which only people from Hong Kong or those speak Cantonese can understand their meanings. These English vocabularies are know as Hong Kong English, it is similar to Chinglish, the only difference is Mandarin and Cantonese.
The grammar problem in Hong Kong English is similar to Chinglish, Singlish and Engrish. As Hong Kong is a Cantonese-speaking society, Cantonese has a different structure as English or even Chinese, so when Hongkies try to direct translate Cantonese into English, there will be a lot of grammatical mistakes. The following are some examples.
- My grandma visited last week and I cooked her. (I cooked for her)
- Today's job is very busy. (It's a busy day)
- My English too bad because I little talk. (My English is bad because i barely talk)
- We received a complaining letter this morning. (a complaint letter)
- I'm so boring. (I'm bored)
Education in Hong Kong is more focusing on memorizing than understanding, such as memorize tense, grammar or vocabulary, some people even memorize the pronunciation from teachers instead. Also because Cantonese has no structure of diphthong + consonant, so the accent of Hong Kong English may lead to some misunderstanding. The following are some examples.
- Dead girl is pretty. (That girl is pretty)
- No one John? (no one join?)
- Try your breast. (try your best)
Hongkies also like to use 'la', 'wor', 'ah', 'ma' these kind of words within the sentence.
- Let's go shopping la!
- I'm off on Friday ah.
- But I got a appointment wor.
Hong Kong Vocabulary
Hongkies have invented some very interesting English vocabularies. The following are some very popular and common ones, along with their meaning in English.
This word can be use as a verb. It comes from the word hang around. But it's usually been use to describe lounge around without any purpose.
e.g. Where do we go to hea ah?
This word can be use as a noun or adjective. It is a proper English word, but in Hong Kong English its meaning has been slightly twisted. When it's used as a noun it still means a sick joke. But when it's used as a adjective, it means that the object/person is funny but in a negative way or dodgy.
e.g. He's becoming more gag than before la.
This word can be use as a noun. It is directly translated from Cantonese. It means someone is talking a lot but non-sense or it's content is meaningless.
e.g. I blow water with my colleague the whole afternoon and did nothing related to work.
This word can be use as a adjective. It is directly translated from Cantonese. It means someone did something embarrassing.
e.g. I asked for change after I gave the cashier the exact amount. I was so fish skin lor.
This word can be use as a verb. It is directly translated from Cantonese. Only male can use this word due to its meaning. It means to hook up with some random girls.
e.g. Let's go to pub and cut girls tonight!
note: There is also a noun related to this vocabulary.
The King of cutting girl
This means someone is very successful in hooking up with girls.