Changing intergroup relations with Mainland Chinese: An analysis of changes in Hong Kong movies as a popular cultural discourse

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    Hong Kong popular culture played an important role in the construction and consolidation of Hong Kong identity long before the handover to China. In the past few years leading up to the 10th anniversary of the handover, both Hong Kong and China have undergone numerous changes which seem to be changing their relations. Whilst Hong Kong people had tended to distance and distinguish themselves from China and Mainland Chinese in pre-handover times, they now tend to feel closer to their motherland and their relations with Mainland Chinese also seem to be changing. These transformations can be exemplified by Hong Kong popular culture such as TV programs and films which have been studied in various disciplines. In particular, literature on Hong Kong movies can be found in fields such as film and cultural studies, semiotics and sociology. While language use in the Hong Kong cinema is regarded as one of the unique features that contributed to the formation of local Hong Kong identity (Teo, Senses of Cinema, 2000), the patterns of language use of characters in these films have been largely unexplored. Based on an analysis of film extracts from Hong Kong films, this study examines and compares the Hong Kongers' perceptions of their intergroup relations with Mainland Chinese from an applied linguistic perspective. In doing so, it analyses Hong Kongers' attitudes towards Mandarin before and after the handover to China in 1997 as reflected in the language exchange between Hong Kongers and mainlanders portrayed in film interactions. Findings indicate that Mandarin is becoming a dominant language, and the intergroup differences between Hong Kongers and Mainland Chinese are less emphasised.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-53
    JournalMultilingua - Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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