Lehrstuhl für Englische Sprachwissenschaft

Compiling a diachronic corpus of Hong Kong English (DC-HKE)

According to Schneider, Hong Kong English progressed from the phase of exonormative stabilization into the phase of nativisation in the 1960s (Schneider, 2007, p. 137) . However, with the socio-political changes since 1997 and the fact that the colony has never gained independence – which is a crucial event in the development of a post-colonial variety – it is possible that English in Hong Kong is now developing from a second-language variety to a foreign language (Görlach, 2002) . Thus, the emergence (and possible loss) of any variety-specific features can only be traced by analysing English in Hong Kong through time, for which a diachronic corpus is a necessary precondition. Corpus-linguistic analyses based on such a corpus provides empirical evidence for (or against) Schneider’s periodisation of the emergence of Hong Kong English as well as for more recent changes in its status and function.

The text categories selected for the DC-HKE match the corpus design of the LOB-family in order to facilitate comparative studies across varieties, with the numbers being target values.

For single text categories we will go beyond the targeted number of words and time periods. This is not only due to methodological challenges concerning the availability and quality of linguistic material for different text categories and periods, but also due to research interests within the scope of the larger Hong Kong project, which require more extensive data base (see Hong Kong Identity and Business Correpondence).


Prof. Dr. Carolin Biewer    
Dr. Ninja Schulz
Lisa Lehnen
Carina Stick
Aditya Upadhyaya

Cooperation partners

Prof. John Bacon-Shone (Hong Kong University Social Sciences Research Centre)
Prof. Kingsley Bolton


Guest lecture

Biewer, C. “Modalising Expressions and Ethnonyms in Hong Kong English: Tracing Diachronic Changes from 1928 to 2018 (from 1903 to 1999).” University of Zurich (UZH), April 10, 2019.

Poster presentation

Biewer, C. et al. “Compiling The Diachronic Corpus of Hong Kong English (DC-HKE): Motivation, progress and challenges.” 35th Annual Conference of the International Computer Archive of Modern and Medieval English (ICAME 35), University of Nottingham, April 30 - May 4, 2014.