A Dictionary of Hong Kong English

Words from the Fragrant Harbor


Patrick J. Cummings and Hans-Georg Wolf

ISBN : 978-988-8083-30-5

Language, Linguistics, Reference

September 2011

320 pages, 4.5″ x 7.5″, 44 b&w illus.

  • HK$120.00
No longer available

This book is the first dictionary of Hong Kong English and one of the few non-native variety dictionaries of English. It includes only words and word senses that are particular to this variety or have a specific reference to Hong Kong, and thus contributes to legitimizing Hong Kong English as a variety in its own right. While the main focus is on contemporary language use, from all domains of Hong Kong life, historical terms and references are covered as well. Entries are designed according the state of the art in lexicography and show pronunciation, source language, frequency, authentic usage, and cultural conceptualizations. As additional features, the dictionary provides a brief history of Hong Kong English, a list of acronyms and abbreviations, historical place names and their current equivalents, words of Hong Kong origin now in international use, as well as further reference material.

Patrick J. Cummings has been teaching both English and science in Hong Kong for more than a decade. His current research interest is assessment vocabulary for second language learners of English. Hans-Georg Wolf is chair professor for Development and Variation of the English Language at Potsdam University, Germany. His research interests include sociolinguistics, cognitive linguistics, corpus linguistics, and pragmatics. Currently, his main focus lies on the application of cognitive sociolinguistics to the study of varieties of English.

“This guide to Hong Kong’s special brand of English is full of fascinating detail, presented in a highly accessible manner. There is something here for every kind of reader, from the visitor to Hong Kong seeking insight into typical Hong Kong forms of life, to the scholar investigating linguistic and cultural interaction in colonial and postcolonial societies. An indispensable resource for the understanding of Hong Kong’s complex linguistic heritage.” —Chris Hutton, Chair Professor, School of English, The University of Hong Kong

“This collection of several hundred English words with specific senses assigned to them by speakers of Hong Kong English (HKE) in the past few generations is a timely publication to inform the debate, whether HKE can be looked upon as an independent variety of English. The reader will find within its covers a long list of Hong Kong-specific English words and their commonly occurring variants, complete with frequently encountered acronyms, all succinctly explained and partly illustrated graphically with photos, illustrations and maps. The short historical background to and brief discussion of the status of HKE are also useful for understanding the origin of this emerging variety of English in arguably one of the politically and socioeconomically most dynamic regions in Asia.” —David C. S. Li, Professor, Department of English, The Hong Kong Institute of Education