U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Asia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-06-2018, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Honolulu
1,360 posts, read 548,404 times
Reputation: 1102

Advertisements

Actually there is sizable minority of non-Cantonese speaking students in Hong Kong's Public School system. They are principally the descendants of immigrants from South Asia. Some TV documentaries have interviewed them. Most of them can speak fluent Cantonese but have hard time to grasp the written characters.

The government is trying to cater to their needs by developing a unique language learning curriculum for them.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-06-2018, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,859 posts, read 3,422,274 times
Reputation: 1801
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian_Lee View Post
Actually there is sizable minority of non-Cantonese speaking students in Hong Kong's Public School system. They are principally the descendants of immigrants from South Asia. Some TV documentaries have interviewed them. Most of them can speak fluent Cantonese but have hard time to grasp the written characters.

The government is trying to cater to their needs by developing a unique language learning curriculum for them.
It's about time. I was actually aware of this way back in the early 2000's. The issue should not just be about South Asians or any one ethnic or linguistic group. Everyone in HK ought to have the right to a formal public education should they desire it. In the old British colonial days, it was hard to integrate children from different backgrounds because the societal boundaries of the day did not allow it. Those days are long past so I do not see why the HK Government should not try something bolder so that no ethnic group is left out. The SCMP article I posted mentions this but also points out that the government is still struggling to integrate minority ethnic groups into mainstream Hong Hong education. I was wondering what methods were they using as the article does not say.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2018, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,859 posts, read 3,422,274 times
Reputation: 1801
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
You don't see my point. I believe it is NOT the schools' responsibility to help these kids learn badic Cantonese. It is impossible.

In America all public schools use English to teach. You can't force the schools to teach baby English just because there are two new immigrants in school. It's the parents' responsibility, and the schools can offer some help.
I suppose you didn't even bother reading the SCMP article then because the body of it goes against your opinion. You might as well also tell me that the HK Government is wasting its precious time and money trying to better the education of less than 5% of Hong Kong's population who are probably looked down upon by the locals anyways. How would you like it if you were a non-Chinese living in HK who cannot afford to send your kids to private school? What if a parent wants their child to integrate with mainstream Hong Kong society? In the U.S. and Canada, a great many people value cultural integration which is why many bilingual programs are offered in public schools. Why can't Hong Kong or anywhere else in the world have the same thing?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-07-2018, 12:24 AM
 
6,726 posts, read 6,609,353 times
Reputation: 2386
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
I suppose you didn't even bother reading the SCMP article then because the body of it goes against your opinion. You might as well also tell me that the HK Government is wasting its precious time and money trying to better the education of less than 5% of Hong Kong's population who are probably looked down upon by the locals anyways. How would you like it if you were a non-Chinese living in HK who cannot afford to send your kids to private school? What if a parent wants their child to integrate with mainstream Hong Kong society? In the U.S. and Canada, a great many people value cultural integration which is why many bilingual programs are offered in public schools. Why can't Hong Kong or anywhere else in the world have the same thing?
First of all, Hong Kong is not a typical immigration destination, unlike North America or Australia.
If they cannot afford private schools, and do not bother to let their children learn Cantonese in kindergarten (or alike), and do not want to seek external resources out of school, Hong Kong government should do their best to prevent such immigrants.

Secondly, their own community should do some work. They can organize weekend schools, etc. Many Chinese American communities have such programs.

In Asia, schools cover much more materials and have much faster paces than those in America. The curriculum is often standardized, too. American schools can let some children slow down and make progress in their own way, but in Asia it does not work that way. All students are supposed to take the same classes and pass the same exams.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-07-2018, 01:21 AM
 
1,099 posts, read 1,670,472 times
Reputation: 971
The article says a lot about what's wrong. It's just allocated a budget and that's about it. There's no official curriculum, no guidance, with the schools just providing a teacher, students and a classroom. My guess is that teachers just gets paid and basically just teach whatever they've taught in the regular class for native Cantonese-speaking students with nary a care of what the needs of the students or if the students even learned anything at all from attending that class. There is no attempt to improve anything, and if the regular class does not teach Jyutping or other romanization tools, then the teacher will not bother to do it in these special classes as well.


Hong Kong faces these challenges because Cantonese is not exactly a language that people without any Chinese background would like to learn. And resources on how to teach it to these minority groups are much more limited. As it is also possible to get a college degree entirely in English in Hong Kong, the importance of Cantonese might also not be perceived as essential by a lot of people.


The brighter side is that the problem has been identified and it has been given a budget. Not sure how much of this is from the local HK government or from Beijing. But trying to get some people from mainland China to even acknowledge that there is even such a problem can be a very daunting task.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-07-2018, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,859 posts, read 3,422,274 times
Reputation: 1801
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
The article says a lot about what's wrong. It's just allocated a budget and that's about it. There's no official curriculum, no guidance, with the schools just providing a teacher, students and a classroom. My guess is that teachers just gets paid and basically just teach whatever they've taught in the regular class for native Cantonese-speaking students with nary a care of what the needs of the students or if the students even learned anything at all from attending that class. There is no attempt to improve anything, and if the regular class does not teach Jyutping or other romanization tools, then the teacher will not bother to do it in these special classes as well.


Hong Kong faces these challenges because Cantonese is not exactly a language that people without any Chinese background would like to learn. And resources on how to teach it to these minority groups are much more limited. As it is also possible to get a college degree entirely in English in Hong Kong, the importance of Cantonese might also not be perceived as essential by a lot of people.


The brighter side is that the problem has been identified and it has been given a budget. Not sure how much of this is from the local HK government or from Beijing. But trying to get some people from mainland China to even acknowledge that there is even such a problem can be a very daunting task.
Thank you. This was the type of answer I was looking for and what you said was a lot. I agree that Cantonese can be a hard language for non-native speakers to learn and it is often an overlooked language. Cantonese romanization systems such as Jyutping or Yale are even less known even by native speakers and whoever that hasn't learned any romanization system would not be able to teach using such a system. Had it not been for organizations such as the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK) and the Yale China Chinese Language Centre, Cantonese romanization might never have been extensively researched and taught but those organizations only have limited resources and can only do so much for Hong Kong's society.

Also now that you mentioned it, ethnic minorities were looked down at for practically all of Hong Kong's history, even after the 1997 Handover. I remember reading articles interviewing long time South Asian HK residents bitterly complaining that the new government refused to grant them citizenship just because they were not ethnic Chinese. In fact, if I can recall, it was not until 2002 when the first non-Chinese HK resident was granted citizenship. It's almost as if the HK government and even much of Hong Kong's society at that time didn't care about these ethnic minorities and didn't care if they integrated or not. Well I'm also glad that the government has identified that such problems do exist and is taking steps to rectify them but yeah you're right that the road is still bumpy ahead and will take much time to rectify.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-07-2018, 08:00 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,756 posts, read 70,607,687 times
Reputation: 76724
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
Yes and how about foreign students? We are not talking about China (pardon me, I know HK is part of China but I mean Mainland China) or native Chinese speakers here. The article was talking about non-native speakers of Cantonese Chinese. Even if the foreigners and especially Westerners were learning Mandarin, they would need some help with pronunciation by learning Pinyin. Believe me, I studied four years of Mandarin in an American high school and took Cantonese lessons using the Yale System while studying abroad in Hong Kong years ago. Romanization is very helpful for foreigners unfamiliar with the tonal systems of Chinese languages.
No, they wouldn't. Why would they? They learn pronunciation from listening to their teacher, and if that isn't enough, their school or online program, or whatever, usually has discs that go through the lesson material, pronouncing vocabulary, and the reading lesson.

I had 3 years of university Mandarin, and didn't need any pinyin. Maybe students who don't have a good ear for language might need a crutch like that?? But I didn't notice anyone else in my classes having a problem. A friend of mine too years to master the tones, but she had to problem learning the words without pinyin.

So I'm not following you, OP. Foreigners only need pinyin if they're using materials that don't teach characters. There are such textbooks around.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-07-2018, 08:59 PM
 
1,099 posts, read 1,670,472 times
Reputation: 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
No, they wouldn't. Why would they? They learn pronunciation from listening to their teacher, and if that isn't enough, their school or online program, or whatever, usually has discs that go through the lesson material, pronouncing vocabulary, and the reading lesson.

I had 3 years of university Mandarin, and didn't need any pinyin. Maybe students who don't have a good ear for language might need a crutch like that?? But I didn't notice anyone else in my classes having a problem. A friend of mine too years to master the tones, but she had to problem learning the words without pinyin.

So I'm not following you, OP. Foreigners only need pinyin if they're using materials that don't teach characters. There are such textbooks around.

Students of Mandarin will certainly need pinyin, as that is the quickest way of taking note of how the characters are pronounced and as it uses the Latin alphabet, easy for most foreigners. It's very odd that you went to 3 years of Mandarin and didn't use any pinyin, unless you studied using the Taiwanese curriculum and learned bopomofo (aka zhuyin fuhao) instead. But bopomofo is an added burden of memorizing another set of characters again.

Even children in China learn pinyin and children in Taiwan learn bopomofo as that is the easiest way they can look up characters in a dictionary and learn its proper pronunciation and/or meaning. No, pinyin or any pronunciation guide is not a crutch but rather an essential part of learning the language properly.

Materials with only characters and no Pinyin or bopomofo whatsoever certainly exist. In fact, that's the most common reading material available. But hardly any modern beginner Chinese materials exist without any kind of pronunciation guide. The older generation of Chinese did learn it without any pinyin or bopomofo, and people relied more on the teacher. The few dictionaries available during that era used a system called fanqie, but a lot of people didn't have dictionaries or know fanqie either. I have to question what Chinese language program avoids pinyin and for what reason.

Last edited by GoldenTiger; 06-07-2018 at 09:33 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-08-2018, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Honolulu
1,360 posts, read 548,404 times
Reputation: 1102
Actually the minority has been in Hong Kong longer than many Chinese did. Some came as early as 1840s -- right after Qing Empire ceded Hong Kong to Britain.

Some are very rich. For example, the Harilela family, who owns the Hyatt Hotel, is from India. Many Sindhi, people who live in Northwestern India, moved to the territory a long long time ago. The Kadoorie family, who were Jewish migrants from then British ruled Iraq, owns the largest utility company in the City.

Of course, the majority are very poor. But actually many of their second, third, fourth generation can speak Cantonese. Most of them even speak more fluent Cantonese than those recent new immigrants from Mainland China outside the Pearl River Delta.

The hardest part for them is to handle written Chinese.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-08-2018, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,859 posts, read 3,422,274 times
Reputation: 1801
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
No, they wouldn't. Why would they? They learn pronunciation from listening to their teacher, and if that isn't enough, their school or online program, or whatever, usually has discs that go through the lesson material, pronouncing vocabulary, and the reading lesson.

I had 3 years of university Mandarin, and didn't need any pinyin. Maybe students who don't have a good ear for language might need a crutch like that?? But I didn't notice anyone else in my classes having a problem. A friend of mine too years to master the tones, but she had to problem learning the words without pinyin.

So I'm not following you, OP. Foreigners only need pinyin if they're using materials that don't teach characters. There are such textbooks around.
I must be old then. I was in high school in the 1990's when I learned Mandarin and we started off with Hanyu Pinyin right off the bat even before learning how to read and write characters. We were working class students in a public high school; the school normally would not expect us to spend money on expensive CDs, tapes, etc. There was no Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone, or any of that nonsense required. We did have a language lab where we taped oral lessons to listen and repeat over and over again but other than that, learning Mandarin required the understanding and mastery of the four tones and that meant you had to learn pinyin. The same goes with using Cantonese Yale or Jyutping to learn Cantonese, it is all about the tones which are foreign to foreigners. Yes to native Chinese the tones are understandable without romanization which is why they don't need romanization to master any form of Chinese and yes Hanyu Pinyin is a crutch like training wheels on a bicycle that eventually have to be discarded but again we're talking about persons of other ethnicities here learning Cantonese from the start. It's great if you learned Chinese without the aid of romanization but not everyone can do that easily.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Asia
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top