Bilingualism in teaching English

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Bilingualism in teaching English

Introduction
Hong Kong is an officially bilingual territory. It is primarily a Cantonese speaking region, although it had been a British colony for over 150 years. About 98% of its population is virtually speakers of Chinese. However, English becomes more important as it is an international language and the official language in most countries. There has been a growing concern within the community over the need for a more concerted approach to improving the language competencies of our students to ensure that Hong Kong remains a truly cosmopolitan city.

Because of the historical background, HK use bilingualism to conduct teaching, which means both Chinese and English. According to the subject targets by Education department of English Language Curriculum Guide of EDB, we need to develop their English Language proficiency, enhance their personal and intellectual development and extend their understanding of other cultures through English. In order to fulfill the requirement of EDB, teachers are guided to teach them languages under different policy so as to enrich students’ language learning.

In the process of learning language, different situations happen during language acquisition. Some students may learn better while some cannot handle at all. Actually, there are four types of bilingualism that occur during language acquisition. They are additive, subtractive, replacive and preparatory.

Additive bilingualism means learner can have ability to use both mother tongue and second language well with balance without any loss in proficiency in either one language. Subtractive bilingualism takes place when the mother tongue is gradually lost or submerged as the learner is in a situation where the mother tongue is not used at all and learner is failing in L2 instruction. Learner fails in handling both languages.
In replacive bilingualism the learner has done well in L2 but loses competence in L1 as a result. In



References: Bauer, R.S. (1984). The Hong Kong Cantonese speech community. Language Learning and Communication, 3(3), 243-414. Curriculum Development Council (2004) CDC English Language Curriculum Guide (P1-P6) Chapter 1, Chapter 2 Curriculum Development Council (2003)Action Plan to Raise Language Standards in Hong Kong Lin, A. M. Y.(1997), `Analysing the "Language Problem" Discourses in Hong Kong: How Official,

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