Loanwords are interesting in that they not only provide a glimpse into language contact, they also reveal the process of how a language acquires new words. The contact between English and Cantonese has led to the inclusion of a lot of English loanwords in the Cantonese lexicon.

The loanwords of this website are based on Bauer and Wong (2008). They have compiled a database comprising over 700 English loanwords documented in Hong Kong Cantonese over a time span of 180 years (Bauer and Wong 2008). The source of this database is mainly printed materials, ranging from published dictionaries, books, academic journal articles, theses, and dissertations, to local newspapers, tabloid magazines, youth magazines, and internet forum discussion groups. Of the 700+ lexical entries, 85% include only phonetically-transliterated syllables while the other 15% are made up of at least one phonetically-transliterated syllable and at least one Cantonese morphosyllable which bears some semantic relationship to the loanword.

Each loanword entry consists of detailed annotation regarding its pronunciation, meaning in Cantonese, English source, sample sentences in which the loanword is used in Cantonese, as well as all the references in which the loanword has been documented.

It is hoped that the information provided here will show a dynamic and fascinating facet of Hong Kong Cantonese.

“The English Loanwords in Hong Kong Cantonese” website is developed by:
Cathy S.P. Wong (Department of English)
Roxana S.Y. Fung (Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies)
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Last update: October 2012

Copyright © 2012 The Hong Kong Polytechnic University - Department of English