Hong Kong preview

China

The de-facto official dialect of Hong Kong is Cantonese, a Chinese dialect originating from the Guangdong province, spoken by 90% of the population as a first language. Mandarin, the official language of the People's Republic of China, is also becoming increasingly common and may even one day overtake Cantonese as the main language of Hong Kong.

Although English is widely used in government bodies, the business community and in most shops and restaurants in the business district, the degree of proficiency is limited in the more local or smaller establishments. While many non-locals feel intimidated by Cantonese, it is possible to learn some basic words and phrases to converse with people on the street. People are usually pleased that you are trying to learn the language and will generally be encouraging and helpful.

If you plan to be in Hong Kong for quite a while, it is the worth the effort to enroll in a course to learn to speak some simple Cantonese. You will enjoy your time in Hong Kong far more if you are able to converse with the locals in their own language, as well as making yourself more attractive to employers. The language i…

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