There is no record of the first French people in Hong Kong, but the official France-Hong Kong bilateral relations can be traced back to the Second Opium War (1856-1860). In 1856, a French missionary, Father Auguste Chapdelaine, was executed by Chinese authorities in Guangxi Province. The French Empire joined with the British navy and prompted the Second Opium War, which caused the colonization of Kowloon Peninsula. As reported by the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong, the first Consul of France in Hong Kong was appointed in 1862.1
The French established two congregations early in their settlement in Hong Kong: The Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres and the Paris Society of Foreign Missions. The Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres eventually led to the creation of a school, an orphanage, a hospice, and a hospital.2
French merchants and investors also settled in Hong Kong, with the establishment of a Hong Kong branch of The Comptoir d’Escompte de Paris in 1862. The opening of a branch of the Banque de l’Indochine in 1894 established the French presence in Hong Kong by opening up commercial trade between Asia and France.2
Hong Kong currently has the largest French expat community in Asia, with over 20,000 French nationals living in Hong Kong.2 There are currently more than 800 French companies operating in Hong Kong.3
1150 years of relations between France and Hong Kong. Publication of the book “Hong Kong – French connections – From the 19th century to the present day:https://hongkong.consulfrance.org/150-years-of-relations-between
216 stories about Hong Kong-France relations:https://hongkong.consulfrance.org/16-stories-about-Hong-Kong-France
3Why are so many French moving to Hong Kong? https://theculturetrip.com/asia/china/hong-kong/articles/why-are-so-many-french-moving-to-hong-kong/
4Bensimon, F. (2011). British workers in France, 1815-1848. Past and Present, 213(1), 147–189.
5Laeufer, C. (1996). The acquisition of a complex phonological contrast: Voice timing patterns of English initial stops by native French speakers. Phonetica, 53(1–2), 86–110.
6Compagnon, B. Le. (1984). Interference and overgeneralization in second language learning: The acquisition of English dative verbs by native speakers of French. Language Learning, 34(3), 39–57.
7Ayoun, D., & Salaberry, M. R. (2008). Acquisition of English tense-aspect morphology by advanced French instructed learners. Language Learning, 58(3), 555–595.
8Walters, C. (2001). French speakers. In M. Swan and B. Smith (Eds.), Learner English, 2nd Edition (pp. 52-72). Cambridge University Press.
German merchants participated in trade with the Canton region of China starting in the 18th Century. The settlement of German merchants in Canton later brought missionaries to this region of China. The German language was likely brought to Hong Kong after the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, by missionaries who saw an opportunity to bring to spread Christianity from their established bases in coastal China, south to Canton and subsequently Hong Kong, which had become a British colony in 1841.1
According to the lists of foreign residents on China coast, such as The Chinese Repository, the first person that was identified as a German in Hong Kong appeared in 1845 following the changes in borders of German states and other associated nations. There were more foreigners with German sounding settling in Hong Kong after the 1880s.1
In the 1860s, political turmoil in China led to many German merchants to relocate to Hong Kong, as they saw Hong Kong as a major trading port in Asia. This led to a growth in the German community in Hong Kong, and the establishment of a number of German owned companies, some of which still exist in Hong Kong today: Jebsen & Co (est. 1894), a branch of the Deutsch Bank called the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank (est. 1889). The Club Germania, a social club for members of large German firms, was established in 1859.1,2
When World War I broke out in 1914, Germans were considered enemy aliens and all Germans in Hong Kong were sent to internment camps first in Stonecutter’s Bay and later in Hung Hom Bay.1
The Hong Kong census shows a steady increase in the number of German residents in Hong Kong from 1871 (170 German residents) until 1906 (237), after which numbers appear to decline.1,2
Currently, there are around 6000 German speakers from Germany, Switzerland, Austria living in Hong Kong.3
German’s earliest contact with the English language can be dated back to c.700-1640 AD when it was limited and restricted to the northern regions of the country and the domains of religion and trade.4
The contact with English increased during 1640-1900 AD when the spread of the language in Europe (amid the English Civil War and the periods of English Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution) had extended to other domains including politics, literature and science, which had further increased the national significance of the English language in Germany.4
In Germany, the English language has been incorporated as a school subject, as well as a medium of instruction, in German-English bilingual schools. However, the resistance of English has grown, particularly when it comes to matters regarding its status and functions in private and the German governmental organizations.4
1Smith, C. T. (1994). The German Speaking Community in Hong Kong 1846-1918. Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 34, 1-55.
2Mak, R. K. S. (2004). The German community in 19th century Hong Kong. Asia Europe Journal 2, 237-255.
3Through the Eyes of German Speaking Expats: https://podcast.rthk.hk/podcast/item.php?pid=798&eid=51286&year=2015&lang=en-US
4Hilgendorf, S. K. (2007). English in Germany: contact, spread and attitudes. World Englishes, 26(2), 131-148.
5Ammon, U. (2006). The status and function of English in Germany. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses (Vol. 53).
6Hickey, R. (2019). Persistent Features in the English of German Speakers. English in the German-speaking World, 208.
7Blumenfeld, R. (2014). Teach Yourself Accents: Europe: A Handbook for Young Actors and Speakers. Limelight.
8Trudgill, P., & Hannah, J. (1985). International English: A guide to standard varieties of English. London: Edward Arnold.
9Erling, E. J., & Bartlett, T. (2006). Making English their own: The use of ELF among students of English at the FUB. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 5(2), 9-40.
The Netherlands Consulate General does not have official figures of the number of Dutch nationals living in Hong Kong but approximate the number at around 5000.1 As for historical information on Dutch nationals in Hong Kong, while there are no official records. The Netherlands Consulate General believes that Dutch nationals began trading in South China, including in Hong Kong during the Dutch East India Company (known as Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, or VOC) which was established in 1602.1
Historical resources reported the Dutch presence in 'Canton', Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong (Tai O for example). In Hong Kong the appointment of a first official Dutch consul dates back to 1857. In 1897, the Royal Dutch Shell Company (known today as Shell) set up an office in North Point, Hong Kong Island.2
Java Road in North Point is named after Java, Indonesia, by Dutch settlers in the area. Java Road was historically the site of business for the Dutch trade company Koninklijke Paketvaart-Maatschappij.2
Dutch Lane is the English name for荷蘭徑 or 荷蘭灣徑)(Hor Lan Geng or Hor Lan Wan Geng), a hiking path below Peak Road. Dutch Lane is named after the Dutch traders who used to walk this path from their homes on the Peak to their offices in Wan Chai.3
Today, most Dutch nationals living in Hong Kong are in Hong Kong for trading/commercial purposes, often sent by their mother companies to run businesses in Hong Kong.1
Modern foreign languages have long been studied in Dutch schools. First French, in the 16th century, then, in the 18th century, German and, later, English. Since the 18th century English has been a school subject the Netherlands, but in 1863, the foundation of today’s secondary school was implemented – Hogere Burgerschool (HBS), and English became mandatory. Another secondary education reform established English as a core subject with similar status as Dutch and Mathematics. In Tertiary education, English is a compulsory subject in vocational education; in professional schools, elective or compulsory courses are offered and EMI is regularly used; in universities, a growing number of programs have switched to EMI – 55% of BA programs use English as the language of instruction.
English in the Netherlands, an Expanding Circle country, has prestige due to its instrumental value. The impact of globalization has paved the way for English to be increasingly used as a lingua franca in the country. English is used in business and advertising, science and research, government, education, and the media. Younger generations find in it an expression of identity and lead its use in this way. In the Netherlands, English may be shifting from EFL to ESL status and in some domains is assumed to have been operated under bilingualism of the Dutch people.4,5,6,7,8,9
|Dutch English||Amsterdam English – AE|
|En||Example||Dutch En||Dutch En #||AE||AE #|
1Email conversation, The Netherlands Consulate General staff, January 23, 2020.
2The stories behind Eastern District street names: https://www.taikooplace.com/en/whatson/the-mag/streetnameshistory
3Dutch Lane: https://gwulo.com/node/9029
4Bamgbose, A. (2020). A Recurring Decimal: English in Language Policy and Planning. In C. L. Nelson, Z. G. Proshina, & D. R. Davis (Eds.), The Handbook of World Englishes (pp. 659-673). Wiley Blackwell.
5Hilgendorf, S. (2020). Euro-Englishes. In C. L. Nelson, Z. G. Proshina, & D. R. Davis (Eds.), The Handbook of World Englishes (pp. 215-231). Wiley Blackwell.
6Edwards, A. (2016). English in the Netherlands: Functions, forms and attitudes. John Benjamins.
7Edwards, A. & Laporte, S. (2015). Outer and expanding circle Englishes: The competing roles of norm orientation and proficiency levels. English World-Wide, 36(2), 135-169.
8Koet, A. G. M. (2007). Polder English in Dutch ears: empirical studies on the evaluation of the pronunciation of English as a foreign language (ISBN 9789078087113)[Doctoral thesis, University of Amsterdam].
9Michel, M., Vidon, C., Graaff, R. & Lowie, W. (2021). Language Learning beyond English in the Netherlands: A fragile future? European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 9(1), 159-182.
Irish people have been present in Hong Kong from the beginning of the colonial era. The first governor of Hong Kong, Sir Henry Pottinger, was Irish and 9 governors in the period up to Irish independence in 1922 can lay claim to Irish citizenship.1,2 These governors are as follows: Sir Henry Pottinger, Sir Hercules Robinson, Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell, Sir Arthur Kennedy, Sir John Pope Hennessy, Sir George Bowen, Sir William Des Voeux, Sir Henry Arthur Blake, Sir Francis Henry May
Pottinger, Caine, Robinson, MacDonnell, Kennedy, Hennessy, Bowen, Des Voeux roads on Hong Kong Island are named after former Hong Kong governors from Ireland.
Currently there are around 5,000 Irish citizens in Hong Kong.2However, the exact number of the Irish community is not stated in the Hong Kong Population By-Census.
1Hickey, R. (2020). The Englishes of Ireland: Emergence, transportation and current trends. In The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes (pp. 77-95). Routledge.
2Email conversation with the Irish Consulate.
3Schneider, E. W., Burridge, K., Kortmann, B., Mesthrie, R., & Upton, C. (2004). A handbook of varieties of English: A multimedia tool. De Gruyter Mouton.
4Hickey, R. (2008). Irish English: phonology. In 1 The British Isles (pp. 71-104). De Gruyter Mouton.
5Wells, J. C. (1982). The Celtic Counties. In Accents of English: The British Isles (vol 2.), pp.377-450. Cambridge University Press.
6Corrigan, K. P. (2011). Grammatical variation in Irish English. English today, 27(2), 39.
7Filppula, M. (2002). The grammar of Irish English: language in Hibernian style. Routledge.
In 1684, the Kangxi Emperor, the third emperor of the Qing Dynasty in china, issued an edict to open several customs stations, which include Canton port in Guangdong Province, for trading with foreign merchants. One year later in 1685, Foreign traders were allowed to enter these ports.1 The first Britons reached Hong Kong when the British East India Company started trading in this area through the trading post in Canton (Guangzhou).1
In 1836, the Chinese government prohibited the opium trade and in March 1839, Lin Zexu, as the special Imperial Commissioner in Canton, destroyed the opium in public. In 1840, the British implemented the First Opium War. In 1841, the British captured Hong Kong Island during the war. On 29 August 1842, Hong Kong Island was ceded under the Treaty of Nanking and established as a British colony.2 Over the next 150 years, Britons came to Hong Kong in large numbers, many to work in the colony’s administration, trading houses, and merchant banks.2 Hong Kong ceased to be a British colony on July 1, 1997, when it became part of the People’s Republic of China.
The earliest Hong Kong Census was conducted in 1911; at that time, 81,869 Hong Kong’s then 849,751 residents were listed as having British nationality, with a further 1,825 listed as being naturalized British.3 In 1971, 29,004 of Hong Kong’s residents were listed as having Britain as their place of origin, which was 7.36% of the population. In 1981, 25,703, or 0.51% of Hong Kong’s population, had the United Kingdom as place of origin. In the 1991 census, 68,502 residents, or 1.20% of the population, were listed as being British with a domicile outside of Hong Kong (3,294,444 of the population, or 59.60%, were listed as being British nationals with domicile only in Hong Kong; this was a time when Hong Kong was still a British colony). In the last census before the Handover of Hong Kong from British to People’s Republic of China rule, 175,569 (2.80% of the population) of Hong Kong’s residents were listed as British with right of abode outside of Hong Kong and 3,681,898 (59.20% of the population) as British with right of abode only in Hong Kong. In 2001, the first census after the handover, there were 25,418 British nationals living in Hong Kong, 0.40% of the population. In 2006, British nationals in Hong Kong numbered 24,990, 0.40% of the population. In 2011, there were 33,733 British nationals living in Hong Kong, 0.50% of the population. In 2016, 35,069 British nationals were registered in Hong Kong, for 0.5% of the population. In 2021, 37,243 British nationals were registered in Hong Kong, 0.50% of the population.3
1Schottenhammer, A. (2010). Trading networks in early modern Eastern Asia. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
2Tsang, S. (2004). A modern history of Hong Kong. London: I.B. Tauris.
3Hong Kong SAR Population Census. https://www.censtatd.gov.hk/en/
4Baugh A. & Cable, T. (1993). A history of the English language. London: Routledge.
6Hickey, Raymond. (2004). A handbook of varieties of English. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
From 1841 to 1997, Hong Kong was a British colony. As Scotland is part of the British empire, since the 19th century Scottish people have settled in Hong Kong. Scots made important contributions to Hong Kong in commerce, politics, trade, science, and literature. Notable Scots who helped develop Hong Kong include:
William Jardine, who with James Matheson, founded Jardine, Matheson, and Co. in Guangzhou in 1832; Jardines is one of Hong Kong’s most well-known institutions, and is still controlled by descendants of the Jardine family.1
James Legge, the first translator of Confucius and other classic Chinese texts. He also served as editor of the ‘Chinese Serial’, which was the first newspaper in Chinese in Hong Kong.1
James Haldane Steward Lockhart, for whom Lockhart Road in Wan Chai is named, was a noted sinologist who served as a British colonial official in Hong Kong and China for more than 40 years, arriving in Hong Kong in 1879. 2
Sir Thomas Sutherland, who founded the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation – HSBC.1
Sir James Cantlie, a Scottish physician who served as Dean of the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese. One of his students was Sun Yat-sen.1
Sir Robert Brown Black, the first Scot to become Governor of Hong Kong, serving from 1958-1964; he also served as Governor of Singapore, from 1955-1957. Sir Black helped establish The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1963.2
David Clive Wilson, who helped draft the Sino-Joint Declaration; he was Governor of Hong Kong from 1987-1992; Hong Kong’s Wilson Trail is named after David Clive Wilson.1
Sir John James Cowperthwaite, who served as Financial Secretary in Hong Kong from 1961-1971. It was his financial policies that helped change Hong Kong into a global financial centre.1
Murray MacLehose, who served as Hong Kong governor from 1971-1982, the longest term of office for Hong Kong’s governors. He instituted a number of social reforms, including making Chinese an official language in Hong Kong in 1974, and creating the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC). It was during his time as governor that the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) was constructed.1 The MacLehose Trail, a 100 kilometer hiking trail in the New Territories, is named after him.
The main languages/varieties spoken in Scotland are (Scottish) Gaelic, Scots, and Scottish Standard English (SSE). Gaelic, a Celtic language, was spoken by most of the population of Scotland; in the 7th century Anglian invaders introduced their language into south-east Scotland; about 15o years later, there was the Viking invasion introduced Norse in the far north and in the western borders. By the 10th century, Scotland was still predominantly Celtic-speaking, but from the 15th to the 18th century, the Scottish and British Parliaments promoted English-language education.3
In 1707, the rising importance of English and the Act of Union of the English and Scottish parliaments prompted the decline of Scots. Scots and the English spoken in Scotland is best viewed as a continuum. SSE is briefly defined as Standard English that is spoken with a Scottish accent.3,4
1Wang, B. (2014, September 23). Infographic: Scots in Hong Kong. South China Morning Post. https://www.scmp.com/infographics/article/1597861/infographic-scots-hong-kong
2Hong Kong’s First: Famous Scotsmen in Hong Kong (2012, September 5). http://hongkongsfirst.blogspot.com/2009/11/famous-scotsmen-in-hong-kong.html
3Melchers, G., Shaw, P. & Sundkvist, P. (2019). World Englishes (3rd ed.). Routledge.
4Stuart-Smith, J. (2004). Scottish English: Phonology. In B. Kortmann, E. W. Schnei1der, K. Burridge, R. Mesthrie, & C. Upton (Eds.), A Handbook of Varieties of English (pp. 47-67). Mouton de Gruyter.
5Hickey, R. (2014). A dictionary of varieties of English. Wiley Blackwell.
6 Britain, D. (2018). Dialect Contact and New Dialect Formation. In C. Boberg, J. Nerbonne, & D. Watt (Eds.), The handbook of dialectology (pp. 143-158). Wiley Blackwell.
7Watson, K. (2018). Dialects of British and Southern Hemisphere English. In C. Boberg, J. Nerbonne, & D. Watt (Eds.), The handbook of dialectology (pp. 439-449). Wiley Blackwell.
Portuguese was brought to Hong Kong by way of Macau. The Ming government allowed the Portuguese to set up a trading post in Macau in 1557.1 The Portuguese administered Macau, which was under Chinese rule, until 1887, after which it became a Portuguese colony in the Treat of Peking. Macau was returned to Chinese rule in 1999.
After the British colonized Hong Kong in 1841, many Portuguese who had settled in Macau migrated to Hong Kong due to a worsening economy in Macau.1 The murder of Joao Maria Ferreira do Amaral in 1849 and the typhoon of 1874, led to more Portuguese-Macanese settlers in Hong Kong.1
Portuguese settlers in Hong Kong primarily worked as bank clerks, accountants, and interpreters for firms like Jardine, Matheson and Co., and the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation.1
The Portuguese settled mainly in Kowloon, particularly in Soares Avenue in Ho Man Tin. The settlers established the Club Lusitano in 1866.1
One of the most prominent Portuguese families in Hong Kong was the Braga family; J. P. Braga, who are born in Hong Kong in 1871, helped develop Kowloon and New Territories and was involved in both the Hong Kong Engineering and Construction Company (HKECC) and the CLP.1. He worked closely with the Kadoorie family to invest in the development of the New Territories, including to supply electricity to the New Territories.1
The Braga Circuit in The Kadoorie Estate is named after J. P. Braga.1
In the 1931 Hong Kong Population Census, 2,789 Portuguese nationals were registered in Hong Kong.2
In the 1961 Hong Kong Population Census, 1,521,715 Hong Kong residents, of 48.62% of the population, had Canton, Macau or adjacent places as their place of origin; in 1966, this was 1,778,820, or 47.96% of the population. In 1971, 2,072,083 Hong Kong residents had Canton, Macau, and adjacent places as their place or origin, which was 52.63% of the population. In 1981, this was 2,455,749, 49.24% of the population.2
In 1961, 877 Hong Kong residents stated they spoke Portuguese as their usual language.2
There are fewer speakers of Portuguese remaining in Hong Kong, and Macau. In Macau, only 18,680 people speak Portuguese, of which 3,680 are first language users; Macau’s total population is 680,000. The ethnic Portuguese population of Macau is 11,700.3 Portuguese and Chinese are official languages of Macau. Cantonese is the most widely spoken language in Macau.
More recently, Portuguese may be spoken in Hong Kong by Brazilians working or studying in Hong Kong. Due to the popularity of Brazilian beef, there are numerous Brazilian restaurants in Hong Kong; Brazil is also Hong Kong’s 2nd largest Latin American trading partner, with Hong Kong primarily importing meat from Brazil.4
The Portuguese-Macanese settlers to Hong Kong had learned English in the Catholic schools in Macau; they used English in their work in banks and other companys.1
English was brought to Portugal in the 1650s, by English merchants. English is widely spoken in Portugal today, with Portugal ranked 7th globally for most proficient English speakers.5
1Portuguese-Macanese Settlers. (2015). The Quarterly Newsletter for the Hong Kong Heritage Project. 2015 Volume 1.
2HKSAR Population Census: https://www.censtatd.gov.hk/en/
3Eberhard, David M., Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2022. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Twenty-fifth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International.
4Hong Kong – Brazil Trade Relations. (July 2021). Trade and Industry Department, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. https://www.tid.gov.hk/english/aboutus/publications/factsheet/brazil.html
5TPN/Lusa (21 November 2020). Portugal’s English speakers among best in world. The Portugal News. https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2020-11-21/portugals-english-speakers-among-best-in-world/56822
6Lanteigne, B. (2006). Common, persistent errors in English by Brazilian Portuguese speakers. TEFL Web Journal 4(1), 1-16.
From 1841 to 1997, Hong Kong was a British colony. Wales is part of the United Kingdom, and though no official record exist of the arrival of the first Welsh people in Hong Kong, Welsh people have been instrumental in the development of Hong Kong before and during the British colonial rule of Hong Kong.1 William Parry and Samuel Williams, both Welshmen, were senior staff in the East India Co., stationed in Canton.1 Tudor Davies became Chief Magistrate in 1859, after Hong Kong was founded; he had a significant role in the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs.1
Saint David’s Day (Feast of St. David) is celebrated in Wales on March 1 of every year, as St. David is the patron saint of Wales. The first recorded celebration of St. David’s Day in Hong Kong was in 1911, when the celebration was held at the Hong Kong Hotel, Queen’s Road Central. St. David’s Day was also celebrated in the internment camps in Stanley during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in World War II.
The St. David’s Society of Hong Kong was established as a membership society for Welsh people in Hong Kong after WWII; the Welsh Male Voice Choir, a highly regarded choir, was founded in 1978 by members of the St. David’s Society.2 They have regular performances in Hong Kong and also perform internationally, with performances in the past at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall in London and Sydney Opera House.
1David’s Society, Cymdeithas Dewi Sant. Hong Kong. https://www.stdavidshongkong.com/story
2Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir.https://www.hkwmvc.com/about-us/
3Penhallurick, R. ( ) Welsh English: Phonology. In B. Kortmann, E. W. Schneider, K. Burridge, R. Mesthrie, & C. Upton (Eds.), A Handbook of Varieties of English (pp. 98-112). Mouton de Gruyter.
4Hickey, R. (2014). A dictionary of varieties of English. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.
5Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English: The British Isles. Cambridge University Press.