Hong Kong Style English a.k.a Konglish

Every country has its own accent and HK is no exception.

Many people expect Hong Kongers to be fluent in English due to British colonialism, this is quite frankly wrong. A few articles have pop-up in the press recently mocking Hong Kong English and in particular senior government officials.

No big surprise, Hong Kongers love to complain and make fun of their government


The problem is ME. Since I’ve been here, my English has gone downhill, quite a lot.

Now before my dearest mother urges me to return to UK so I don’t become an illiterate spaz, I’d like to elaborate.


First, a vast majority of locals are intimidated by foreigners. This means the mere fact of speaking to a foreigner makes then slightly panicky and their concentration level drops. Fast, elaborate sentence will not be fully understood. If you have an accent it makes things worse.


Second, many locals don’t understand British slang (we won’t even mention Leicester slang). So when I first arrived and said stuff like “fag”, “me duck” or “innit” people would just stare at me blankly.

It took me 24 hours to drop any kind of British wording, accent and proper verb tense.


Now, many may think I am exaggerating, but I am not.

I learnt the hard way at work. When briefing Hong Kong colleagues on various things, they would just nod along saying “ok”, but when I got the final result I’d realize they had totally missed the point of my brief.

So I quickly started adapting my English. A few examples:

I do not say “okay”, I say “okay laa”

I do not say “yesterday I went to the gym”, I say “yesterday I go to the gym”

I do not say “Is this yours?”, I say “ If it’s yours?”


It’s not all doom and gloom, when I face a British person my usual accent comes back, but still I need to be careful.




5 thoughts on “Hong Kong Style English a.k.a Konglish

  1. Hello Saz!
    Mon anglais étant plus que moyen, certains détails de ce que tu écris m’échappent mais c’est tout de même très chouette de te lire! Tu écris souvent et ça fait vraiment plaisir d’avoir de tes nouvelles. Je vais aller à Toulouse avec Simon et Eliot début Juillet. Je verrai donc ton papa et maman dans leur nouvelle maison.
    Je t’embrasse bien fort.

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