Hong Kong university students' perceptions of their identities in English as a Lingua Franca contexts : An exploratory study

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-112
Journal / PublicationJournal of Asian Pacific Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


This paper presents findings from an exploratory study that investigated the perceptions of a group of Hong Kong university students concerning their identities in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) contexts. Qualitative data were collected primarily via in-depth interviews with a group of second-language speakers of ELF who use English with people from different first-language and cultural backgrounds on a regular basis. The analysis revealed that these participants came to terms with their identities as non-native speakers of English and emphasized the importance of maintaining their cultural identities as Hong Kong or Chinese speakers of ELF. In addition, most of them valued their 'multicompetence' in English, Cantonese and Putonghua when speaking English in ELF situations. The inquiry also found that some participants' identification with other nonnative speakers of English within the ELF community was rather selective and that different members within the ELF community were not perceived as equally ideal speakers of ELF. The study offers some valuable insights into the identities of ELF speakers and the wider ELF community within an Asian context.

Research Area(s)

  • English as a lingua franca, Hong Kong, identities, language and culture, multicompetence