Perceiving (non)standardness and the indexicality of new immigrant Cantonese in Hong Kong

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)81-94
Journal / PublicationLanguage & Communication
Online published27 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


In this paper we argue for a fractally recursive model of (non)standard Cantonese to account for the indexicalities of language use associated with “new immigrants” and the complex indexical fields at work in Hong Kong. Our empirical data come from a Hong Kong noodle shop's social media advertisement, its use and enregisterment of a way of speaking associated with female migrants of a lower socioeconomic status from mainland China, and viewers' online reactions to this. We demonstrate that the viewers evaluate this mediatised “new immigrant” Cantonese as indexical of both standardness and non-standardness, of locality, outsiderness and national power - all depending upon the scalar perspective they take within a fractally recursive system.

Research Area(s)

  • Fractal recursivity, Indexical field, Listening subjects, Cantonese, Language ideologies, Mediatised language