Last week (8 June), the South China Morning Post published two articles about the use of English in government: "Official use of English being 'neglected' by Hong Kong government” and “The Hong Kong Government’s Language Barrier”. Each of them raised the question of whether government officials are deliberately ignoring or sidelining English, thus contributing to steadily declining English standards in the government.
Cygnet has been providing English editing, copywriting and training services to various government departments for many years. Based on our experience, I think it is certainly the case that many government figures — and departments — are failing to lead by example. But while some commentators are quick to give this a political slant, we should not forget that maintaining a high level of proficiency in English among non-native speakers is not easy. In my view, a significant part of the problem is the fact that the government does not have any consistent formal support framework for sustaining the use of confident, accurate English across the Civil Service.
About this blog
This blog arises from keeping an eye on English in Hong Kong. I often use signs, notices and advertisements that I see as starting points to write about English issues that commonly challenge Hong Kong writers.