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The Frontiers of Society, Science and Technology, 2020, 2(6); doi: 10.25236/FSST.2020.020620.

The Use of English Loanwords in Cantonese: A Case Study in Guangzhou


LYU XingYing

Corresponding Author:
LYU XingYing

Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University
United International College, Zhuhai, China


Language is the carrier of cultural communication, and loanwords are an essential sociolinguistic phenomenon. The English loanwords in Cantonese reflect the communication between Cantonese and English. Through the corpus collection and questionnaire survey, 120 participants of different age groups were surveyed in Guangzhou to explore their use of English loanwords. The survey included the use of English loanwords of different word-class in Cantonese; the relationship between the use of English loanwords in Cantonese and the user's age, and the attitude of Cantonese speakers in Guangzhou towards English loanwords in Cantonese. Through the survey, it was found that the use frequency of English loanwords in Cantonese verbs was the highest; the young and middle-aged people use loanwords more frequently than teenagers and older adults; the participants also gave their attitudes towards loanwords from a historical, cultural, identity and linguistic perspective. The results could reflect the cultural inclusiveness of Cantonese and their value orientation towards western culture, and also might help to understand the development process of loanwords, the use strategies of loanwords and the use factors of loanwords. It could also cause Cantonese speakers to think about the degree and context of the use of English loanwords in Cantonese, as well as the inheritance and development of English loanwords in Cantonese.


Sociolinguistics, Loanwords, Cantonese, Attitudes, Culture

Cite This Paper

LYU XingYing. The Use of English Loanwords in Cantonese: A Case Study in Guangzhou. The Frontiers of Society, Science and Technology (2020) Vol. 2 Issue 6: 93-125. https://doi.org/10.25236/FSST.2020.020620.


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