English Pronunciation in Hong Kong Improving or Getting Worse?

Is English Pronunciation in Hong Kong Improving or Getting Worse?

Businesses that operate on a global scale tend to use English as the language of communication. The people who rise to the top in those organizations are usually those who have a solid grasp of the English language. After all, with meetings being held with other businesses from all over the world, it is imperative that the person in charge of said meetings is able to clearly communicate with the others around the table. In Hong Kong, this appears to be something of a problem, as the use of the English language is not what it once was. That may be cause for a little alarm for those businesses operating globally.

A recent report suggests that part of the problem with those who speak English is their pronunciation of common words. Educators are seeing a decline in English standards in Hong Kong, despite the fact that more and more younger students are keen to learn the language and use it to communicate with. The problem here is that they are more concerned with speaking the language than actually taking the time to learn proper pronunciation. That may be acceptable when talking to their friend, but it is certainly not something that will fly when using that sort of English in a business environment.

There are some who believe that the drop in pronunciation skills is directly related to Hong Kong no longer being a British colony, As Hong Kong becomes more and more removed from those British traditions, the more the current residents try to develop a culture of their own. That is something that is certainly understandable, but it is also something that could hurt Hong Kong businesses in the long run, as losing the ability to communicate on a global scale could end up being somewhat problematic.

The good news is that the problem is not going unnoticed, and now companies are looking to get their executives into classes where they can learn to speak English in a way where pronunciation is as important as communication. HKEnglish have put together an English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Course that is designed to help with this specific issue. Anyone looking to climb the corporate ladder within a global organization would do well to look at the details of this course, as it just may contain what they need to start making an upward move within their business.

The course helps business types who are struggling with proper English pronunciation. Students will learn to pronounce words in exactly the right way, and will also learn about grammar whilst expanding their vocabulary. A lot of the emphasis in the course is on business words and terminology, but it also touches on the social aspect of communicating in English, which can also be important when having dinner with clients and business partners. If you feel as though your grasp of the English language is not where it should be, and feel that it may be hurting your career, you need to take a look at this course from HKEnglish.Com

Our Podcast Has Moved To a New Feed

Please follow the following steps to re-subscribe.

  1. Log in or open your iTunes account.
  2. Go to Your Podcasts.
  3. Un-Subscribe from our old feed.
  4. Go to the iTunes store.
  5. Search for HKEnglish
  6. Click “Subscribe” and you will see our feed once again

Thanks for your help with this!

Direct Link to RSS feed: http://www.hk-english.com/podcast.xml

HKEnglish.com - Now on iTunes

HKEnglish.com - Now on iTunes

HKEnglish.com has recently launched our own channel on iTunes
You can watch and download free episodes every week.

Top 10 English Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

We all make mistakes using grammar, and there are many that people make over and over again. You’ve probably seen it for yourself; someone will use “it’s” instead of “its” or “you’re” instead of “your.”. Here are some of the most common grammatical mistakes and how to avoid them so you don’t fall into the trap.


One of the biggest mistakes people make is: not knowing when to use “who,” “that” or “which,” in a sentence. “Which” is used for things (including animals), Who or whom (antiquated) refers to a person, and “that” refers can be used in reference to animals or things. People are always mixing these up.

Another batch of words that get mixed up are: “they’re,” “their,” and “there.” People will often misspell “their,” and use them interchangeably. This is a huge grammatical error because “they’re” is a contraction for “they are,” and “their” is possessive. “There” is used to refer to a place, but people often use it in place of the other two.

Two more other words that are commonly mixed up are: “its,” and “it’s.” The former is possessive, so it refers to something that belongs to a person. The latter is a contraction, so it is used in place of “it is,” and is not in a possessive form.

People will also confuse “any one” with “anyone.” The former refers to one person, and the latter is used in conjunction with many people. If people took the time to understand what these words mean, they wouldn’t get them mixed up.

A lot of words get misspelled over and over again by many people, and a few of them are: “alright,” “responsible,”, “successfully,” “separate,” “recommend,” “dependent,”, “commission” and more. These misspellings happen so often that the misspelt word is more often seen than the correct one.

At HKEnglish.com you can get Quality Business English Writing Lessons in Hong Kong (HK), and they will teach you how to avoid making these common spelling & grammar errors. Often, words are misspelled because people spell them according to how they sound, instead of how they are actually spelt.

Jonathan Telfer, an expert Native English Tutor in Hong Kong recommends taking the time to browse the dictionary, and memorize how words are spelled. Also, take the time to quiz yourself on how words are spelled and their meanings.

Top Three Grammar Mistakes in English

Top Three Grammar Mistakes in English

If you always get confused about which of these pairs to use then read on. Even some native English speakers have difficulties with these!


When communicating in English through writing it is of paramount importance to be correct. When speaking a listener will often overlook small grammar mistakes but when written the same things can really stand out.

(1) Its or it's?

“Its” is the possessive form of "it" e.g. The cat loves its bed.

“It's” is the contraction of "It is" e.g. It's really hot today.

(2) Your or You're?

“Your” is the possessive form e.g. Can I borrow your pen?


“You're” is a contraction and means "you are". e.g. You're going to love this chocolate cream cake!

(3) Practice or Practise?

In British English Practise is a verb and Practice is a noun e.g. A doctors practises medicine. He owns a practice.

In US English practice is used as a noun and a verb.

Email is the commonest form of written communication these days. Always spend some time to proofread your emails before you send them out. That way you can be sure that your recipients will be able to understand your message.

HKEnglish.com’s Tutorial Videos In China: YOUKU Video Channel



HKEnglish.com’s Fre Tutorial Video Lessons In China:
YOUKU Video Channel

In response to demand from our mainland clients we have set up a YOUKU video channel in order for our friends in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen to be able to view our Free English Tutorial Videos.

*Youku Inc., formerly Youku.com Inc., doing business as Youku (simplified Chinese:
优酷; traditional Chinese: 優酷; pinyin: yōukù; literally "excellent (and) cool", NYSE: YOKU), is a Chinese video hosting service based in the People's Republic of China, it is the second largest video site in the world with a alexa ranking just after YouTube.


*Source Wikipedia

English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Course Video

English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Course Video



Do you often have to repeat yourself when communicating in English? Do you get blank looks and raised eyebrows when you are in meetings? Do you feel that people just don't understand what you are saying? Are there long pauses at the other end in teleconferences? If so, your English pronunciation may not be up to standard.

Communicating in English has always been a problem in Hong Kong. 98% of the population here speak Cantonese as their mother tongue, and although English is taught in schools from kindergarten upwards, it is hardly ever spoken outside the classroom.

As globalisation continues and Hong Kong's economy moves to become more service orientated, the need for English to communicate in business is growing at an ever increasing pace.

Why is the English Standard Declining in Hong Kong?


English communication is extremely important as Hong Kong is a multi-cultural city and international financial centre with many foreign companies having offices here. A high level of proficiency in English is essential if Hong Kong is to prosper in future years. Mainland cities like Beijing and Shanghai are already overtaking Hong Kong in many respects such as the number of multi-national companies that have moved their headquarters there.

Hong Kong's competitiveness is dependant on a high level of English proficiency. As traditional industries fade or move away, tourism is increasingly becoming important for HK's economy. From waiters to shop assistants to taxi drivers the English standard has to rise for business to flourish here.

Although English is an official language most government departments and officials use Cantonese. Legislative Council meetings are held in Chinese 99% of the time and public notices in places like the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) and other major organisations increasingly using Chinese only. With government and major transport operators choosing to use Cantonese what impact does this have on youngsters learning English? Well, it certainly doesn't encourage them to study! The official language for teaching in Universities is also English but many lecturers stick to Cantonese as its easier - for them rather than the students I think. How can our university graduates function in the real world of business when given examples like this? When it comes to job interviews many of our university graduates cannot even answer simple interview questions.

Being able to give business presentations in English is a key skill for anyone wanting to move up the career ladder - but once again the majority of students graduating from our centres of academic excellence leave without the communication skills needed to perform effectively in commerce or banking.

Hong Kong really needs to look at the falling standard of English and devise ways to improve the overall proficiency to be at least as good as other ex-colonies such as Singapore or Malaysia. Perhaps some of the universities could even do some research in this area?


Word of the day - Incongruous



From Latin incongruus, from in- ("not") + congruus ("congruent").

(RP) IPA: /ˈɪn.kɒn.ɡɹʊu.ʌs/ or IPA: /ˈɪn.kɒŋ.ɹʊu.ʌs/
(US) IPA: /ɪnˈkɑn.ɡɹu.əs/ or IPA: /ɪŋˈkɑŋ.ɡɹu.əs/

incongruous (comparative more incongruous, superlative most incongruous)
Not similar or congruent; not matching or fitting in.  

Derived terms

Related terms

Expand your Vocabulary with our Quality English Courses taught by native English tutors in Hong Kong

Source: http://en.wiktionary.org