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Metalinguistic tactics in the Hong Kong protest movement

Jones, R. H. ORCID: and Chau, D. (2022) Metalinguistic tactics in the Hong Kong protest movement. Journal of Language and Politics, 21 (1). pp. 143-172. ISSN 1569-2159

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1075/jlp.21017.jon


This paper explores the metalinguistic tactics used by Hong Kong protesters in 2014 and 2019 and how they reflected and exploited a range of dominant ideologies about language in the city. These tactics are considered both in terms of their rhetorical utility in the “message war” between protesters and authorities, and their significance in the broader sociolinguistic context of Hong Kong. The analysis reveals how such tactics entailed both opportunities and risks, allowing protesters to create shareable discursive artifacts that spread quickly over social media and to promote in-group solidarity and distrust of their political opponents, but also limiting their ability to broaden the appeal of their messages to certain segments of the population and implicating them in upholding language ideologies that promote exclusion and marginalization.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:99352
Publisher:John Benjamins


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