Arousing Hong Kong quality English awareness etc

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    I often come across distinct quirks in English by Hongkongers, which I figure can be traced to the local education system. It seems some words and phrases have become entrenched here, even though they might be rarely seen or just plain wrong elsewhere (well, plain wrong here too, but they occur even so).

    Revert to – used to mean “get back to”, as in “can you revert to me by tomorrow morning?” I recently told one young lady that it was impossible for me to revert to her by the time she specified, though I could do the work by then.

    Moreover – rarely seen by me in normal English, but here in Hong Kong it’s commonly used to start sentences. I’m told that one (native) English teacher I know has banned his students from using it!

    Besides, – also used too often to start sentences.

    Including … list of things … etc. Somehow, including can introduce a complete rather than partial list, and “etc” often slapped on the end of lists.

    Talents – in Hong Kong, talent isn’t just an attribute. A person can be a “talent”, so can encourage “talents” (rather than talented individuals).

    Elites – also used for individuals (elite individuals), rather than groups of people belonging to more nebulous “elite”.

    Quality – used as if it means excellent. So may have quality projects, which really means excellent projects.

    Arouse – used to mean increase, quite commonly in “arouse interest”, without any apparent notion that arouse tends to be used in sexual connotation.
    Even worse, though, I once saw an editor use “roused up”.

    He/she pointed out – unnecessary variation for he/she said.

    Kick-off – events don’t simply start; they are kicked off, without a football in sight.

    The above … for “the preceding …”, and never mind whether physically above or not, as info on a printed page can be. Just heard a TVB Pearl announcer blithely saying “The above information was brought to you by…” – makes me wonder, at times, when hear westerners like this guy who are reading crap English: just taking the money and never mind the quality?

    [something was done] successfully is also common; and like several of the above errors – which in this case are indeed “above” – stems from translating Chinese nigh on directly to English, but with very poor grasp of actual English as used in the big wide world.

    Really, it’s sad that so many locals teach/learn English within Hong Kong’s education system – and surely work hard, but evidently spend little or no time reading and listening to English as widely used.
    Arguably, I shouldn’t grumble hugely, as fair chunk of my income stems from editing local English (often translated from Chinese); yet I’d still like to see some of the silly errors vanish, and better knowledge of actual English.
    – mind you, I also live in hope that Americans might someday learn to spell properly! :woohoo:

    Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/05/13 11:41

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