In this section, the results of different variables in the recorded language diary and the inferred relationship between the variables are presented to show the subject’s use of languages in different communicative situations in Hong Kong.
4.1 Overview of language use
Over the seven-day period, 83 interaction entries were recorded with 114 principal interlocutors involved (see Table 1). The largest number of interaction entries were made on 18 November (Monday), and the smallest number of entries appeared on 16 November (Saturday). Although living in a Cantonese-predominant area, the majority of interaction entries (55, 65.5%) were made in Mandarin in pure form or in mixed forms as the base language. Though it is not statistically predominant, English of its pure and mixed form as the base language (10, 12%) still ranks the second, followed by the pure Cantonese (7, 8.4%) and own dialect mixed with a few Mandarin (1, 1.2%). Another category - general mixture, in which different languages were equally mixed, was also recorded. There are three types of code mixing in the record, Mandarin and English (4, 4.8%), Mandarin and Cantonese (4, 4.8%) and Mandarin and her own dialect (2, 2.4%).
4.2 Exchange types
As Table 2 shows, the most frequently reported language exchanges occurred between the subject and her classmates (38, 45.8%) and her roommates (18, 21.7%). The communication with staff members, including shop assistants, cashiers and librarians, took up 19.3% (16), and there were 6% of interaction entries (5) that were produced with professor (and classmates). The interaction between the subject and her family members was very limited (3, 3.6%), since her family is not living with her in Hong Kong, and she contacted her family only through phone or internet. Moreover, she had a few (3, 3.6%) verbal exchanges with strangers. In terms of the topics (subjects) of the interaction, the most frequent ones relate to her graduate study (29, 34.9%), food (16, 19.3%) and entertainment (12, 14.5%). Another area indicated in the table is the locations of interaction. More than a half of the interactions (42, 50.6%) took place in campus, for example, classroom, library and canteen, followed by the domain of “home” (19, 22.9%). The last area reported from the diary is the situations where the verbal exchanges occur. Call making (13, 15.7%), way to somewhere (13, 15.7%) and having meals (10, 12%) are the most regular situations that embraced conversation.
4.3 Characteristics of speakers
Table 3 shows that there were 114 speakers engaged in the interaction during the period. An overwhelming large proportion (106, 93%) of female interlocutors were reported in the entire language diary, while only 7% (8) were male speakers. Most speakers’ ages range from 21-30 (99, 86.8%). Moreover, the subjects also had interactions with speakers of other ages. However, she did not have any interactions with people under 10 years old. Unsurprisingly,...