SPANISH LANGUAGE IN HONG KONG

The beginnings of the education of Spanish language in Hong Kong go back to the Seventies thanks a Hispanic Society. The first reason of being of this association was to offer to the spanish speakers, specially Latin American and Philippine residents in Hong Kong, in which there were members of Chinese origin, a frame to maintain social relationships. From this situation began the first Spanish courses, given first by monks or ex- monks. During the first years, approximately two third parts of the pupils were British of the colonial Government of Hong Kong, who normally had properties in Spain and the rest was Chinese.

The students of Castilian in Hong Kong speak normally already English, and the French occupies the second position in popularity, followed by German.

A peculiar data to appreciate is the importance of the private demand of Spanish courses, although the average of a cuatrimestral course of 60 hours in private academies or centers of nocturnal education costs around the 400 euros. For this reason, teaching of Spanish has been counted not only at university centers, but also in centers of secondary education, adult education centers and language schools. The secondary centers education are private or arranged. There is certenly no proof of public schools or institutes that include Spanish in their educative programs nowadays.

After the data achieved until now it would be possible to affirm that the approximated number of students of Spanish in Hong Kong is of 1.998, of which 745 correspond to the university field. If numbers compare with the number of university students, who receive Spanish lessons in Popular Republic of China, 700 per year according to Taciana Fisac (2000), is evident that interest seems to have much more accused in Hong Kong than in RPC, specially if we consider that the RPC counts with 1,300 million inhabitants and Hong Kong with less than seven million, and that the RPC has just celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the regulated education of Spanish as a foreign language, whereas in Hong Kong the Spanish does not make formal appearance as a properly university subjet until 1993.

María Mercedes Vázquez Vázquez
(Anuario Español en España 2004)