How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None, although it is good to have a few words for taxi drivers. Language classes and tutors are available. Price is probably expensive. - Jun 2020


You can get by with nothing but English, but knowing some Cantonese phrases will go a long way with the locals. Mandarin is fine and increasingly spoken here. - Jul 2018


None. - Apr 2016


None. - Feb 2015


None. - Feb 2015


Usually none, but Cantonese is nice to know. Some speak Mandarin as well. - Mar 2012


Depends where you hang out. You will usually need at least some Cantonese for taxis, and if you are going to authentic local restaurants as opposed to just staying in the expat areas then you'll need some Cantonese there, too. It's necessary at wet markets or local markets, and is very useful even at western grocery stores. You can live in HK without Cantonese... but you'd be very limited in your activities and experiences. You need at least a basic amount to have a good experience here. - Mar 2012


Most people speak English. Unless you are somewhere very traditional, you are unlikely to have any issues. When I arrived I had intentions to learn Cantonese (like many expats), however this has not happened as you really don't need it... and it's unfortunately not the kind of langauge you can just soak up - it's difficult! - Aug 2010


English is pervasive. Signage and all official business is conducted in English. Most Hong Kongers know English pretty well, even the cabbies. If they don't, they will hand you the radio to speak to their dispatcher who will translate for you. It would be nice to know some Cantonese (or perhaps some Mandarin, although it's not what's really spoken here), but you can definitely and comfortably get along without it. - Jun 2010


I did not know any Cantonese and I was fine. However, some taxi drivers don't speak English so it is a good idea to have the address written down for you if you think this might be a problem. I never had a problem with this though. All customer service representatives, McDonalds workers, etc. will speak almost-perfect English. The locals would love it if you can try to learn even just a few words or phrases in Cantonese. - Jun 2008


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