Students in Hong Kong learn how to write the standard glyphs of traditional Chinese characters in early years of primary school. The standard glyphs of each characters are abided by the handbook provided by the Education Bureau of HKSAR government. However, except the textbooks, most of the printed materials in Hong Kong do not adopted this standard. The thrive of information technology in learning also impinged upon the use of standard Hong Kong fonts, as the mainstreams of operation systems (either Windows, Mac or Lunix) do not have a default setting for it. As a result, there is no “what you see is what you learned” scenario in Hong Kong. The biggest issue comes from the various types of fonts being used by publishers and digital devices adopting different standards.
This study attempts to review the environment of learning traditional Chinese characters in Hong Kong among primary and secondary students, and how functionality outweighs the individuality in using of traditional Chinese fonts. We will start with a brief history of the complicated situation of traditional Chinese being used in Hong Kong. Then we will examine the main issues on how the different standards of traditional Chinese fonts are affecting the learning activities. We will also discuss the possibility of maintaining the individuality of this local standard for learning purpose in the long run, and if so, solutions to deal with this issue.