Symbolic naming in Macau: A sociolinguistic analysis of luxury hotel names

Authors: Asa Synn (Kyungsung University, South Korea)
Speakers: Asa Synn
Strand: Language, Community, Ethnicity
Session Type: General Session


“Macau is located on the southeastern coast of mainland China, west of Hong Kong, and consists of the Macau Peninsula, Taipa, and Coloane. It is a crossroads between the East and the West; thus, its multinationality, multiethnicity, multiculturalism, and multilingualism are mixed. Macau had long been a Portuguese colony since 1557 but was transferred to China in 1999, at which point it became the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (MSAR). In contrast to Hong Kong, which functions as the center of trade and logistics, Macau is engaged in comprehensive entertainment by playing the role of the center of the casino industry, i.e., “the Las Vegas of the East,” for the Chinese government; at the same time, it is becoming engaged in the cultural tourism business as it is a region that boasts UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Given this background, this paper intends to examine the symbolism of Macau, i.e., “the first meeting between China and the West,” by analyzing the names of luxury hotels in Macau. In Macau, many languages such as Chinese, Portuguese, Cantonese, and English are spoken, and French, Latin, Japanese and Italian are also used for hotel names; such mixed use is related to the historical, political and social, economic, ethnic, cultural and linguistic aspects of Macau. Therefore, based on the analysis framework of previous studies by Linneman and Fether (1964), Marie Antoinette Rieger (2013), Alina Bugheşiu (2013), etc., this paper examines the universality and specificity of the names of 5-star and 4-star hotels in Macau from sociolinguistic and nomenclature perspectives.”

Keywords: Macau, Hotel, Name, Symbolism, Sociolinguistics