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Bec Howie & Penny Wilson

The Language Learning Landscape in Australia

Full Title: The Language Learning Landscape in Australia: Observations by Two Australian Language Lovers Australia is a hugely multicultural place that is richer for the waves of immigration that have brought people here from all around the world. Despite the diversity of cultural and linguistic groups that live together in this country (and the fact that before immigration, Australia was home to hundreds of indigenous languages – sadly only a fraction remain spoken today), we have seen first-hand that languages other than English simply have not been valued for various reasons, leaving a long-lasting perception with many Australians that languages are not a priority, too hard to learn, or not important when English is so dominant. In this presentation, we’ll provide an insight into our observations of the ‘language learning landscape’ here in Australia, our experiences of learning other languages at school and university in Australia, how things have changed and what we’d like to see in the future.

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8 Comments

  • ElderPolyglot says:

    New Zealand presents an interesting contras to Australia. Te reo Maori is a single language that is learnable, and it is actually going mainstream. Perhaps “colorism” matters. Australian aborigines are dark, and all humans seem negatively disposed towards dark people. By contrast, New Zealand was colonized 1000 years ago by whitish polynesians. The “paheka” admired the haka war dance that has certainly gone mainstream. And it carries the language!

  • Thank you so much for this presentation! Great to hear both of your stories and let’s encourage that multilingualism!

  • stevenneoh says:

    Just wanted to say that I love love LOVE SBS Australia and think it’s an excellent resource for language learning. Can’t think of many countries where something like that would get off the ground, so well done Australia!

  • This was great, and very interesting to hear about the language environment in Australia. So true that multilingualism should be perceived as a normal situation and something to aim for.

  • joshapolyglot@gmail.com says:

    This was quite nice.

  • So great to hear and SEE you both ladies :_ Penny, I love how you say you travel to learn, I’m 100% with you on that. I love my language holidays. Can’t wait to get back on the road

  • Anonymous says:

    So great to hear and SEE you both ladies :_ Penny, I love how you say you travel to learn, I’m 100% with you on that. I love my language holidays. Can’t wait to get back on the road 🙂

  • Uliana says:

    Hello from Brisbane and thanks for an awesome presentation! “Looking for the DVDs in French” must have been hard but learning Chinese with a paper dictionary was the next level hard haha.

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