23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

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23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

Postby smallwhite » Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:33 am

SBS National Languages Competition: celebrating language learning

"Australia is one of the most linguistically diverse nations in the world but that doesn’t mean more of us are speaking languages other than English. An Australian Literary Review paper found language learning is dropping. In the 1960s 40 per cent of Year 12 students studied a second language compared to 12 per cent in 2007. SBS and Community Languages Australia have created a competition to encourage more young Australians to learn another language."
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Re: 23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

Postby Saim » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:48 am

It's good to see someone addressing this clear defect in Australia.

That said, the way the article frames it is a bit misleading -- far from being a "second" language, it's often the first or only language spoken at home.
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Re: 23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:14 am

smallwhite wrote:SBS National Languages Competition: celebrating language learning

"Australia is one of the most linguistically diverse nations in the world but that doesn’t mean more of us are speaking languages other than English. An Australian Literary Review paper found language learning is dropping. In the 1960s 40 per cent of Year 12 students studied a second language compared to 12 per cent in 2007. SBS and Community Languages Australia have created a competition to encourage more young Australians to learn another language."


This drop in percentage of learners does not surprise me in the slightest. It's very disappointing but it's the way it is. Despite the number of families using a language other than English at home it doesn't take away from the fact that this is an extremely Anglo country- what I mean there is that English dominates the whole continent. Why oh why couldn't the Dutch have settled here when they first landed? I know why (well i've read the 'explanations') it's just a damn shame the Portuguese, Dutch, French left it for the British. I don't mean that to come of racist, as it's not. I just would love to have seen the world in a more linguistically balanced place today. If Australia was a mixture of Dutch in the west and Portuguese in the east with French being the only language of all of Canada, or New France remained intact then we'd have a much more balanced linguistic arena (from the European language perspective of course).

Edit: I'm impressed with your signature bar or whatever it's called. You've started Hugo Dutch in 3 Months! Cool... and you're doing it in waves... I like it ! Now you need to convince me to to do Hugo Swedish in 3 Months ;) Sorry smallwhite not likely to happen, still I'd love to, just can't fit it into my schedule nor jam it in between the other languages on my wish list
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Re: 23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

Postby smallwhite » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:45 am

I find the wording in the article very confusing. When do they mean heritage language (called "community language" here) and when do they mean foreign language? And which one are they encouraging students to learn?

Lucky me my parents didn't put me into "Chinese school" back then, classes of which took place Sunday mornings :?




Yes, PM, and I'm loving Hugo Dutch in 3m! I did Hugo Swedish in waves with great success, so I'm doing it again with Dutch. I already know German and Swedish grammar, so the first wave for Dutch is just a quick overview and will only take about 2 hours for the whole book. The audio is excellent, btw. I used Hugo Swedish without audio.

I will not tempt you into Hugo Swedish because I admire your passion for French. But I can't resist mentioning that I think Hugo Swedish is just as good as if not better than Hugo Dutch! :P
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Re: 23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

Postby Adrianslont » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:18 am

Peter, I found the comment that English "dominates" the continent a bit odd. You don't live in Sydney, do you? Daily I hear numerous languages. I hear Serbian, French, German, Korean, Hindi and other Indian languages and various Chineses pretty much every day. And that's despite the fact that I travel to work in the hermetically sealed bubble of my car.

When I lived in another part of town you could add Greek, Italian, Vietnamese and Portuguese. My kids went to a pretty "white" primary school with a total enrolment of about 150 kids from approximately 50 ethnic backgrounds.

English is the national language and we know that means you need it to get ahead but diversity rules.

Yes, it's a pity languages aren't more often studied in schools. It's seems it's mostly the same factors that mean foreign language learning doesn't really thrive in the US and UK.

I'm not so sure Australia would have been better served by Dutch colonisation when you look at the standard of living in former Dutch colonies.
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Re: 23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:34 am

smallwhite wrote:Yes, PM, and I'm loving Hugo Dutch in 3m! I did Hugo Swedish in waves with great success, so I'm doing it again with Dutch. I already know German and Swedish grammar, so the first wave for Dutch is just a quick overview and will only take about 2 hours for the whole book. The audio is excellent, btw. I used Hugo Swedish without audio.

I will not tempt you into Hugo Swedish because I admire your passion for French. But I can't resist mentioning that I think Hugo Swedish is just as good as if not better than Hugo Dutch! :P


2 hours, that's pretty decent efficiency at work there ;) And thanks for the admiration of my passion for French. hmmm Hugo Swedish is better hey? If I ever venture down the Swedish road, I'll be sure to put the Hugo Swedish in 3 Months course near the top of the likely 50 Swedish courses that I'm bound to collect in preparation for maybe studying it one day when I turn 75 (at my current pace). oh have you tried any of the Hugo Advanced courses? (sorry going off topic I know).

Adrianslont wrote:Peter, I found the comment that English "dominates" the continent a bit odd. You don't live in Sydney, do you? Daily I hear numerous languages. I hear Serbian, French, German, Korean, Hindi and other Indian languages and various Chineses pretty much every day. And that's despite the fact that I travel to work in the hermetically sealed bubble of my car.

When I lived in another part of town you could add Greek, Italian, Vietnamese and Portuguese. My kids went to a pretty "white" primary school with a total enrolment of about 150 kids from approximately 50 ethnic backgrounds.

English is the national language and we know that means you need it to get ahead but diversity rules.

Yes, it's a pity languages aren't more often studied in schools. It's seems it's mostly the same factors that mean foreign language learning doesn't really thrive in the US and UK.

I'm not so sure Australia would have been better served by Dutch colonisation when you look at the standard of living in former Dutch colonies.


I live just outside Melbourne and up until very recently worked for years in the western suburbs. I'm a nurse and 8 out of 10 patients (on re-reading I realise I've exaggerated I think, maybe it was 5 or 6/10) came from a background in which English was their weaker (or non-existent language). Unfortunately their dominant language was literally never French (why did I choose to study it? ;) ) Anyway I know what you're saying, other languages are everywhere in the bit cities. I could start a Melbourne/Sydney rivalry thing and argue Melbourne is more multicultural than Sydney ;) What I am getting at that to me, almost no matter where you go in this country you really must have English or you will find it very difficult to function. Of course if you are from another country it's probably very easy to live in a say Greek or Vietnamese or Italian bubble and never use English, but i'm not part of one of those bubbles so I don't float around in it. EVEN with more Greeks living in Melbourne than anywhere else on Earth except Athens (ie it's supposedly the 2nd biggest 'Greek city' after Athens) English still dominates. I totally get your point Adrianslont and I agree with you, but despite all the mxture here English imo is still dominant. I think we are likely to agree to disagree on this though.

I don't think you can necessarily believe that if Australia were a Dutch colony it would've had a pretty poor standard of living just because other Dutch colonies did. Perhaps part of the reason British colonies had a higher standard was because they continued to be the most powerful empire. Had the Dutch been the most powerful (continued to be) then perhaps the standard of living would've been just as high. Still I meant it from a fanciful perspective of language mainly.
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Re: 23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

Postby Adrianslont » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:36 am

I knew you were being fanciful/whimsical, Peter. :) I just wanted people to get a more complete picture. I used to work with new arrivals to Australia and so many - probably most - of them were surprised to find how multicultural Sydney/Australia is.

And although the national language "dominates" as a national/official language usually does, the governments do a pretty extensive job of providing information and services in different languages e.g in New South Wales the drivers licence test comes in ten different languages or you can have an interpreter if you don't know any of those.

And SBS is a good public broadcaster - TV and radio - for those who don't know it. Radio/podcasts shows/news come in 74 different languages. If you are studying Dinka, Hmong, Amharic or 71 other languages and want some podcasts, try SBS. I love the fact that SBS exists. I listen to their Indonesian podcast for practice and that's great because Indonesia itself doesn't have a podcast culture (that I can find). I especially enjoy that those podcasts usually highlight the relationship between Indonesia and Australia.
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Re: 23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

Postby rdearman » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:48 am

Adrianslont wrote:I knew you were being fanciful/whimsical, Peter. :) I just wanted people to get a more complete picture. I used to work with new arrivals to Australia and so many - probably most - of them were surprised to find how multicultural Sydney/Australia is.

And although the national language "dominates" as a national/official language usually does, the governments do a pretty extensive job of providing information and services in different languages e.g in New South Wales the drivers licence test comes in ten different languages or you can have an interpreter if you don't know any of those.

And SBS is a good public broadcaster - TV and radio - for those who don't know it. Radio/podcasts shows/news come in 74 different languages. If you are studying Dinka, Hmong, Amharic or 71 other languages and want some podcasts, try SBS. I love the fact that SBS exists. I listen to their Indonesian podcast for practice and that's great because Indonesia itself doesn't have a podcast culture (that I can find). I especially enjoy that those podcasts usually highlight the relationship between Indonesia and Australia.


I did a google search, but I'm going to take a wild guess that SBS != Special Boat Services, or NHS Shared Business Service, or Small Business Sunday, so could you give a link?
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Re: 23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

Postby Adrianslont » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:55 am

rdearman wrote:
Adrianslont wrote:I knew you were being fanciful/whimsical, Peter. :) I just wanted people to get a more complete picture. I used to work with new arrivals to Australia and so many - probably most - of them were surprised to find how multicultural Sydney/Australia is.

And although the national language "dominates" as a national/official language usually does, the governments do a pretty extensive job of providing information and services in different languages e.g in New South Wales the drivers licence test comes in ten different languages or you can have an interpreter if you don't know any of those.

And SBS is a good public broadcaster - TV and radio - for those who don't know it. Radio/podcasts shows/news come in 74 different languages. If you are studying Dinka, Hmong, Amharic or 71 other languages and want some podcasts, try SBS. I love the fact that SBS exists. I listen to their Indonesian podcast for practice and that's great because Indonesia itself doesn't have a podcast culture (that I can find). I especially enjoy that those podcasts usually highlight the relationship between Indonesia and Australia.


I did a google search, but I'm going to take a wild guess that SBS != Special Boat Services, or NHS Shared Business Service, or Small Business Sunday, so could you give a link?


That's http://www.sbs.com.au I hope there's something of interest for you, rdearman.
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Re: 23% of Australians speak a second language at home...

Postby rdearman » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:02 pm

Adrianslont wrote:
rdearman wrote:
Adrianslont wrote:I knew you were being fanciful/whimsical, Peter. :) I just wanted people to get a more complete picture. I used to work with new arrivals to Australia and so many - probably most - of them were surprised to find how multicultural Sydney/Australia is.

And although the national language "dominates" as a national/official language usually does, the governments do a pretty extensive job of providing information and services in different languages e.g in New South Wales the drivers licence test comes in ten different languages or you can have an interpreter if you don't know any of those.

And SBS is a good public broadcaster - TV and radio - for those who don't know it. Radio/podcasts shows/news come in 74 different languages. If you are studying Dinka, Hmong, Amharic or 71 other languages and want some podcasts, try SBS. I love the fact that SBS exists. I listen to their Indonesian podcast for practice and that's great because Indonesia itself doesn't have a podcast culture (that I can find). I especially enjoy that those podcasts usually highlight the relationship between Indonesia and Australia.


I did a google search, but I'm going to take a wild guess that SBS != Special Boat Services, or NHS Shared Business Service, or Small Business Sunday, so could you give a link?


That's http://www.sbs.com.au I hope there's something of interest for you, rdearman.

Cool! They have podcasts in every language I'm learning except Esperanto. :)
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