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

General discussion about learning languages
User avatar
PeterMollenburg
Brown Belt
Posts: 1477
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:54 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), French (B2-certified), Dutch (High A2?), Spanish (~A1), German (long-forgotten 99%)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=784
x 2594

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

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:34 am

AlexTG wrote:Here's an interesting table of data from the 1996 census, wish I could get a more up to date version.

(keep in mind that a lot of the second generation are children)

(source)


I am a part of that 95.9% statistic. I have read before that in terms of Dutch emigrants
migrating to other parts of the world in past times, they have been recorded to be the fastest in letting go of their own language culture and adapting the new one of the land they emigrated to. Whether this is a sign of adaptability, lack of linguistic and clutural pride or both has been something some researchers have explored at times. The conclusion from my readings appears to be a mixture of both. Emigrants today from The Netherlands might approach their language differently as pride with the Dutch language at the time when Dutch people migrated to North America in early settlement days was rather low. Today the language is not so downtrodden with respect to other European languages (eg French/English were often seen as superior languages to Dutch back then). This could also explain that the Dutch weren't as 'pushy' to spread their language from what I can gather in former colonies than were the British and French for example.
1 x

User avatar
Saim
Orange Belt
Posts: 154
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:14 pm
Location: Poznań
Languages: N: English (AU)
C2: Catalan, Spanish, ~Serbian
~C1: Polish
~B2: Urdu, Hungarian
~B1-A2 (some rusty): Hebrew, Punjabi, Galician, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, Asturian, Occitan, Dutch, French
~A2/1 (mostly rusty): Slovene, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Turkish, Basque, Arabic
x 341

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

Postby Saim » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:09 pm

Finny wrote:We're definitely moving toward a world where only a handful of languages are spoken; it's just a question of which ones they'll be. I doubt any of the biggest 100 will vanish in our lifetimes (i.e., within the next 50 years), but beyond that...


Unless there's a radical change in how we're doing things, it'll be the vast majority of them. We haven't really found any way to reverse language shift, only to slow it down. People claim triumphantly that Catalan, Welsh, Basque and so on have managed it but as far as I can tell they're still agonising. Even Ukrainian's not looking too tip-top although maybe the current violent conflict will end up changing language use and attitudes among Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians.

Unfortunately I think many of the languages on that list that will die out if we do nothing about it. Specifically:

Wu
Yue
Jin
Southern Min
Xiang
Sundanese
Sindhi
Awadhi
Gan
Kurmanji
Saraiki
Marwari
Magahi
Haryanvi
Chattisgarhi
Northern Min
Sylheti
Eastern Min
Dhundari
Hmong
Uyghur
Belarusian
Balochi


They wouldn't disappear completely within our lifetimes, but I can see Wu, Haryanvi and Sundanese becoming as marginal in 100 years as Occitan or Breton are now. Also Belarusian at least is in quite an advanced stage of language replacement.

AlexTG wrote:Here's an interesting table of data from the 1996 census, wish I could get a more up to date version.

(keep in mind that a lot of the second generation are children)

(source)


There's a positive takeaway from this: in general the more recent groups show higher levels of retention than the older waves of migration (Germans, Dutch). The worst of the recent groups are the Filipinos, something I suspected already given what I know about the Filipinos I've met in Australia.
1 x

DaveBee
Blue Belt
Posts: 705
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:49 pm
Location: UK
Languages: English (native). French (studying).
x 898

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

Postby DaveBee » Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:18 pm

In New South Wales, only about 10 per cent of HSC students undertook a second language in 2013. In Western Australia, less than half of public schools offer second language programs. Victoria is the only state to have mandatory language learning policy from prep to Year 10.
Is there a default L2 taught in Australian schools? In UK state schools it used to be L2 French, L3 German anything else being done outside school, typically heritage languages.

(Spanish is very popular among part-time evening classes for adults. Spain is a popular holiday destination, and there a lot of British ex-pats living there now.)
0 x
FR films: 55 / 100, FR books: 32 / 35

User avatar
Saim
Orange Belt
Posts: 154
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:14 pm
Location: Poznań
Languages: N: English (AU)
C2: Catalan, Spanish, ~Serbian
~C1: Polish
~B2: Urdu, Hungarian
~B1-A2 (some rusty): Hebrew, Punjabi, Galician, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, Asturian, Occitan, Dutch, French
~A2/1 (mostly rusty): Slovene, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Turkish, Basque, Arabic
x 341

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

Postby Saim » Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:32 pm

DaveBee wrote:Is there a default L2 taught in Australian schools?


No, it depends on the school. The most common language taught is probably Japanese. Most schools would probably have that and at least one European language (French, German, Italian or Spanish). Mandarin, Korean and Indonesian are also offered in some places.

For example:

-I went to a public primary school in a small-ish town in Southeast Queensland. There they had Japanese from fifth grade onwards. When I reached fifth grade, they bumped it up to sixth grade. Before that there was no foreign language.

-Then from sixth to ninth grade I went to a Montessori school. In sixth grade there was no foreign language. In seventh and eighth grade there was after-school (extracurricular) Italian offered. In eight grade there was French. In ninth grade we could choose Mandarin or French. I think it really depended on the availability of teachers, they kind of came and went (it's not that there was Italian for all grade sevens and eights, but that they happened to have an Italian teacher at the time, who later left).

-From tenth to twelfth grade I was back in a (fairly large and somewhat prestigious in the area) public school. There they offered Spanish and Japanese. Taking a foreign language was only compulsory if you were in the International Baccalaureate program. If you followed the local curriculum you'd get an extra point towards your final grade ("OP") or something, but "LOTE" ("language other than English") was strictly optional and probably most students didn't take it.
2 x

User avatar
Adrianslont
Green Belt
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:39 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), Indonesian (lower intermediate?) French (A2?)
x 359

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

Postby Adrianslont » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:24 pm

DaveBee wrote:
In New South Wales, only about 10 per cent of HSC students undertook a second language in 2013. In Western Australia, less than half of public schools offer second language programs. Victoria is the only state to have mandatory language learning policy from prep to Year 10.
Is there a default L2 taught in Australian schools? In UK state schools it used to be L2 French, L3 German anything else being done outside school, typically heritage languages.

(Spanish is very popular among part-time evening classes for adults. Spain is a popular holiday destination, and there a lot of British ex-pats living there now.)

It's hard to give numbers for "australia" because each state has its own education system and within each state there are both government and independent schools - chasing up stats would be a bit time consuming and require a calculator. However, I quickly looked up the numbers for my state, New South Wales, which is also the most populous state. I include them below. I have looked up numbers for primary school (2012) - where language study tends to be very limited to the basics - there is no public examination for languages at this level. I have also included the Higher School Certificate (2016) numbers. The HSC is the public exam at the end of high school. The numbers are very low.

My thoughts: The high numbers in Chinese reflect the current wave of immigration and the fact that China is our largest trading partner, French and German reflect "tradition", Japanese reflects that Japan is our second largest trading partner and there was a huge push from the department of education to promote Japanese in the 80s. Italian probably reflects fashion and the large number of Italian migrants in the 60s.

Languages in government primary schools
1 Chinese (Mandarin) 18 771
2. Italian 14193
3 Arabic 9220
4 French 7445
5 Vietnamese 6191
6 Japanese 4592
7 Greek 4195
8 Indonesian 3472
9 Aboriginal languages* 2389
10 Spanish 1539

Languages in independent primary schools
1 French 11 649
2 Japanese 4928
3 Chinese (Mandarin) 4496
4 Arabic 4460
5 Italian 2740
6 Indonesian 2338
7 Spanish 2335
8 German 2114
9 Greek 1061
10 Aboriginal languages 22

Top 5 Languages at NSW HSC
1. French 1412
2. Japanese 1368
3. Chinese 908
4. Italian 725
5. German 362

Edit: clarified that the final list is the top five languages only. Other languages are studied in smaller numbers.
Last edited by Adrianslont on Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
3 x
: 2779 / 10000 SRS 10k challenge
: 220 / 610 610 days

User avatar
Adrianslont
Green Belt
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:39 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), Indonesian (lower intermediate?) French (A2?)
x 359

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

Postby Adrianslont » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:07 am

DaveBee wrote:
In New South Wales, only about 10 per cent of HSC students undertook a second language in 2013. In Western Australia, less than half of public schools offer second language programs. Victoria is the only state to have mandatory language learning policy from prep to Year 10.
Is there a default L2 taught in Australian schools? In UK state schools it used to be L2 French, L3 German anything else being done outside school, typically heritage languages.

(Spanish is very popular among part-time evening classes for adults. Spain is a popular holiday destination, and there a lot of British ex-pats living there now.)

Here are a few more paragraphs I just found that elaborate on language education in NSW and add information about what happens in the junior high school years, which I forgot to mention. Note that there are both compulsory and elective language studies in those years.

"About 30–40% of NSW primary schools have a language program, with the majority situated in the Sydney metropolitan area. Where languages are taught, lessons are typically 30–40 minutes once a week with a specialist primary language teacher who uses one of the Board’s K–10 syllabuses, which are available in 17 languages.

In Years 7–10, students are required to undertake 100 hours of language learning. This generally occurs in classrooms with students of different levels of exposure and ability. In most cases, elective language classes in Years 9 and 10 are quite small in number.

By the HSC, only about 10% of students undertake a language course. There are many reasons for this, including the perceived difficulty and lack of relevance of languages, the low parental and community value placed on languages, the lack of continuity between primary and secondary school, and staffing and resource issues.
There are 63 senior secondary language courses. Some languages have differentiated courses – Beginners, Continuers, Extension, Heritage and Background Speakers – and entry is governed by the Board’s eligibility criteria."

Edit: typos
3 x
: 2779 / 10000 SRS 10k challenge
: 220 / 610 610 days

DaveBee
Blue Belt
Posts: 705
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:49 pm
Location: UK
Languages: English (native). French (studying).
x 898

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

Postby DaveBee » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:15 am

Adrianslont wrote:My thoughts: The high numbers in Chinese reflect the current wave of immigration and the fact that China is our largest trading partner, French and German reflect "tradition", Japanese reflects that Japan is our second largest trading partner and there was a huge push from the department of education to promote Japanese in the 80s. Italian probably reflects fashion and the large number of Italian migrants in the 60s.
Re: french. There are some island nations near-ish to Australia where french is spoken. Not vast numbers. And the french empire hung on in indochina until the 1950s.
0 x
FR films: 55 / 100, FR books: 32 / 35

User avatar
Adrianslont
Green Belt
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:39 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), Indonesian (lower intermediate?) French (A2?)
x 359

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

Postby Adrianslont » Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:37 am

DaveBee wrote:
Adrianslont wrote:My thoughts: The high numbers in Chinese reflect the current wave of immigration and the fact that China is our largest trading partner, French and German reflect "tradition", Japanese reflects that Japan is our second largest trading partner and there was a huge push from the department of education to promote Japanese in the 80s. Italian probably reflects fashion and the large number of Italian migrants in the 60s.
Re: french. There are some island nations near-ish to Australia where french is spoken. Not vast numbers. And the french empire hung on in indochina until the 1950s.

Certainly the prospect of a school trip to New Caledonia has encouraged some children to elect to do French.

I'm not exactly sure how much French survives in the former French Indochina - I suspect very little and mainly amongst the quite old. I have met many (hundreds) of newly arrived Vietnamese in Sydney and they do not speak French - some of the older ones did study it in school but couldn't hold a conversation. I have been to Cambodia and seen young tour guides leading tours of french tourists using the language quite well but I have also seen the same in Bali, which doesn't have the french colonial history.

I think the large presence of French in the curriculum is due mostly to old British ties and French being forever "fashionable".

I also forgot to mention "Saturday Schools of Community Languages". These are classes where young migrants or Heritage speakers can optionally go to learn/maintain their language skills. I don't have numbers but a list of schools and the languages includes Arabic, Korean, Vietnamese, Greek, Serbian, Polish, Turkish, Khmer, Hindi, Bengali, Croatian and others already mentioned.
2 x
: 2779 / 10000 SRS 10k challenge
: 220 / 610 610 days

nooj
Yellow Belt
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:59 pm
Languages: english (n)
x 83

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

Postby nooj » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:00 am

Unfortunately (?) English has a stranglehold on the country.

The greatest example of this is the linguicide we see in the Aboriginal languages, i doubt most Australians could even name the traditional language of the area they live on.

I grew up in koreatown and although it is obvious that korean exists, i think this diversity is superficial and limited. You can maybe live in koreatown without having to use too much english (my mum for example) but no one only lives in koreatown: sydney as a whole does not have korean depth, so if you move out, you're screwed.

And the third or fourth generation (often the second), i think the language is gone, like it is for so many italians, lebanese, greeks, maltese etc. It is not sustainable without constant immigration.
0 x


Return to “General Language Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest