What is Language For? “Other” vs. “Heritage” Language Education in Australia

May 30, 2013 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Australia is an ethno-linguistically diverse country with more than 15% of people speaking languages other than English, or a heritage language, at home. While learning English can contribute to immigrant students’ socioeconomic and educational success, heritage language maintenance facilitates maintaining ties with family and community members unable to speak English, avoiding a potential generation gap in immigrant families. Heritage language maintenance refers to a situation where immigrants continue using their languages in a host society. Additionally, maintaining a heritage language and ethnic identity are interconnected; individuals who lost their heritage languages reported feeling as though a part of their identities were missing. Finally, heritage language maintenance promotes multilingualism in society, which facilitates economic, cultural and political communications among countries. […]