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Current Projects

Current projects

Models of Bilingual Practice: The Experiences of Bilingual Speech Pathologists in Australia

Peter Roger, Jae-Hyun Kim, Scott Barnes


Speech Pathology has traditionally been, and remains to some extent, a linguistically homogeneous profession. This is slowly changing and there are now increasing numbers of speech pathologists (hereafter SPs) in Australia who are able to speak and understand a language (or languages) other than English to a high level. Little is known, however, about the ways in which these bilingual (and sometimes multilingual) SPs use their knowledge of languages other than English in their professional practice. This project aims to provide the first comprehensive picture of the way in which bilingual SPs use (and do not use) their knowledge of other languages and cultures as part of their professional practice Australia. This is important as a first step to incorporating this element into professional degrees in speech pathology. This research will also highlight ways in which diverse language skills of practising SPs could be more efficiently used in public and community health settings, where existing position descriptions take little account of a person's capacity to practice in two or more languages.

Translanguaging in teaching and learning

Sue OllerheadAlice Chik, Emilia Djonov; Gill Pennington; Louie Liang (HDR); Teguh Khaerudin (HDR)


This proposed three-year investigation aims to provide empirical evidence of the learning and teaching opportunities that can arise when students’ full multilingual repertoires are leveraged by educational settings. Translanguaging, a process whereby multilingual speakers use all of their languages to communicate, whether for asking questions, providing answers, or participating in any other communication, is a valuable resource for teaching and learning in contemporary linguistically diverse classrooms. When enacted in teaching and learning, translanguaging enables students to employ their full range of linguistic and cultural knowledge in the learning process. This not only promotes deeper and more connected understanding of content across the curriculum for all students, but also helps bridge spaces between educational institutions, families and communities.

The geolinguistics of multilingual Australia

Phil Benson, Andrew Burridge, Michael Chang, Alice Chik, Nick Parr and Sheruni de Alwis

Geolinguistics is the study of language and languages in their geographical and demographic contexts, using census statistics and other quantitative and qualitative data. There have been many publications on multilingualism in Australia, but there is no significant overview study of the languages of Australia, their geographical and social distribution, and their characteristics as community languages in Australia. 2016 Census statistics show that there are 119 languages in Australia with 1,000 or more speakers, and 235 with 100 or more speakers. For many of these languages, there is no significant documentation of the geographical origins of speakers, their distribution and specific characteristics in Australia, language maintenance, and use in the community. This project will address these issues through a suite of projects—using Census data and other public statistics, data on community language education, interview data with multilingual speakers, and observational data on community language use—aiming at a comprehensive documentation and analysis of Australian multilingualism from a geolinguistic perspective.

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Family histories of multilingualism in multicultural Australia

Alice Chik, Phil Benson, Tanya EvanSun Jun Joo (HDR), and Silvia Melo Pfeifer (Hamburg)

Migrants bring community languages to Australia, but community language use tends to decline across generations. This project adopts a family history approach to address important gaps in our knowledge between multilingualism and multiculturalism. It will examine how, where, when and why multilingual families learn and use community languages and English across generations. Many migrants adopt English in favour of their community languages. Their children and grandchildren adopt English as their native language, with only a minority learning the languages of their parents or grandparents. This process, known as intergenerational language shift, is typical of international migration. Language loss can lead to the fracturing of intergenerational ties and social and cultural identities. This can also impact literacy attainment, in both English and home languages, among the younger generations. The full import of community language use can only be understood in the context of family education and language policies, intergenerational experiences of family groups, and the lives of family members in the community. The sharing of family stories and discussions about language use and acquisition allows families to make meaning of the past in their present lives.

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