Linguistic Intermarriage in Australia

Between Pride and Shame

  • Hanna Irving Torsh

About this book


This book examines the experiences of couples with different language backgrounds and different cultural origins as they negotiate love, partnership and parenting. It is based on the author’s doctoral research into the attitudes and experiences of the English-speaking background (ESB) partners of non-English-speaking background (NESB) migrants in Sydney, Australia. In particular, it seeks to understand how these English speakers negotiate being in a romantic relationship with someone who has a different first language. It explores how those from an ESB reconcile the negative perspectives of Anglophone culture towards “other” languages, with their desire to be a good partner who respects the linguistic differences in their relationship. The book is organised into six chapters, which move from a focus on the language of the individual, to the languages of the couple, and then to the wider family. The main finding is that although ESB partners had very different beliefs and attitudes towards language learning to their migrant partners, they attempted to compensate for these differences in various ways. It will be of particular interest to students and scholars in the fields of language education, minority languages, and language policy and planning. 

Hanna Irving Torsh is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Linguistics in the Faculty of Human Sciences at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. She was awarded a Macquarie Research Excellence Scholarship in 2012 and contributes to the peer-reviewed sociolinguistic research site, Language on the Move.


family language policy language learning native-speakerism multilingual practices couple relationships intercultural couples racism bilingual childcare bilingual households transnational migration

Authors and affiliations

  • Hanna Irving Torsh
    • 1
  1. 1.SydneyAustralia

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