Linguistic Shift and Heritage Language Retention in Australia

Reference work entry


Analysis of linguistic shift, heritage language retention, and the geolinguistics of post–World War II immigrants to Australia from non-English speaking backgrounds indicate the general acceptance of English as the language of choice. For many, linguistic shift is largely completed in the second generation. For fewer, heritage languages are largely retained into the third generation. However, while Australia will remain multilingual so long as immigration from non-English speaking sources continues at the rate of recent years, the general conclusion from intergenerational evidence of languages spoken at home from the 2011 Australian census is the demise of the use of heritage languages in the medium term except where they may be preserved independently of the home environment.


Linguistic shift Heritage languages Immigrant first through third generations Geolinguistics Melbourne Australia 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and PlanningMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of LinguisticsMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

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