Hanging by a thread – Challenges in preserving home language in Australia

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According to 2021 Census data (ABS), 23% of the Australian population speak one of 400 languages other than English, 167 of which are indigenous languages. Apart from about 15 languages, the rest have less than 100,000 speakers and many of these languages experience a decline in the number of speakers between each census year.
In the case of some of these languages, the decline in the number of speakers is an indication of the assimilation of the 2nd and 3rd generation, the halted wave of immigration, and the lack of programs to preserve the home language.
Among the languages that are struggling to survive in Australia is Croatian. The actual number of speakers is difficult to determine (according to the 2021 Census, about 60,000), however, it is not difficult to conclude that this number is declining as indicated by the decreasing number of children in community language programs, decreasing number of students taking Croatian in year 12, decreasing number of parishioners in Croatian churches and the fact that English is the language of official communication at almost all major events in the Croatian community.
In this paper, a selection of data will be presented that has been collected via questionnaires and semi-structured interviews as part of the "Social and affective factors in the maintenance of the native language - Croatian in Australia" research project. The focus will be on challenges and obstacles faced by families who at least to some extent use the Croatian language in their everyday life and on the strategies they use to preserve the language and possibly pass it on to the next generation.
Period26 Jun 2023
Event titleInternational Symposium on Bilingualism (14th : 2023)
Event typeConference
LocationSydney, AustraliaShow on map