“Speak English or die!”

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    About a year ago, a video of a language-related altercation on a Melbourne bus was widely reported in the media and went viral on social media. The video and associated reports document the following sequence of events: Three French tourists, white women in their 20s, sat at the back of a late-night bus and sang a French song. This annoyed an Australian woman of similar age and racial appearance who began to shout “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.” Another bus passenger then told the French women to “speak English or die.” From around there, the video starts and shows a quickly escalating ugly scene dominated by a middle-aged white Australian male pushing a pram with a baby and with a bewildered four- or five-year-old kid in tow: the man is ranting abuse at the French women, including grotesque violent threats. After he gets off the bus, the window closest to the French women is smashed, presumably by something he throws.
    Original languageEnglish
    Specialist publicationLanguage on the move
    PublisherLanguage on the move
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2013

    Bibliographical note

    © 2018 Language on the Move. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • 200401 applied linguistics and educational linguistics
    • 200405 language in culture and society (sociolinguistics)


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