It’s a weeknight at the Sydney Town Hall, an ornate 19th century building in the city centre. Almost everyone bustling in the entryway is of Chinese extraction, except the ushers (and me). They’re all ages, and as I pour inside with them I hear Cantonese, Mandarin, Hakka, and a little English. There are posters and flyers using simplified and traditional Chinese characters alongside English text. These scripts are not in-text translations but code-switching sentences working together within each ad to sell Australian Ugg boots or New Zealand throat lozenges. The ticket I hold and the banners on stage are also multilingual. They read “The Voice of China 中国好声音 澳大利亚招募站 Season 4 Australia Audition”. The tickets were free and ‘sold out’ days before this event. It’s the final audition – in a live concert format – for the upcoming season of a popular reality TV franchise, based on ‘Voice of Holland’, and available on a subscription channel in Australia. This is the first season of ‘Voice of China’ in which ‘Overseas Chinese’ can compete for the chance to be ‘The Australian Contender’ and flown to mainland China to film the series.
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- 200401 applied linguistics and educational linguistics
- 200405 language in culture and society (sociolinguistics)