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Language practices and attitudes of Australian children of Indian descent in a primary education setting

Journal Article


Abstract


  • This paper investigated linguistic practices and choices of Australian children of Indian descent, an under-researched group, who are studying Hindi in primary education. Data was collected using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with sixty participants across 3 primary schools in the Sydney area. The findings revealed, as expected, that being born in Australia was associated with greater use of English, and that it was the India-born students who saw a purpose in speaking their ‘mother tongue’. Of those children born in Australia, who had maintained their heritage language in the home, certain cultural groups-Nepalese and Punjabi- had stronger religious loyalties and favourable attitudes towards these languages. Furthermore, it was the grand-parents and non-working mothers who were driving the language maintenance process in the home environment. The conclusion highlights education as a driver for social mobility and raises questions about language and cultural shift as children from Indian backgrounds grow up and are educated in an Australian context.

Publication Date


  • 2018

Citation


  • Bissoonauth, A. (2018). Language practices and attitudes of Australian children of Indian descent in a primary education setting. International Journal of Multilingualism, 15 (1), 54-71.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85033387031

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/3234

Number Of Pages


  • 17

Start Page


  • 54

End Page


  • 71

Volume


  • 15

Issue


  • 1

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • This paper investigated linguistic practices and choices of Australian children of Indian descent, an under-researched group, who are studying Hindi in primary education. Data was collected using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with sixty participants across 3 primary schools in the Sydney area. The findings revealed, as expected, that being born in Australia was associated with greater use of English, and that it was the India-born students who saw a purpose in speaking their ‘mother tongue’. Of those children born in Australia, who had maintained their heritage language in the home, certain cultural groups-Nepalese and Punjabi- had stronger religious loyalties and favourable attitudes towards these languages. Furthermore, it was the grand-parents and non-working mothers who were driving the language maintenance process in the home environment. The conclusion highlights education as a driver for social mobility and raises questions about language and cultural shift as children from Indian backgrounds grow up and are educated in an Australian context.

Publication Date


  • 2018

Citation


  • Bissoonauth, A. (2018). Language practices and attitudes of Australian children of Indian descent in a primary education setting. International Journal of Multilingualism, 15 (1), 54-71.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85033387031

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/3234

Number Of Pages


  • 17

Start Page


  • 54

End Page


  • 71

Volume


  • 15

Issue


  • 1

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom