Is there are language gap between native English speakers and migrants?

A Sydney linguist is investigating how native English speakers in Australia talk with migrants from non-English talking backgrounds.

The research will observe intercultural communication within the office, together with workplaces, aged care amenities and cafes.

Study lead Professor Ingrid Piller of Macquarie University advised SBS News the undertaking is aimed toward discovering out how English speakers cope with growing linguistic variety, with the aim of higher integrating newcomers.

“We have a very good understanding of how difficult it can be for new migrants to gain the confidence to speak in English,” Prof Piller stated.

Shiva Motaghi-Tabari migrated to Australia ten years in the past from Iran.


“But what we don’t really know is how the majority of the population who speak English as their only language … Are contributing to making the linguistic experience of others a good one or maybe a difficult one.”

While 22 per cent of Australians converse a language aside from English at residence, this quantity reaches 34 per cent in Melbourne and 38 per cent in Sydney.

“So that really means we regularly need to communicate across different levels of proficiency in English (in Australia),” Prof Piller stated.

Macquarie University analysis fellow Shiva Motaghi-Tabari is engaged on the research. She arrived in Australia ten years in the past from Iran.

Dr Motaghi-Tabari studied English overseas, however struggled to speak and maintain conversations when she arrived in Australia.

“I remember that I was in a pharmacy with my daughter… I was looking in my purse, and the chemist asked something and I just heard ‘anything else’ and I said ‘no thank you’.”

“Then my daughter said ‘mum, he’s saying ‘any allergies” (but) my response was ‘no thanks’.”

Vera Williams Teteh is also involved in the study.

Vera Williams Teteh can also be concerned within the research.


“So these are the kind of conversational difficulties I had when I first came. You want to be a legitimate member of society… But these little experiences we just might see as mundane and minor can have an impact on feelings and self-esteem.”

Macquarie University analysis fellow Vera Williams Tetteh can also be engaged on the research. She arrived in Australia from Ghana in 1992.

“Usually the lens is turned on people like us who come here and speak and learn… But this time it’s taking the lens and going into the workplace and seeing what sort of dimensions are going on in language.”

It is hoped the research will spotlight the results poor communication has on a person and present socioeconomic advantages for establishments and people.

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