2019 Lectures in Linguistic Diversity series
Tuesday, June 04, 2:00-3:00pm, AHH 1.602
Van Tran, Charles Sturt University, Factors affecting home language proficiency and use among Vietnamese-Australian children
Abstract: The Vietnamese language is spoken by 300,000 people in Australia, equivalent to 1.2% of the country’s population and Vietnamese is in the top four most common languages other than English spoken in the country. Studies in home language maintenance show a tendency of language loss from the second generation onwards. With the first wave of Vietnamese immigrants coming to Australia in the 1970-80s, the Vietnamese community in Australia is experiencing a critical time in terms of maintaining their home language. Home language maintenance can be observed through indicators including language use and language proficiency (with speaking and understanding as oral proficiency and writing and reading as written proficiency). This study surveyed a total of 271 Vietnamese-Australian families regarding their children’s language proficiency and use and associated factors. Factors under examination belonged to four groups: child, parent, family, and community factors. Bivariate analyses including Pearson correlation and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were conducted to explore the associations between language proficiency and use and a range of child, family and community factors. Multiple regression was later conducted to further explore the relative associations of significant bivariate factors and language proficiency and use. Notably, this study has found that factors significantly associated with child language proficiency and use are more related to parents than to children, family, or community. Moreover, no significant correlation was found between child language proficiency and use and a range of factors including children’s Vietnamese community language school attendance, parents’ gender and education, presence of relatives, and availability of community meeting places.