While talking to individuals about the linguistic nature of the market space earlier in the day, I will still struggling to find linguistic diversity in action, other than the market visitors communicating in languages other than English, until…

I came across a stall selling South American goods, in which one of stall owners began to play a song on his guitar in language other than English (yet to find out which language). I asked them about the song, and what it meant. He mentioned:

“It’s a song from the Andes, Ecuador, it’s about love”.

He talked about how in this type of music they sing about life, nature, about “the beautiful things that they see”, they places they visit, the people they meet. This encounter really gave me an insight into the pride that can be related to one’s mother tongue, and how individuals may employ music to express their linguistic and cultural identity.

South American stall playing music at Glebe markets

At the final store that I came across, the stall owner was reading a paper in a non-English language. I asked her about it and she said it was a newspaper in mandarin. I asked her about the content, i.e if it’s Australian news, Chinese news etc. She said:

“First it’s Australian news, then Chinese, Hong Kong, and Indonesian.”

She mentioned that she had a good grasp of written English, but preferred to read the mandarin paper as this was her native language.

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Newspaper in Mandarin belonging to a stall owner

This gave me a deeper insight into my previous questions on monolingual attitudes, and questions that we formed in class on whether individuals felt comfortable speaking and interacting in their own language. It seemed that just from listening, many individuals at Glebe Markets, feel comfortable speaking their native tongue, and from stall owners, they comfortably switch to English when shopping. People are proud, and even express their language through mediums such as music, willing to share their linguistic identity, and how it is part of their everyday life.

Next time: I plan on having a chat with tourists at the market who are found interacting in both their native tongue, and English. How do they feel about language use, do they fell there are certain attitudes towards their non-English language?

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