Parramatta Findings 

The title reads OC SELECTIVE UMAT

Specialised tutoring


The sign goes onto describing the man’s experience in education and psychology and his success stories with other students. He also offers a guarantee through his trial tests, if a student’s marks do not improve there will be some kind of compensation. He then proceeds to describe how there is very little point in a student doing well in the HSC, but still failing their UMAT and never fulfilling their true potential. His tuition service is “one to one, face to face and in the comfort of your own home”.  

This tutoring advertisement was found near a bus stop in Parramatta – the cultural mecca of the western suburbs. It evidences many examples of code-switching such as the words “OC”, “UMAT” and “Trial test”. The advertisement is written in a traditional script of Chinese and the intended audience is most likely parents with primary to high school aged children. This distinction is particularly important as it points to the fact that the advertisement is for Chinese immigrants/Chinese diaspora in the 90s who now have given birth to first born Australian-Chinese Children. Another interesting note with this is the author’s use of code-switching with the word “SELECTIVE” in the Chinese script. This word to someone who has no contextual understanding of the word would mean “elite” or “specialised” however in the context of this advertisement, it takes on the meaning of “Selective” which is a test sat by year 5 students to try to land themselves a space in a selective school which shows an intertwining of the two cultures.

The presence of this advertisement is unsurprising as ABS statistics point to the presence of many Chinese speakers living in the area with Parramatta station which is connected to Westfield, being a hub for both parents who are shopping as well as students after school because there is a bus station nearby. Parramatta station is the central linking point for several schools in the area, one such school being Arthur Phillip High School in which 1000 students out of the 1, 100 students are of a non-English speaking background. With just under half of these students being of a Chinese-background (either international students from mainland China or Australian-Born-Chinese students). It is also important to note that this sign was found near a Chinese grocery store which is right outside of the station. An analysis of this sign can show how minority cultures are adapting and utilising the dominant culture and language around them and creating a third space where these two understandings intermingle.

Information collected by Elizabeth He and Emma Tang

New ‘Speciale’ Pizza Advertisement for Fratelli Fresh

Suburb: Parramatta

Date: 13/3/2018

Languages: English and Italian

Domain: Transport

This is a bus advertisement about a new item at the restaurant Fratelli Fresh. The advertisement seems pretty normal but I’d like to highlight the use of the Italian ‘speciale’ as opposed to the English ‘special’. The use of the former helps build upon the idea of the Italian-ness of the product – it is not only exceptional to Australians but perhaps also to Italians themselves. Such clever use of language, as well as the central location of the words ‘SPECIALE PIZZAS’, also helps construct a network that enforces Italian-ness as one connects the Italian words ‘bresaola’ (aged dried and salted meat originating from northern Italy) and ‘Fratelli’ (‘brothers’) to ‘speciale’. These words may also implicitly suggest a sense of tradition or closeness often associated with family and the process of food changing over time. This sense of closeness may also be suggested by the inclusive first-person plural pronoun ‘our’. What is most effective about this ad is perhaps the fact that one doesn’t need to understand Italian to know that ‘speciale’ means ‘special’, thus enforcing the Italian authenticity of the product with little effort on the viewer’s part. Because of this, I don’t think that the intended audience of the advertisement is solely people who can read and understand Italian but consumers in general. With this in mind, the author must’ve safely assumed that people could make the link between Italian ‘speciale’ and English ‘special’. Furthermore, whoever composed the advertisement has clearly intended for the Italian-ness of the product to have been processed by viewers as easily as possible, supported even by the prominent colours in the pizza: red, white, and green.

Information by Kenneth Revadulla


This was a networking event being held by the Community Migrant Resource Center (CMRC) in Parramatta for a start-up. The translation reads as follows: (Korean translation in bold)

NDIS PROVIDER Korean Workshop

The status and outlook of businesses

*Date/Time 2018/2/26 From 10am (runs for two hours)

*Address: L4, 1 Horwood Pl, Parramatta (Community Migrant Resource Centre)

*Host/Sponsor: Business Connect Multicultural Advisory Team

Limited spots available: 20 people (Networking and related resources)

Phone number: 0412 124 846


This sign was found after walking around near the train station at Parramatta. The sign code switches between English and Korean and uses key English lexical items which don’t have a direct translation in Korean, such as “NDIS PROVIDER”. This advertisement is not surprising given that Parramatta is undergoing massive renovations and turning into Sydney’s second CBD. The advertisement is for a Korean start-up business networking event which is analogous with the census data which shows that Parramatta has a sizeable Korean community (1.5%).

The polylanguaging used in the advertisement is also unsurprising given that the advertisement is run by the local migrant resource center and looks after many different ethnicities in the area including (but not limited to): Afghans, Syrians, Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, Filipinos and Vietnamese citizens who have migrated to Australia. They run grass-roots workshops to help migrants become more self-sufficient and are often sponsored by other local businesses.

One very interesting aspect is the existence of borrowed English words inside the Korean language. Examples include ‘workshop’ which is Romanised in korean as weo-ku-sho-pu and ‘networking’ which is Romanised as net-teu-wo-king. This advertisement clearly is only trying to reach out to the Korean community as all essential information is in Korean and the workshop will be hosted in Korean with opportunities to network with other Korean business owners.

Findings by Emma Tang


Coogee Findings

Heading Caption: Locos (plural for Crazy)

Suburb: Coogee Bay Road, Coogee

Author: Lyme Aid Charity Event

Date: 15/04/2018

Languages: English, Spanish

This photo is an example of polylanguaging and spontaneous borrowing. In our census data it was clear that English is the dominant language in the Coogee area. However, also in keeping with our census statistics, Spanish accounts for 2% of speakers and this minority could be a factor as to why the Spanish word for ‘crazy’, ‘locos’, was used as the name of this charity event. Just near this sign there was also an advertisement for a DJ Asado (Asado = ‘barbecue’ in Spanish) and Spanish could be heard amongst street chatter.

However, the term ‘loco’ is not any old word in Spanish, as it would likely be understood by many English speakers. It is a term used by people (especially youth) in situations of spontaneous borrowing. This is alongside words such as ‘amigo’ and ‘chica’. It is becoming a popular word to use, which could be due to a combination of globalization, multiculturalism and popculture (American television). Locos is also commonly sighted as a name of Mexican restaurants in Sydney. The interesting thing about the use of the term ‘loco(s)’ is that it is likely understood by most but requires no other proficiency in Spanish, thus making it an example of polylanguaging. However it is still not an example of borrowing, since we have an English equivalent (crazy), and ‘loco(s)’ is far from being universally accepted in Australia.

Observation: Whilst in and around Coogee on the beach I also noticed a girl selling empanadas. She was walking up to people on the beach saying , “I am selling empanadas.” Empanadas are a South American pastry (similar to an Aussie pie). From what I noticed nobody was buying these and I was able to make two assumptions: a) people were not hungry/interested in buying, and  b) people did not know what an empanada was.

From the above poster example, ‘locos’ is a word which most people would recognise to be Spanish and know its meaning. However ’empanada’ does not fall into the same category. While more and more Latinos are coming to Sydney, as there are more places that sell empanadas, it is still far from entering the English language as an example of ‘borrowing’ such as ‘sushi’ or ‘kebab’. Perhaps if the girl had said to people, “Would you like to buy a savoury pastry?” she may have had better results.

Information by Tasha Krasny


This week I searched areas around bus stops, and the bus stops themselves for signs of
polylanguaging. While the closest I could find to this on the actual bus stops themselves was an advertisement for Heineken, I did find a couple examples of polylanguaging being employed on nearby store signs. As these are intended to be seen by people travelling along the street by public transport or not, I felt that they fit the domain.

Coogee, 22/3/18, Italian and English Café sign

I found this sign to be very interesting as it contains a common English word, an Italian loan word, and an Italian word that is uncommon to see in a predominantly English-speaking environment. I believe names such as the one featured here to be attempting to draw the customer in with either an attempt to sound exotic, or an attempt to speak for the authenticity of the store, and I believe that to be the case here as well due to the demographic of the area and the lack of evidence toward foreign language communities displayed earlier.

Coogee, 22/3/18, Thai and English massage advertisement

This sign again incorporates English, a loan word (massage), and an element purely from a foreign language. This sign is almost definitely advertising itself based on an exotic charm, offering several massages purely in English along with a “Mum Sa Bai” massage, named after the store itself. The phrase “mum sa bai” apparently translates to “A relaxing corner”, a very apt name for a massage parlour.

Outside of these two examples I also found a Halal accreditation certificate featuring Arabic and English, which is a standard certificate not aimed at the demographic of the area. However, it does lend to the authenticity of the restaurant it is advertising for. I also overheard an elderly Chinese couple speaking mandarin at one of the bus stops, but they didn’t engage in any code switching/mixing outside of pronouncing the name “Maroubra” from a passing bus.

Information by Hugh McGregor


Suburb: Coogee

Date: 26/3/2018

Languages: English and Mandarin Chinese

Here is an interview with a Coogee resident about his code-mixing:

  1. What is language background and the level of proficiency of each language you speak?
    I speak English and Mandarin Chinese. I would say that I’m fluent in English but average with Chinese only in speaking, can’t really read and write.  Since I grew up here and only speak Chinese to my parents so there is like a limited context I can talk about (in Mandarin) like mostly about daily life and food in general.
  2. Have you come across the use of code-mixing? In other words, using 2 or more languages in single speeches.  Will you give an example too?
    Yes I have.  It normally happens to me when I attempt to talk in Chinese about something in depth.  There’ll be some words I can’t recall in Chinese so I just substitutes words in English since my parents and family friends normally understand it anyway.  I remember the last time I was talking to a relative about an assessment on the ecosystem, I just couldn’t come up with names like the Arctic ocean and polar bears in Chinese so I just said it (in English).
  3. Do you think that your residency has had an impact on your use of code-mixing?
    For sure. I have lived here my whole life and growing up I’m very used to speaking in English no matter if it is with my neighbours, friends or whoever.  Chinese has definitely become a secondary choice (of language), which in turns hasn’t allowed me to fully acquired it so some of the times it’s more helpful to mix in some English expressions and stuff.

Information by Richard Lau