This subject was the one I found most difficult to collect data on based in no small part to the nature of services being that they are often private and conducted behind closed doors. My experience found that even in services advertised as dual language the staff would default to English, likely due to my caucasian appearance. In the doctor surgery I tried to see what language the receptionist would speak in to someone who appeared Chinese but the opportunity did not arise.
While this was not part of the language data collection for this assignment I do have a personal anecdote that relates to the topic of language choice. My dentist is in Marrickville and while my dentist does not speak Greek the owner and several of the staff do. I once had a last minute appointment and was in the chair when I heard a lot of yelling between the owner and the receptionist. I do not speak Greek but it was clear from the tone of the conversation that the owner of the practice was not yelling at the receptionist as such but was frustrated about something else. Everything was in Greek other than the repeated phrase “get her on the phone” and the receptionist was replying with “okay okay” and some longer Greek phrases.
The owner then walked past the door to the room I was in, saw me, and despite never having spoken to me before said “Do you speak Greek?” and when I assured him I didn’t, he visibly relaxed. My dentist joked with me that I should have lied and said I did. This revealed something very telling about the way that multilingual businesses are conducted. While the services are advertised in Greek, they still work under the assumption that their clientele are by and large monolingual or at least not fluent in Greek.
This was consistent in many of my findings. Often the language of the advertised signs were consistent with the nationality of the business owner not necessarily the patronage. I think that some services were offered in dual language because they are important to be accessible such as medical services, but others such as beauticians and hairdressers are not found as prevalently multilingual because there is no imperative that the person performing that service speak the same language as the customer.
Some of the services were difficult to illicit data from as they would see me and immediately greet me in English. It was difficult to know how often they were greeting people in English versus other languages. To try and get an understanding of this I called a few of the medical centres, all of which answered the phone in English. I also spent some time in one Cantonese speaking doctors waiting room. In the time I was observing the receptionist the majority of her conversations were in English however the few that were in Cantonese did involve code switching. The following words were commonly spoken in English –
- Medicare Card
I found Medicare Card to be an interesting example. While Medicare is a proper noun I would certainly expect there to be a Chinese word meaning card and therefore the term to be “Medicare [Cantonese word for card]” however in the view of the speaker Medicare Card was a single unit of meaning and therefore was not broken up between the two languages.
I also observed in some cases staff speaking between themselves in either Vietnamese or Greek but then switching to English to speak with customers even if they may have been Vietnamese or Greek themselves. This may be because the person working at the store may be unable to gauge the level to which the customer is comfortable in the marked language or simply out of habit. Overall when comparing on a superficial level I would say it is more common for services to be offered in a second language than for example retail signage to be offered in a second language but receptionists and customer facing staff generally spoke English as a norm. This is, I imagine, because when dealing with services such as lawyers, accountants and medical services it is important that the individual is able to fully comprehend all instructions whereas a retail transaction is more simple and may not require as much in depth understanding.
Throughout Marrickville many services had their signs in multiple languages, many choosing to use a language other than English as the dominant language on the sign. While many services are offered in Marrickville, the ones that most commonly had dual language signage seemed to be medical and allied health. Services such as beauticians, hairdressers and banks were typically signposted only in English.
One interesting exception to this is in the first image posted (posted in three parts, 1a, 1b and 1c). Westpac bank had an image of one of their local bankers with a caption both in English and Chinese. What made this even more interesting was the fact that the wording on each image was not the same. A gloss of the Chinese in picture 1b is “Do you want to know the quickest way to own your own home?” whereas the English in 1c is “We could help you get the home you really want.” There is obviously some pragmatic or contextual reason for this differentiation that I could not discern although it may be that first home buyers in the area are commonly Chinese speaking or that English speaking borrowers are commonly upgrading. I also would be interested to know why Westpac selected Chinese as the language in which to advertise. For small businesses it could come down to the nationality of the owner, however Westpac would be responding in some way to the demographics of the area. Given the ABS data does not suggest Chinese would be the best choice it would be interesting to know the basis by which they came to this strategic decision.
On a similar note, one thing that surprised me was the extreme prevalence of Chinese throughout Marrickville and Dulwich Hill. The data does not suggest that a significant number of residents live in households where either Cantonese or Mandarin is a dominant language and yet Chinese featured more heavily than Vietnamese or Greek in my explorations. In fact I could only find one Greek/English sign for the Optometrist. This may suggest that while Greek is commonly spoken in Marrickville perhaps Greek literacy is not as high or English proficiency is higher than other multilingual populations. The language landscape of Marrickville is perhaps captured best by image 8 which shows the three most prevalently spoken languages, Greek, Vietnamese and English, displayed alongside the most commonly signposted language other than English, Chinese.
The interview below was conducted with “Paola”, a Uruguayan-Australian who worked at “The Imperial Hotel Bar” and the adjoining “Teddy Frazer Barber Shop” as, primarily a waitress.
Interview conducted and filmed at the Imperial Hotel, 252 Oxford St Paddington, by Sebastian White on 9/4/2018 with permission from “Paola”. (Copy of Ethics form submitted).
For Paola, language choice seems to be based on the demographics of her audience. Primarily the social distance she has with the other participant, but also the power distance in terms of age gap. It is interesting that, despite Spanish being her mother tongue, she will usually speak in English unless 1 or 2 criteria are met. Firstly she must have a sufficiently close social-distance (she must know the other person well), and secondly there is a power distance. I.e. she is talking with someone whom she regards with reverence, an elder. These two factors seem critical in her language choice.
In terms of language attitudes, Paola has personally experienced a shift in Australian society, as she no longer experiences discomfort or abuse speaking Spanish in public places. She attributes this to both a shift in public perception (people are more accepting of multiculturalism), and the characterisation of Spanish as a reasonably popular or “sexy” languages. She states that perhaps other languages are not as readily accepted in society, and I would tend to agree.
In Paddington particularly, she and I both observe little hostility to other languages. Although she states she rarely uses her mother tongue at work, this is because there is little need to/few people with whom she communicate, rather than out of any social pressure or anxiety. Little linguistic pressure seems to exist in Paddington, but this does not correspond with an increase in multilinguism, probably due to the scarcity of multiculturalism in the area.
The following photos simply establish a location for the interview.
Photo taken by Sebastian White Photo taken by Sebastian White
252 Oxford St Paddington 252 Oxford St Paddington
on 9/4/2018 on 9/4/2018
Photo taken by Sebastian White
252 Oxford St Paddington
By Sebastian White z5021097
Interview with TM (gentleman who wished to remain anonymous) who worked at the Australia Post Office located at 246 Oxford St. Interview conducted on 5/4/2018.
The interview was conducted informally with notes taken on a notepad.
TM is a first generation Australian whose parents hail from southern China. One parent notably came from Hong Kong. Although TM was not born nor has ever lived in China, he considers himself Hong Kong-Australian. He speaks Cantonese fluently with family and with some friends around his age. However, he never uses Cantonese in his work capacity. This is evident as there are no signs in any foreign language around the post office, and TM tells me that very, very seldom does an individual come in speaking another language.
I ask TM whether he ever code mixes or engages in translanguaging. He tells me that although he speaks Cantonese with certain friends of the same age, whenever they engage on social media it is always in English. This is apparently because TM does not read or write Cantonese well (and apparently nor do his friends). All TM’s written communication is always in English. TM tells me he often code-switches in all of his communications, as there are often English words or phrases that cannot (at least to TM’s knowledge) be directly translated into Cantonese. This code-switching occurs regardless of the company, as all of the people with whom TM communicates in Cantonese, are very proficient in English. This code-mixing happens naturally apparently, with little to no conscious thought involved.
TM’s workplace clearly has little impact on his linguistic landscape, since so few people in the Paddington area speak a language other than English, and there is no large ethnic congregation of people (see ABS data in Blog post 1). However his linguistic use in his personal life seems to involve a reasonable degree of translanguaging, borne out of uneven levels of linguistic ability when it comes to the written or verbal word. This is no doubt a product of growing up in an English-speaking society, at English-speaking schools wherein he would not need to write Cantonese, but only speak it with friends and family. He also reports a degree of code-mixing, uniform across Cantonese speakers in his friend and family groups. Which suggests that certain features of Australian society are unique to it, or at least, are not experienced in China, thus leading to a common need to revert to the English word.
The images below simply establish the location and attempt to confirm that no foreign languages were present.
Photo taken at Australia Post, 246 Oxford St Photo taken at Australia Post, 246 Oxford St
Taken by Sebastian White on 5/4/2018 Taken by Sebastian White on 5/4/2018
Interview conducted with the permission of TM who wished to remain anonymous. Ethics form submitted.
By Sebastian White z5021097
It is important to point out that I used a written questionnaire, as I felt that people were extremely hesitant to be recorded, even though they understood that they were going to be anonymous in the report. The hesitance of the participant could because of a lack of availability, being shy or nervous. This five question response allowed the interviewee to think about their answers, without feeling that they pressured. Our service domain made it challenging to find someone who would be able to spare five minutes from their job to either speak or write answers to questions. The written questionnaire allowed them to answer the questions when they were available, which yielded better results, less stress on the participant and less disruption to their workplace.
My participant Patrick (pseudonym) was a pharmacist who worked at one of Randwick’s chemists. He shared aspects of his cultural heritage, his language background and factors that are in play when choosing between English and his heritage language.
Answers to Questionnaire:
- How would you describe your cultural identity? For example, where were you born? Where did you grow up? What is your mother tongue?
Born in Australia, but lived in Hong Kong between the age of 1-5 years old. Chinese is my mother tongue.
- What languages do you use in your day-to-day life?
English and Chinese
- When talking to someone who is proficient in both English and your heritage language, which language do you use?
Depending on the person whichever language they felt more confident in, however in most cases Chinese.
- What factors contribute to your decision to speak either English or your heritage language to a person proficient in both?
A sense of belonging and being in touch with my roots.
- What attitudes have you experienced due to speaking your heritage language?
People are happy that I can speak two languages.
Ethics form submitted
Millicent Rivory – z5017245
Image not taken or owned by me:
The community centre in Randwick, there are many different languages being utilised, which contrasts with Randwick’s ABS statistics. The large numbers of languages other than English being used, which may be due to accessibility (free underground carpark), big supermarkets, major medical centres, hair dresses, banks, schools, etc.
Just this week as I was waiting for a doctors appointment, I encountered polylanguaging of Spanish and English.
“mi amor, please bring mummy your la copita<?> por vavor.”
“No, la copita.”
*young boy picks up bowl*
“Not the bowl.”
* young boy picks up his cup*
“Si mi amor. You’re such a beun chico! Gracias mi amor. Thank you, darling.”
This interaction between a mother and her son, who were waiting for their doctor’s appointment, was the mother teaching her small son both English and Spanish. The teaching of two languages can be seen with the simple switches between English and Spanish like ‘cup’ and la copita, ‘my love’ and mi amor, ‘thank you’ and gracias. In this particular section of their basic conversation, it is clear that the younger boy is still learning the vocabulary and the differences between Spanish and English. In this specific example the young boy (approximately two years), mistakes the word for ‘cup’ (la copita) as ‘bowl’ (el cuenco). The young boy even said: “gracias” to the doctor as they were leaving. The use of Spanish rather than English is interesting, as this young boy is still learning the implicit social rules surrounding languages in specific settings, such as the doctors’ office.
Image not taken by me.
Millicent Rivory – z5017245
Randwick, as a predominately English speaking suburb with 67.6% of people who only spoke English at home, compared with 28.3% who spoke another language in the home, it was difficult to find many examples of linguistic landscapes in a language other than English.
The next top response, according to the ABS was Mandarin which 4% of Randwick’s population spoke at home. I was able to find a Chinese & English poster, about RoyalPay.
In Randwick, the next top responses for languages spoken at home, were Spanish (1.8%), Greek (1.7%), Russian (1.6%) and Cantonese (1.3%). I was unable to find any signs in these languages. This absence from Randwick’s linguistic landscape could be that the communities are small, and the signs would only be able to be read by 500+/- people, or that there are other social reasons for their absence.
With the Mandarin-speaking community the most significant spoken language other than English in Randwick, and perhaps its proximity to Kingsford, which has a sizeable Mandarin-speaking population, signs in Chinese were found more often. In my experience, as one got closer to the Randwick/Kensington border, the more diverse the linguistic landscape. However when walking closer to the Randwick/Coogee boarder the less linguistically diverse signs were found.
Welcomes Mobile Payment (Translated Simplified Chinese)
Australia’s Cross-Border Payment Provider
Location: Randwick, Priceline Pharmacy
Language: Chinese (Simplified)
The author of this poster is RoyalPay a cross-border payment service provider company, which aims to link Australian merchants with Chinese consumers. The author’s choice to write this sign in both Chinese and English reveals the company’s model of connecting consumers and merchants in China and Australia.
The message of this poster provides advertising for RoyalPay, and the different types of services they offer such as; Alipay, WeChatPay, Bestpay and JDPay. At the bottom, it explains how to follow RoyalPay’s WeChat official account.
The recipient who can read either English or Simplified Chinese can understand the message of the poster, as the same message is repeated and translated into both languages.
Millicent Rivory – z5017245
“2016 Census QuickStats: Kingsford (NSW)”. in , , 2018, <http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC12156?opendocument> [accessed 21 March 2018].
“2016 Census QuickStats: Randwick”. in , , 2018, <http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC13312?opendocument> [accessed 21 March 2018].
“RoyalPay | About” 2018, <https://www.royalpay.com.au/about.html> [accessed 21 March 2018].
The next phase of the study into the linguistic landscape of Kingsford seeks to explore the language identities of the residents and the attitudes towards language that people hold. In a café alongside the road, I had a conversation with Sarah. Sarah is originally born and raised in Hong Kong whilst her father is British from England and her mother French. She shares that she identifies as being from Hong Kong because this is where she has spent all her life and is familiar with the location, culture, and food. Thus, her achieved identity: the identity she believes for herself and what she would like others to think of her is that of someone from Hong Kong.
At home she grew up speaking both English and French with her parents and siblings but confesses speaking more French with her mother since she is more fluent in it whilst her father is only partially fluent with a decent vocabulary, pronouncing the French words with a British accent. In this case, she shares that the language choices she makes between French an English with her father are for the main purpose of language practice. Her mother did not want their father to only speak English to their children but acquire the ability to speak both French and English. As a result, Sarah’s mother preemptively broke down language as a barrier for her husband and her children to create language as the bridge so he would be able to feel a part of conversations with the family. Though Sarah can speak English with her father, she chooses to speak French to help him practice his French so that he may not feel excluded in conversations; Language acts as a bridge. The fact that her father has acquired the French language is very useful when they go out for coffee (as we were). In this space, they can use language as a tool for privacy when in a public place; utilizing language as a barrier to their own advantage. Language serves well as a barrier between people from different cultures which inhibits people from gaining an understanding or even respect for one another (Birch & Castaño 2012)
Sarah interestingly describes the language she speaks with her mother as ‘Fringlish’ (French, English). It is a language dominated by French since that is her mother’s heritage language. She mentions that the invented language, Fringlish, came about because she felt more comfortable speaking French with her mother (even though they could both speak English) but the English came into play due to the influence of the national language being English. What Sarah seems to be exhibiting here is polylanguaging; she has access to all her linguistic repertoire and has no problem implementing English or French when necessary. Whilst, polylanguaging, Sarah practices the conversational feature of code-switching by moving from speaking French and English both in the Inter-sentential and the supra-sentential. Inter-sentential occurs when the speaker produces one sentence in one language and the other in a different language. The latter occurs with sentence fillers/ discourse markers. With Sarah, these changes usually manifest through metaphorical switching whereby expressing an attitude or an idea would be best done in one language rather than the other. The French language is arguably more expressive in its terms more than English since it is a romantic language; this, Sarah finds it easier to vocalize certain ideas in French rather than English mid-sentence. Code-switching can also occur because of situational switching whereby the choice of language is dependent on the situation or topic. When the topic/situation changes the language does so in accordance. Sarah finds that these witches occur when she converses with her monolingual English friends because it feels natural to her to express herself in French rather than English. Other times, she may be unable to locate the English word for an item in her mental lexicon and thus, she produces the French equivalent regardless of whether the conversational party is fluent in French or not. This shows that most times language choices may not actually be choices for us to make but rather just happen dependent on various factors. Since Sarah may be quite flexible in the production of French, the ascribed identity she may receive from her environment may be different from what she allocates to herself. She may be more likely to be described as a migrant even though she speaks fluent English the dominant language.
Additionally, Sarah shares that the fact that she went to a bilingual school for the first half of her high school education and then switched to an International school at about 14 for the other half influenced the diminishing of French vocabulary and, as a result, why she finds herself practicing the use of French. The shift to dominant use and application of the English language everywhere except the family space threatened the size of her French vocabulary. Now that she lives on campus away from her family most of the time, she usually finds herself using French with her closest monolingual English speaking friends to practice and apply her French so that it does not completely diminish. This is evidence that a linguistic landscape has the ability to threaten or encourage Identity.
The second person I interviewed was a student from Hong Kong currently studying at the University of New South Wales. She was browsing the menu outside a Chinese restaurant when I approached her. She introduced herself as Jane and we engaged in a casual chat about where she is from and how she finds her experience living in Sydney. Jane identifies as being from Hong Kong and her language choices are heavily dependent on who she is interacting with. She usually speaks a mixture of Cantonese and English when Speaking with people from Hong Kong in Australia. The mix is almost inherent on not difficult for her to practice thus showcasing traits of polylanguaging just as Sarah did. Jane finds it difficult to engage with and speak to Chinese people because she reports, that the Chinese groups she has encountered feel more comfortable speaking Chinese more than any other language regardless of its dominance in the linguistic landscape. Thus, she shares that many Chinese inhabitants of the area tend to spend time in groups of fellow Chinese or Chinese speakers since this creates a space for them to exist comfortably. However, for Jane, the use and preference of the Chinese language here act as a barrier since it encourages the exclusion of groups of people from different backgrounds and cultures. Jane shares that she interacts with people and forms friendships with them on the basis that they hold the same values and interests that she does. This highlights how the attitude towards other cultures and languages by the Chinese culture can influence the formation social spheres in various linguistic landscapes.
A separate interaction with a Chinese cashier at a restaurant affirmed the opinions on the Chinese social traits that Jane shared with me. Nicole, the Cashier, has recently moved to Sydney from Shanghai, China and finds it a lot easier to converge into groups with contain fellow Chinese or people that speak Chinese. She also notes, that she lives and works in Kingsford which is an area that is dominated by mostly Chinese speakers. Resultantly, though she speaks English with a few customers, she finds herself practicing the use of Mandarin more than any other language both at home and at work. She shares that the shy Chinese personality may not be the only reason Chinese or Mandarin speakers may gravitate towards each other. Most of them are not incredibly confident in their use of English and fear that they will be judged for speaking the language poorly. This, it is a lot easier for them to spend time with fellow Mandarin speakers. Nicole, on the other hand, is open to learning new languages and is currently attempting to learn Japanese and English. The main reason she may decide to use English amongst her Mandarin-speaking friends is to practice her English.
All in all, this research project has allowed a deeper understanding of language in a specific linguistic landscape. For Kingsford, the dominant language showcased in the ABS figures (besides the national language of English) was Chinese and its various dialects. This language was the most visible language in public signs of the service industry and the most audible as well. This minimal sample for the project presented that Chinese was widely spoken as well as English and various minority languages such as French. The language that people use to express themselves is highly dependent on who they would like to include and exclude as well as the identity they would like to ascribe to themselves.
Birch, E. & Castaño, C., 2012. The International Undergraduate Journal For Service-Learning, Leadership, and Social Change Language: A Bridge or A Border? , 2(1), pp.9–12. Available at: https://opus.govst.edu/iujsl/vol2/iss1/4
Information by Roberta Magoba
Kingsford showcased quite a high level of polylanguaging from the public signs to the conversations I shared with people in restaurants and on the street. A chat with a cashier at a Chinese restaurant with a public polylanguaging sign as shown below provided interesting insight into how she uses Chinese and English in the linguistic landscape.
Caption: Street sign showing translanguaging
Date: 28th March 2018
Language: Mandarin and Chinese
She had recently moved to Kingsford from Shanghai and has only been living in the area for a year. She works in the restaurant that provides its services in both English and Mandarin from the signs to the menus. She shares that the restaurant receives a dominant number of Chinese/ Mandarin speaking customers so she finds herself speaking Mandarin to be able to adequately serve the customers and make them feel more comfortable. I noticed that when speaking to me she immediately switched to speaking English quite easily. Though it was not to maximum fluency, she was able to communicate to me in English and switch to Mandarin when he had to serve a customer.
This shows that translanguaging is part of our everyday processes of identity construction and negotiation. This is based off a racial dimension; for example, she spoke English when she saw it appropriate and then Mandarin when encountering a Chinese/ Mandarin customer.
Caption: Street sign showing translanguaging
Date: 28th March 2018
Language: Mandarin and English
Domain: Lawyer firm
Administrations and bureaucracies can use language to control their clients and even exclude certain groups of people. The Lawyer firm public sign that we explored earlier seems to exhibit polylanguaging but it seems to lean towards appealing to mandarin speakers since the majority of their immigration work is based in China. In doing so they may filter out anglophones who may not find their services as beneficial to them.
Caption: Street sign showing language borrowing
Date: 28th March 2018
Language: Mandarin and English
The above is an example of language borrowing. The restaurant’s name is translated from Mandarin as Sushicobo. The word sushi has been borrowed from mandarin. This is mainly influenced by the Chinese culture and its food. The food is so widely consumed in the western world that English has obtained it as a word in the English vocabulary.
Other groups of people I encountered spoke a variety of English that was influenced by an Asian dialect specifically on the accent and pronunciation of words. This is still showcasing one’s translanguaging abilities. This was a trait seen amongst students going home from school or university. Leading u to deduce that they may dominantly speak an Asian dialect at home due to the parent’s attempt to control the child’s linguistic development. But this family language policy may be resisted when the child goes to school or university or any language space where English is dominant and reinforced. In this way, this switch between the family linguistic landscape and the school landscape create a translanguaging identity.
The key feature of Paddington, certainly in terms of linguistic diversity, is Oxford Street. As touched upon in the previous blog post regarding Paddington’s demographic, the area is dominated by people from English speaking backgrounds (77.7% of households speak only English at home), this is reflected when one observes the signage around services in the suburb. Of the 20 services observed (5 health services, 2 veterinary practices, 2 laundromats, 5 beauty salons/hairdressers, 5 massage parlours and 1 architecture firm), only 2 demonstrated any linguistic diversity. In both cases the service in question was a massage parlour, both parlours were on
Oxord St and in both cases, the purpose/extent of the foreign language use was a single word or phrase designed to attract customers by making the parlour seem more authentic. Here are those two examples. “Ka Huna” on a Hawaiian style massage parlour, and “Sopa Siam” on a Thai version of the same service.
(Photo taken by Sebastian White at 1/96 Oxford St Paddington on 19/3/2018)
Picture Caption: Sydney Ka huna- Hawaiian Massage Experience
Location: Oxford St Paddington
Language: Hawaiian and English
Domain: Advertising sign on Oxford St
Author: Presumably business owner trying to attract business, unknown whether Hawaiian or not. Target audience is rather general, not specifically aimed at Hawaiian people.
“Ka huna” is a Hawaiian word meaning either an important (wise person) or a big wave. The use of the foreign language doesn’t seem to have any practical purpose (there are a negligible number of people of Hawaiian background in Sydney, yet alone Paddington), however the phrase has some symbolic cultural significance. It has been used in the famous Tarantino film “Pulp Fiction” and is perhaps the most well-known word with which people would associate Hawaiian culture.
(Photo taken by Sebastian White at 60 Oxford St Paddington on 19/3/2018)
Picture Caption: Sopa Siam -Thai Massage-
Location: Oxford St Paddington
Language: Thai (presumably) and English
Domain: Shopfront sign on Oxford St
Author: Business owner, presumably of Thai origin, attempting to attract business from all manner of customer.
This humble scholar was unable to find a translation from Thai for the phrase “Sopa Siam”. Which opens avenues for exploration as to its meaning. It could be anything from a phrase of a dialect, to the names of the owners of the business. No doubt a topic for further investigation.
Census data obtained from: http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC13115?opendocument
By Sebastian White z5021097
The next phase of this project studies the linguistic landscape of Kingsford, NSW Sydney focusing on the domain of services. A linguistic landscape refers to a combination of the language of commercial shop signs, billboards, public road signs of a given region (Landry & Bourhis, 1997). Particularly, a multimodal discourse analysis (Kress, 2009) (van Leeuwen, 2006) will compare, contrast and analyze the signage found in the area to the figures collected from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A quick recap shows that the suburb has a high number of inhabitants from China and various Asian countries through the fact that Mandarin is the language most spoken at home. China is also found to have the largest percentage of ancestry in the area.
Crossing Barker street towards Kingsford from Kensington (UNSW campus), there is almost an immediate change in terms of the signage. The visibility of predominantly English signs disappears after the Fast-Food chain, McDonalds. From the small sample collected so far, it can be observed that local Government clinics/ dental clinics use signage in only English while some health centers such as physiotherapists/ optometrists have multimodal signage (English and Mandarin). Tempting to assume that the owners and authors of the latter are of Chinese ancestry.
Caption: a Multilingual sign of a Physiotherapy
Author: Assumed multilingual speaker
Languages: English and Standard Chinese
Domain: Physiotherapy: Service Delivery
The signage communicates the service offered in both English and Mandarin, however, the Mandarin sign is directly targeted to the speakers of that language. It does not provide a direct translation of the word physiotherapy but rather describes the massaging of the shoulders, neck, etc. Perhaps due to the idea that Mandarin may not have a direct translation of the word physiotherapy but can describe the actions involved. Information is purposefully coded to the speaker of the language created a private space for communication in a public landscape.
Caption: A sign for Kingsford medical Centre
Author: IPN Australian medical center
Domain: Health Centre
The Author of the sign is Australian which would explain the fact that the sign is in English. Though it may visually exclude speakers of another language; the sign communicates that the health services inside can be provided in a language that a consumer is comfortable in. This allows them to extend their services to include speakers of another language who make up the majority of the Residents in Kingsford.
Most service providers of restaurants had public signs up in only a language other than English. A restaurant in Kingsford put up the sign below:
Caption: A Temporary sign outside Restaurant
Languages: Standard Chinese
This sign aims to communicate the message that the shop would like to hire an employee. A conversation with the shop attendant provided information that the sign is in Mandarin because that is the language spoken by the majority of their customers. If the sign was in English or any other language, they may find it difficult to hire a person for the job that speaks the same language as the customer.
Caption: Old Sign present over a current signpost
Languages: Standard Chinese /English
Domain: Retail Shop
This public signage here is interesting because it appears the old sign of a French Bread Shop was left up when the new store below moved in. English, Mandarin and French culture are visually present in this space. English is predominantly the language of international communication, however, in Kingsford, we can observe a slow shift from predominantly English signs to those that are multilingual or only in a minority language. The reason could be related to the need to cater to the large population of minority language speakers in the area.
Caption: Law Firm public sign
Languages: Standard Chinese and English
Domain: Law firm
This sign is particularly interesting because though the author is Australian, he did not limit access to his services to only people that speak English. On an interview with the workers, it was found that the author speaks both English and Fluent Chinese and carries out immigration law mostly in Asia as well as buying and selling houses. This shows that he not only utilized his multilingualism to widen service delivery but also considered the environment (Kingsford) in which his business is based.
Caption: Sign on the door of Westpac
Author: Australian Government
Thus far, services ran/owned by local government/Government, in general, seem to have public signs only written in English. However, a larger sample would have to be taken to come to a conclusion of how inclusive/aware the Australian government is of the growing multilingual areas.
Conclusively and thus far, Kingsford reflects the visibility of languages in the area in terms of public signs. It is heavily dominated with Chinese followed by English and a range of other Asian languages/dialects.
Roberta Magoba z3492870
Australian Bureau of Statistics , 2018. 2016 Census Quick Stats. [Online]
Available at: http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC12099?opendocument
[Accessed 12 March 2018].
Kress, G., 2009. Multimodality: A social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. Abingdon: Routledge.
Landry, R. & Bourhis, R. Y., 1997. Linguistic Landscapes and ethnolinguistic vitality: An empirical study. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Volume 16, pp. 23-49.
van Leeuwen, T., 2006. Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. Abingdon: Routledge.
The median age of the people in Randwick was 34 years, with 11.3% and 11.8% respectively of age groups from 25-29 years and 30-34 years, which is nearly double the NSW and Australia-wide average.
The reflection in the data confirms that Randwick is a suburb of mostly university educated residents, with 44.8% with a Bachelor Degree or above – double the NSW and Australian average.
Randwick is generally a wealthy suburb with the Median weekly incomes of people aged 15 years and older nearly double the NSW and Australian average for personal, family and household incomes. However, the median rent is also nearly double the NSW and Australia average, suggesting that the people of Randwick are being paid more, but also spending more on rent and mortgage payments.
The country of birth for 51.7% of people living in Randwick was Australia, with England (6.0%), Ireland (4.0%), China (3.7%), New Zealand (2.3%) and South Africa (1.5%) being the next top responses. Suggesting the Randwick is predominantly an area with people of an Anglo-Saxon background.
In Randwick, it is statistically more likely to have both parents born outside of Australia (48.3%). The next responses were both parents born in Australia (30.1%), Father only born overseas (7.0%) and Mother only born overseas (5.8%). Suggesting the Randwick has a more diverse parental background than NSW and Australian average. This might suggest that Randwick tends to be a suburb of first-generation Australians.
English is the most common language spoken only at home, with 67.6%, with the next top responses being Mandarin (4.0%), Spanish (1.8%), Greek (1.7%), Russian (1.6%) and Cantonese (1.3%). These responses suggest, in contrast with NSW and Australia average, that Randwick has slightly more linguistic diversity, but is still predominately an English speaking neighbourhood.
The suburb of Paddington, according to 2016 Census data, is inhabited by predominately persons of Anglo Saxon background (65% of surveyed participants recorded ancestry of British, Australian or Irish descent, and the 75% of respondents were born either in Australia or in linguistically similar countries; e.g. England, NZ, and the United States).
The median age of inhabitants is 36, 2 years below the national average. However, there are a disproportionate amount of 25-34 year old residents (24.6% of the population compared to the national average of 14.4%), which reflects the relative wealth of the area (there are almost double the amount of people with advanced degrees, compared with the national average), with young professionals overrepresented, consistent with neighbouring suburbs.
The most spoken languages other than English are French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, and German. None of these, however, can claim some ethnographic dominance over another, as they all individually represent between 0.7 and 1.7% of the population.
One potentially understated impact of language use in Paddington, is the presence of Oxford Street, a culturally diverse and socio-politically significant landmark in Sydney. Oxford St boasts a large number of retail outlets, catering to not only residents of the area, but outsiders drawn in by the lure of one of Sydney’s most recognisable streets. Additionally, the increase in foot traffic attracts restaurants (of varying ethnic cuisines), arts and food markets, as well as service providers (such as massage parlours, bars, banks, and post offices) which cater as much to those who visit the area, as to those who inhabit it.
By Sebastian White z5021097
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Dulwich Hill is a suburb in the Inner West of Sydney located near the well-known suburb of Marrickville. Other than English the primary languages spoken are Greek, Arabic and Vietnamese. These languages are interesting in the geographic diversity that they represent. This diversity may be in part explained by the high number of residents in the area that were not born in Australia. In the 2016 census 33.3% of respondents said they were born in a country other than in Australia country-wide. In Dulwich Hill the figure was 41.3% showing that the area has a significantly higher immigrant population than the average Australian Suburb.
Of the three languages that are spoken most commonly other than English in Dulwich Hill, Greek is the one that is most disparate from the number of speakers found in the rest of the country with 5.6% of households using Greek in Dulwich Hill compared to 1% in the rest of Australia. Vietnamese is also significantly more at 2.9% as compared to 1.2%, however Arabic is generally on trend for the remainder of NSW with only 0.5% variance however is significantly higher than the rest of the country. The high concentration of Portuguese and Spanish speakers are unsurprising given there is a strong presence of these communities in the neighbouring suburb of Petersham.
NB – Due to the high level of construction in Dulwich Hill leading to business closures I had trouble collecting data in this suburb. Much of my subsequent data will come from the neighbouring Marrickville. As this is a shopping hub for the residents covered in the above data I will still consider this analysis relevant to my work .
This group will explore the linguistic landscape with a focus on the service industry, that is to say; pharmacies, hair salons, dry cleaners and any other business that offer an intangible service. One of the suburbs included in this research will be Kingsford and based on the data collected from the ABS census, one could expect the following results: The most common ancestries (in descending order) included the Chinese (29.5%), (English (11.3%), Australian (10.2%), Greek (6.9%) and Irish (5.9%). Kingsford also reports that 38.2% of people speak only English at home; the top responses of other languages include Mandarin (23.3%), Greek (6.0%), Cantonese (4.9%), Indonesian (4.0%) and Spanish (1.3%). In terms of the Industry of employment, 6.2% are in the Higher education Industry, 5.5 % in Hospitals (except Psychiatric hospitals ), 4.0% in cafes and restaurants 2.7 % in Computer system design and other related activities and 2.5% in banking. During the course of our research, we will consider these statistics and come to the conclusion of how or to what extent the language landscape reflects these figures (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018). The project will reflect on this figures and explore to what extent the languages are represented/ not and why.
Our assignment is going to focus on businesses that offer services to individuals in our respective suburbs. This includes personal services such as hairdressers, medical services, locksmiths, drycleaners etc. We are interested to see which kinds of services are most likely to have multilingual or non-English signage as part of our exploration. We will be focusing on Kingsford, Paddington, Randwick, Dulwich Hill and Green Valley. This means that while our suburbs span the Eastern Suburbs, Inner West and Western Sydney there will be a particular focus on Eastern Sydney.