2018 | Group 4

References - 11 April 2018

Group Reference List

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, ‘Haymarket (SSC), People — cultural & language diversity’, accessed  01/03/18, http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC11877?opendocument

Fishman, J. (1965). Who Speaks What Language to Whom and When?. La Linguistique, 1(2), pp.67-88.

Fishman, J. (1991). Bilingual Education. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: J. Benjamins Pub. Co.

Forrest, J. & Dandy, J. (2018). Proficiency in English, linguistic shift and ethnic capital: an intergenerational analysis of non-English speaking background immigrant groups in Sydney, Australia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 39:2, 111-123, DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2017.1315949

Fromkin, V., Amberber, M., Rodman, R., Hyams, N., Cox, F. and Thornton, R. (2014). An Introduction to Language. 8th ed. Cengage Learning Australia, p.333

Hatoss, A. Where are you from? Identity construction and experiences of ‘othering’ in the narratives of Sudanese refugee-background Australians. Discourse & Society, Vol. 23, No. 1 (January 2012), pp. 47-68

Heredia, R. and Altarriba, J. (2001). Bilingual Language Mixing: Why Do Bilinguals Code-Switch?. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10(5), pp.2-4.

Martin, J., & Nakayama, T. (2013). Culture, Communication, and conflict. Intercultural communication in contexts (6th ed., pp. 437-438). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pavlenko, A. and Blackledge, A. (2004). Negotiation of identities in multilingual contexts. 1st ed. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, pp.290-294.

Ritzau, U. (2014). Learner language and polylanguaging: how language students’ ideologies relate to their written language use. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 18(6), pp.660-675.


Blog 4 | Language Choices and Attitudes - 11 April 2018


Language Background

The interviewee is an international student in UTS and she is from Norway. Her native language is Norwegian, and she is very fluent in English. She also learned Spanish for 5 years in secondary education, and she is now learning Portuguese.

Language Choices

  1. Friends

When she is talking to Norwegian friends, she picks Norwegian over English, but when she is talking to friends and some people in the conversation do not speak Norwegian, she picks English over Norwegian, so that other speakers do not feel excluded.

  1. University

When she is in a classroom setting in the university, she picks English over Norwegian even if she meets Norwegian people, but if it is a private setting in the university, e.g. lunch, she speaks Norwegian with Norwegian people, and speaks English if other people are around.

  1. Work

She always chooses to speak English at work, even if she has Norwegian colleagues because she usually communicates in her workplace through emails or phone calls, and her bosses want to be able to read and hear them as well.

In most of the circumstances, she picks English over Norwegian because she got used to living in Australia and speaking English. She does not think there is a social pressure to speak English, but her language preference would be English because everyone speaks different languages in Australia, and she wants to make sure everyone understands her.

Language Attitude

In her opinion, people in Haymarket would not respond negatively to a particular language. She thinks most languages are accepted in the suburb. However, she thinks it is negatively look upon when in a social setting, people start talking between themselves in one language and no one else understands. She considers the behaviour rude because it excludes other speakers from the conversation.

She thinks it is acceptable for people to speak their heritage language in public if they share the same language background. People should not be forced to speak English in public. However, when there are speakers from other backgrounds, people should definitely speak English to show respect for other speakers.


I interviewed Lawrence Chen on the 29th March, he is a Chinese speaker (mandarin) and a graduated student from UNSW who usually visit Haymarket to eat at good Chinese restaurants with his friends. I will go over the word count because I think the content of our long conversation was very interesting and informative.

  1. When you are with people that have the same language background, do you engage in code-switching?
    Yes, we are in Australia, therefore we need to switch to English when we are talking about location.
  2. Under what circumstances do you code-switch and can you think of any examples of code-switching?
    In academic context, we need to use at least 20% of English in our conversation. When I was studying with my classmate in university about the concept that we learn, we could not  translate or maybe we can translate the academic concept but the essence or meaning of the word will change (it will not be exactly the same meaning).
  3. Do you think people in Haymarket engage in code-switching? If so, what languages do they alternate?
    In that suburb, code-switching is very important because it is a multicultural place. Chinese rank on the top because there are lots of Chinese store. The second language that I hear the most in Haymarket would be Korean. [I told him about the data from the ABS showing that the top languages spoken other than English at home are Thai (20.4%), Mandarin (20.3%), Indonesian (10.2%), Cantonese (5.1%) and Korean (4.8%) but he disagreed with the ranking order]
  4. What are the languages you hear the most?
    Other than Chinese (including Mandarin and Cantonese), mostly, I hear Korean. I met a Korean staff at a store, I greeted him in Chinese but he replied to me in Korean, then I and him switched to English in order to communicate with him. However, when communicating to other employees, the Korean staff switched back to Korean.
  5. Based on preliminary research, Thai seems under-represented in public signage. Do you think this is an issue?
    Of course it is, I think the only time I can see a Thai sign is when I enter in a Thai restaurants. Otherwise in the streets, I can’t see any sign of Thai language.Lawrence and I continued the discussion about the language attitude as you can see in the following:
  6. Why would people choose English among themselves even if they are interacting with people who are proficient in their heritage language? Or why do they choose their heritage language?Why would you choose to speak English and in which contexts?
    I chose Chinese more than English in daily conversations as 80% of my friends are Chinese and they are the main participants in my everyday events but Australia is a culturally diversified country. While English is the official language, it is necessary for me to switch from my mother tongue to English so that most of the people could understand me and I won’t be excluded from the mainstream. For example when I was studying in UNSW, during lectures, I always chose English despite the fact that at least 60% of my fellow classmates are Chinese. One of the reasons is that we are required to speak English so that the English-speaking professors or students could get the feedback, which is more of a matter of interpersonal interaction in public. And secondly, especially when the lecturer assigned us with a group discussion, it is rather complex for us to translate the content of the lecture into Chinese if we do not want to speak English. In most cases, we could not translate it because the translation process is difficult. This is the baseline that applies to most of the similar situations (work, social events…).
  7. Why would you choose to speak your heritage language (Chinese) and in which context ?
    As I mentioned, people with a Chinese background are dominating in my society of friends, so I think it is quite rationale for me to speak Chinese among them. Besides, the western culture, or should I call it the ‘English-speaking’ culture is still rather strange to me while Chinese is easier and clearer for me to express myself to the same-background companies especially in daily life. Otherwise, if we do communicate in English we might get embarrassed as the Chinese culture emphasizes faithfulness to our root (culture).


As we can see from the interview above, this is a great evidence of the presence of code-switching in Haymarket. Some people like Lawrence are conscious of the social context involved in and thus choose the most appropriate language to communicate with others. As a customer who is familiar with that suburb to eat out, Lawrence shows evidence of a multilingual presence in that suburb. Moreover, Lawrence shows great evidence about the need to code-switch from Chinese to English in academic context in order to keep the full meaning of core concepts seen in class. Furthermore, this interview also gives reason to my failure from my previous post at finding signage other than Chinese and English in public area (see Q.7).

By taking Chinese speakers as an example, we can conclude that in a multicultural community like Australia, people from Asia accounts for a big proportion of the population, and people from countries in South-Eastern of Asia, China and North-Eastern of Asia do not share much difference in terms of physical appearance but rather in languages. Therefore, English as the lingua franca of the world, is a safe tool to start a conversation and it is more relevant to show courtesy instead of imposing a cultural hegemony to others that lead to conflict (Martin & Nakayama, p.437, 2013).


For this week’s post I conducted four interviews to investigate language attitudes in Haymarket, two of which are presented in more detail. I have assumed the reliability of the interviewees, although some claims may warrant further investigation. Once again, the interview scripts are not verbatim. Furthermore, while the cumulative sample size has increased across the group’s posts, the total sample is still insufficient to claim certainty about linguistic landscape features in Haymarket and Australia. At best this group hopes to suggest areas for further research.  

The first person I interviewed worked at a convenience store in Thai town.


  1. What is your language background?
    Urdu. English is my second language.
  2. When you are with people with the same language background, do you engage in code-switching?
    Yes, some Urdu and English, with friends and with customers with a Pakistani background. Urdu is always the main language, English is secondary.
  3. Under what circumstances do you code-switch and can you think of any examples of code-switching?
    It is mostly done to buy something or discuss a specific item for sale.
  4. How often do you visit Haymarket? For what purposes?
    I visit Haymarket 6 days a week for work.
  5. Do you think people in Haymarket engage in code-switching? If so, what languages do they alternate?
    English, Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
  6. Are there any languages that people respond negatively to?
    Not really.
  7. Is there any social pressure to speak English? Is there social pressure to speak other languages?
    To speak English yes. But it is indirect pressure. People SHOULD mostly speak English. There is no direct pressure to speak other languages. I speak Urdu with some customers out of necessity.
  8. Based on preliminary research, Thai seems under-represented in public signage. Do you think this is an issue?
    No. They should speak English.
  9. How much Thai do you hear spoken in Haymarket?
    I mostly hear Chinese, some Thai.

The second interview was with an employee of a Malaysian restaurant.


  1. What is your language background?
    My background is Pilipino, though my family has lost Tagalog, which my mother spoke and my brother and I spoke as children. The school we went to told my mum to stop speaking Tagalog at home and only English in order to improve our English language abilities. I have lost Tagalog.
  2. When you are with people with the same language background, do you engage in code-switching?
    I only speak English. My Tagalog is very basic now.
  3. Under what circumstances do you code-switch and can you think of any examples of code-switching?
    With my brother, but we mostly speak English.
  4. How often do you visit Haymarket? For what purposes?
    I visit Haymarket 4 or 5 days a week for work depending.
  5. Do you think people in Haymarket engage in code-switching? If so, what languages do they alternate?
    English, Indonesian or Bahasa, Malaysian and Thai.
  6. Are there any languages that people respond negatively to?
    Sometimes I feel like the people I work with speaking Malaysian to each other while we work is rude. When I am working, I need to speak and hear English.
  7. Is there any social pressure to speak English? Is there social pressure to speak other languages?
    Yes. Especially for me when I talk to others. In my restaurant there is a small bit of pressure to speak Malay, and in Haymarket in general, there is pressure to speak Chinese. This pressure is not direct.
  8. Based on preliminary research, Thai seems under-represented in public signage. Do you think this is an issue?
    I don’t hear much Thai. When I do hear it, it is around central. It doesn’t seem like a big problem, but I don’t know, maybe it is?
  9. How much Thai do you hear spoken in Haymarket?
    I mostly hear Chinese, and English around Haymarket. I hear more Thai around central.

Language Choices 

The first interviewee spoke English and Urdu. At work he mostly spoke English but at home and with his friends he spoke Urdu.

The second interviewee spoke English only. He once spoke Tagalog but he has lost proficiency in that language.

I also interviewed a bartender who was Indonesian but actually spoke Mandarin with his wife. Furthermore, English was his preferred language at work. Sometimes he and his wife would code switch at as well. With his friends he would speak bahasa Indoneisa. He had no issue with having to primarily use English at work, he could also us bahasa Indonesia and Mandarin if the customers required him too. English was always his default choice.

Language Attitudes

As these two interviews demonstrated, plus two further interviews that I conducted, Chinese is a prominent feature in the linguistic landscape of Haymarket. Furthermore, the presence of languages such as Urdu and Malaysian, not stated in the ABS quick stats firstly point to the limits of Census data in accurately portraying the Linguistic realities of an area, but also suggest that these languages are not as common in Haymarket. Yet the pressure to speak English prevails. Indeed, while Forrest & Dandy (2017) assert Australia as being a prime example of multiculturalism and linguistic diversity, which is supported by the majority of interviews conducted by this group, the case of the Malaysian restaurant worker is at odds with this assertion. His experience with linguistic attitudes had lead him to be positioned as an outsider of sorts, a person who has been pressured to relinquish his native language in order to ‘join the group’. Hatoss (2012) also provides a counterpoint to the observations of Forrest and Dandy, demonstrating the ‘outsider’ status that some Sudanese refugees experience. It is thus, incomplete to describe Australia as being multicultural or multilingual as there are contrary mono-lingual and mono-cultural pressures.

Furthermore, In support of the two above interviews, am Indonesian bartender I interviewed explained that he always started with English, regardless of the customer. Thus, English is the dominant language in commercial domains in Haymarket, as supported by other interviews conducted by this group. Although other languages occur more prominently in specific domains, such as Chinese in China town and Thai in Thai town etc., English prevails across the whole area. All of the interviews that I conducted, with the exception of one, denied overt attempts to impose English only conversations in commercial and public spaces, asserting Haymarket as being multi-cultural and multi-lingual. The one exception was the employee of the Malaysian Restaurant, although the school that he attended is not in Haymarket, nor does he live in Haymarket. However, it does suggest overt monolingual pressure occurs in Australia. Furthermore, all interviewees referenced the prevalence of English, or some people needing to ‘speak English.’, or even starting conversations in English. This suggests indirect social pressure to speak English, which is unsurprising. Between languages other than English there seems to be less indirect pressure to speak those languages. It may be argued that there is some pressure to speak Chinese due to the prevalence of that language in public and commercial signage, but this pressure is less pronounced than the pressure to speak English. It should be noted to this point that no evidence of spoken indigenous languages have been discovered.



The following interviews were conducted by Sanjana and Pritha at the Market City shopping centre. All three participants are employees are stores in Market City.

  1. What is your language background?
    Naomi: My name is Naomi, I speak English primarily but I’m Malaysian; my mother tongue is Bahasa Malaysia but I don’t speak it very well because I was born in the States and when I was born the doctor told my mum to speak English to me. That’s why my understanding of my mother tongue is very poor. So English is the only language I can speak fluently, but I can speak little bits of Bahasa and I did Japanese and French in high school, but I only have a very basic understanding of those two languages.
    Kevin: My name is Kevin and I speak Korean and English.
    Alex: My name is Alex and I speak English. I can speak French as well but not fluently.
  2. When you are with people who have the same language background, do you engage in code-switching?
    Naomi: Yeah, actually, if I’m with my relatives back home in Malaysia, I code-switch a bit. I’ll start the sentence [in English] but I’ll throw in Malay words here and there.
    Kevin: It depends on the people – when I’m with Koreans I think speaking only Korean is better because it’s easier, so we don’t switch.
    Alex: I try – just the numbers. It comes in handy here [Market City, Converse store] for shoe sizing – e.g. the customers come in and just say “quarante-quatre” which means ‘forty-four’. Very handy.
  3. Under which circumstances do you code-switch and can you think of any examples of code-switching?
    Naomi: With relatives, sometimes if I see Malaysian customers in store I’ll speak in Malay to them in little bits.
    Kevin: I don’t code-switch.
    Alex: No, as I mentioned before only with the customers in-store.
  4. How often do you visit Haymarket?
    Naomi: I work here, so I’m here every day- well, five days out of the seven.
    Kevin: I work here 2 days a week. I don’t want to work here more often [laughs].
    Alex: I work here, so 3 days a week.
  5. Do you think people in Haymarket also engage in code-switching? If so, what languages do they alternate?
    Naomi: I’d say so, yeah. Mandarin and Cantonese are big ones here, we also get a lot of tourists, like European ones, so I hear a lot of French, German.
    Kevin: I think that people who are born here [Australia] like to switch between English and their own cultural language. In Korean, we have things that are similar to Mandarin and Cantonese – so still Korean but different accents.
    Alex: Yes – Pilipino (Tagalog), Thai, Vietnamese and a little bit of French.
  6. During our research, we found that Thai and Mandarin were the most common languages spoken in Haymarket. What do think about people speaking Thai or Mandarin in public?
    Naomi: I don’t think too much of it, to be honest. A lot of tourists come to Haymarket, especially from Asia, so naturally you’ll hear foreign languages here all the time, and businesses will provide services in other languages to accommodate for them. It’s pretty normal to hear Mandarin anywhere in Sydney, really.
    Kevin: I think it’s okay, because people like to speak the language they are most comfortable with. I like to speak Korean with my friends because we are more comfortable and we can express our thoughts easier, so if you speak Chinese maybe you will feel the same.
    Alex: There’s a lot of tourists in Haymarket and not every tourist will know English, so it’s not strange or anything. You don’t have to know French to go to France, it’s not any different for people visiting Australia.
  7. Do you think there should be more English signage in Haymarket?
    Naomi: Not really. When you look around, most foreign language signs will have like, English subtitles on them, so it doesn’t matter if you can’t read Chinese or Thai or whatever. This area caters towards people who speak Asian languages more than it does English-speakers anyway so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to start putting up signs in English when the majority of people might have trouble reading them.
    Kevin: Maybe, yes? A lot of shops only have Chinese writing outside so I don’t know what they sell, maybe people who only speak English will prefer if some shops have English signs as well.
    Alex: No, I think there’s a good balance between English and non-English signs in the area.
  8. Have you noticed any trends in the attitude towards speaking in a language other than English in Haymarket?
    Naomi: I think age plays a huge factor in language choice. I’ve definitely noticed that the older customers are more self-conscious when English is their second language, but teenagers who can’t speak English very fluently often still seem quite confident. I think these days the internet and pop-culture really helps people feel connected even if they have language differences.
    Kevin: When I am with friends and speak in Korean outside, sometimes I feel people are watching but mostly it is okay. Haymarket has many cultures so I think most people are okay with hearing different languages.
    Alex: Not particularly. I think that Haymarket always has people from all backgrounds because it has Chinatown and Darling Harbour nearby as a tourist attractions. Naturally, you’ll hear a range of languages being spoken and meet all kinds of people – it keeps my day at work pretty interesting.


As we can see from the interview transcripts above, all three of our interviewees make conscious choices about what language to use based on the context (see Q 2 & 3). As employees at a shopping centre with high tourist traffic, both Naomi and Alex noted that they will choose to use polylanguaging and combine English with their limited knowledge of a second language to communicate with customers who speak that language. While neither Naomi nor Alex speak a second language fluently, it is interesting to note that Kevin, who does speak Korean fluently, does not code switch at all. It is implied from Kevin’s responses that his friends also speak Korean fluently, so it may be possible that in his case, code-switching or borrowing may not have much of an effect on the effectiveness of communication as it is possible that his friends do not speak English. In all cases, the speaker is choosing the language which is most appropriate for the audience. 

Additionally, none of our interviewees seemed to hold strictly monolingual attitudes (see Q 6-8), understandably so as the area they work in is very visibly multilingual, as is Sydney itself. Naomi, however, mentioned that a doctor had advised her mother to only speak to her in English when she was born in the United States, which may reflect a shift in attitudes towards multilingualism in the West over time. It was once thought that a bilingual or multilingual upbringing may be detrimental to cognitive development, and while this idea is widely outdated, ideas of cultural assimilation through prioritising mastery of the local language over the heritage language are still present in today’s society. However, bilingual speakers may face disadvantages if their heritage language lacks ‘prestige’ or is not valued in the society, such as prejudice or limited access to education due to there not being resources available in their heritage language (Fromkin et al., 2014). It seems the concern has shifted from mental development to social integration and the understanding of the pragmatics of the local language.

However, it can be observed that problems concerning social ostracisation or accessibility of education are not very prevalent in Haymarket. With a linguistically and culturally diverse community, and the local library boasting a large collection of community language items, Haymarket proves to be very accepting of its diverse demographics.     


The diversity of language backgrounds amongst the interviewees provided highly interesting insights into language choices and attitudes in Haymarket. It was made clear within all three interviews, particularly in Questions 2-3, that language choice was strongly based off the speakers’ context and who they were addressing. In terms of code-switching, Alex and Naomi were predominantly English speakers and would engage in polylanguaging behaviour on several occasions; Alex would use French almost exclusively when discussing numbers (i.e. shoe sizes), whereas Naomi would switch between Bahasa and English when speaking to relatives.  In contrast, Kevin who is confident in both English and Korean strictly does not utilise polylanguaging in his communications amongst people from his heritage. This finding suggests that code-switching amongst native language speakers may in fact hinder the communication process as language is deeply intertwined with behaviour, ideologies and culture (Heredia and Altarriba, 2001). Thus, to make the most effective language choice, it is likely to be more convenient to express oneself exclusively in a particular language rather than engage in code-switching.

Interestingly, despite the diverse range in language backgrounds of the interviewees, there was no reflection of monolingual attitudes. This notion was primarily depicted in Questions 6-8, where each interviewee responded with positive remarks towards hearing other languages being spoken in Haymarket. Given that only 12.7% of the population do not speak a language other than English at home (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016), accepting  attitudes towards code-switching is common given that multilingualism is so deeply ingrained in the domain’s daily operations. However, as a society it is interesting to note that monolingual attitudes have clearly shifted in the last few decades. Naomi’s anecdote conveyed that when she was born in America, the doctor had advised her mother not to speak to her in Bahasa Malaysian. In today’s society, this strictly monolingual attitude has been counteracted with the abundance of migration, globalisation and increase in multicultural communities (Pavlenko and Blackledge, 2004). Hence, attitudes have shifted from the assimilation school of thought to a broader and more culturally diverse worldview.  

Nurie profileYoung profileAlex profile



After the interview with a native Thai speaker about language use in Haymarket in blog #3, I decided to interview two English-only speakers to compare how linguistic diversity in Haymarket affects and is perceived by monolingual people. Below is a summary of the interviews.

Interview #1 with Platypus employee

  1. Do you speak any languages other than English?
    No just English.
  1. Do other employees at this store speak other languages, if so, which languages and with whom?
    Some employees speak Thai and Mandarin, both with each other and with other customers.
  1. How does code-switching begin with customers and how often does this occur?
    Generally, the customer will ask the staff if they speak Thai/Mandarin, and if they do, they will begin to speak in that language. This happens up to ounce per day.
  1.  Do the customers make an effort to speak English? Do you think there is a pressure to speak it?
    They definitely make an attempt to speak English, even if they cannot speak it well. It feels like there is some pressure to speak English, but not much.
  1. What languages do you think are spoken the most in Haymarket?
    Probably Thai and Mandarin.

Interview #2 with Connor employee

  1. Do you speak any languages other than English?
    No just English.
  1. Do other employees at this store speak other languages, if so, which languages and with whom?
    Several languages are spoken by other employees, though only rarely is it used in the store to speak to each other and customers.
  1. How does code-switching begin with customers and how often does this occur?
    Code-switching occurs when the customer doesn’t know any English and generally tries to speak in another language to the staff. This happens about every 1-3 days.
  1.  Do the customers make an effort to speak English? Do you think there is a pressure to speak it?
    Most customers try to speak English, but I don’t think there is any pressure to speak it in Haymarket.
  1. What languages do you think are spoken the most in Haymarket?
    Chinese and Japanese. (When I asked specifically if Thai and Indonesian are heard much the interviewee said they are rarely spoken).

From the above interviews and the interview from blog #3 it seems like there is only a small pressure to speak English, as being the official language of the country and being a lingua franca. Even groups of people who all speak say, Chinese, will tend to feel some pressure to speak English because of this. This pressure, however, is slight and some people don’t feel it exists at all.

As to the attitudes to linguistic diversity, it seems even monolingual English speakers do not have any prejudice towards non-English speakers speaking another language, the only objection to this is general politeness, and that from a practical point of view it makes things much easier if everyone speaks English. The only monolingual ideology that might exceed this is that from the Thai speaker interviewed for blog #3, who said that as the official language English should be spoken by everyone, however it was not clear if he meant from that from a practical point of view or that people are morally obligated to speak the official language or lingua franca.


 Our original hypothesis that Thai, Indonesian, Mandarin and Cantonese would be the most prominent languages in both signage and conversational usage has been rejected. However, our second hypothesis that we would find evidence of English being dominated by other languages and in harmony with other languages has been confirmed. Of note is the fact that Indonesian was under-represented given that 10.2% of the population indicated that they spoke the language at home in 2016 census. Thai was also under-represented in the public domains of Haymarket, specifically in government signage, especially considering that 20.4% of the population indicated that they spoke Thai at home. However, Thai town and the upper levels of Paddy’s Market evinced Thai in their domains. Indonesian seemed under-represented based on initial ABS data analysis. In regards to the greater presence of Mandarin and Cantonese in public signage, this is probably a result of the larger Chinese population both in Haymarket, in New South Wales and in Australia. The possibility of featuring Thai government signs in Haymarket may be a worthwhile avenue for further research. However, and this applies to every interpretation made in this conclusion, the sample collected by the research group is insufficient in size to make valid claims about the population of Haymarket, let alone the population of Australia.


In terms of language preferences in multi-lingual people, friends, university and work are the obvious situations in which a clear preference for one language is displayed. While most participants denied having had any negative reactions to their language and encouraged the idea that Australia is multicultural, there was still indirect pressure to speak English. The actual size of that pressure is somewhat contested amongst group members. Two more extreme cases are given above where both participants lost their heritage languages as children due to direct English language pressure. Despite this, the research group has come to the conclusion that Haymarket is mostly a linguistically harmonious place.

The research project has led to these questions, hopefully to be addressed in future research. Is Tagalog at threat in Australia? Is Bahasa Malaysia at threat in Australia? Is it rude to speak languages that another person doesn’t speak in front of them? Is it morally and logically acceptable to instruct a family to stop speaking their heritage language in favour of the lingua franca?



Blog 3 | Mixed Language Data - 11 April 2018

This week’s blog is themed around polylanguaging and translanguaging, and we have investigated public signs and interviewed people from our location of interest to find out about elicited translanguaging and polylanguaging.


The interviewee is an international student from Hong Kong. He visits Haymarket twice a month, mainly for leisure purposes, e.g. karaoke, internet cafes and restaurants. He is a native speaker of Cantonese, and he is fluent in both English and Mandarin. He alternates mainly between Cantonese and English when he is talking to people that have the same language background.

He engages in code-switching under several circumstances:

  1. Switching some words/expressions to English might have shortened the sentence
  2. To better express himself
  3. Proper nouns, including product names, brand names and names of social medias,   particularly when they do not originate from a Chinese background, e.g. iPhone, PS4, Facebook and Instagram
  4. Academic terms that lack Chinese translations, or the Chinese translations are uncommon, e.g. modernism, post-modernism and avant-garde

 He seldom alternates between Cantonese and Mandarin, unless it is in the context of making jokes.

 He holds back from code-switching under two circumstances:

  1. In professional settings: He believes engaging in code-switching creates an image which a person is fluent in neither of the languages, and fail to fully express oneself
  2. When the listeners are not familiar/have a lower understanding towards the other language

 He thinks majority of the code-switching behaviour in Haymarket are performed by Cantonese-English bilinguals. Although the top language spoken in Haymarket is Mandarin, he thinks Mandarin speakers seldom engage in code-switching because Mandarin speakers are more prone to use the Mandarin phonetic translation for foreign words, e.g. Mai Dang Lao as in McDonalds. Also, he thinks the younger generation engages in code-switching more often than older generation. He is not aware of code-switching behaviour in other languages because he cannot distinguish between other foreign languages.


This week’s blog will focus on the examination of polylanguaging (a form of code-switching) in Haymarket by looking at some pictures I have taken on the 18th March for the purpose of all blog posts. As aforementioned in the second blog, the most dominant language that displays signage in public is Chinese and English but today I will try to look at signage of other languages next to looking at Chinese and English signage showing polylanguaging feature. We will see that I will fail to find public signage other than Chinese/English and that the most common way to find signage from other languages is to look at domains like restaurants.

20180318_154353Location: in a food court on Sussex Street, Haymarket
Domain: Restaurant Saigon Pho
Languages: English, Vietnamese and Chinese

Interestingly, this menu displays three languages, English, Vietnamese and Chinese but there is no sign of Thai or any other languages which the ABS data illustrated from the first Blog. The reason is because the restaurant may not have a lot of Korean or Indian speakers as customers, or the environment is not frequented by speakers of other languages other than Chinese and Vietnamese.

20180318_151111Location: Ultimo Rd, Haymarket
Domain: Restaurant Lao City
Languages: English and Thai

Thai and English signs are displayed on the menu of that restaurant. In most cases, the only time where I could find Thai signs accompanied with English was in the menu of restaurants. In addition, most of the staffs in that restaurant were speakers of Thai but I could hear some European languages from customers.

29027723_10156265250172059_803913376961921024_nLocation: Paddy’s Market
Domain: Public sign
Languages: English and Chinese

This is a picture taken by Tom, who also did not find any government public sign that displays Thai, I think that all members of our groups could not easily find a government public sign with other polylanguaging sign other than Chinese/English in Chinatown.

However, it does not mean that languages such as Korean, Thai and Indonesian are absent. In fact, when I was walking in the streets of Haymarket, I could hear them, in addition with other languages such as Vietnamese and Japanese.


My interviewee is a full-time student at UNSW who is familiar with the Haymarket area and visits it frequently.


  1. What is your language background?
    I speak English, Chinese, and I study Korean

  2. When you are with people that have the same language background, do you engage in code-switching?
  3. Under what circumstances do you code-switch and can you think of any examples of code-switching?
    When I’m out with family or with friends that speak the same languages- like a casual setting. An example of my own code-switching would be when we don’t want another party to hear or understand what we are saying so we code-switch, and sometimes when I want to use a word that can’t really be translated into English I’ll use it in its original language.
  4. How often do you visit Haymarket? For what purposes?
    Once a week? I have dance practice around the area, so I walk through it often.
  5. Do you think people in Haymarket engage in code-switching? If so, what languages do they alternate?
    Yes, mainly Chinese but occasionally some Korean as well.



While my interviewee is not a resident of Haymarket, her language background aligns with the ABS data we collected on commonly spoken languages in the area. The interviewee’s observations on the Haymarket area also seem to be in line with our ABS statistics, as Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) and Korean are both among the top 5 languages other than English spoken in the area. From the examples she gave, we can see that she code-switches with familiar people, and uses it either to borrow words that don’t exist in one language, or to ensure certain parts of a conversation are understood only by the interlocutors.

We can see from her responses that code-switching is elicited by specific contexts that require the speakers to find a way to communicate discreetly or communicate a thought that cannot be expressed concisely in the main language of the dialogue, thus, she and her friends are translanguaging; drawing resources from different languages in order to carry out a conversation under the restraints of a particular context. If the interviewee borrows words from Korean, a language she is still learning and not necessarily fluent in, she may engage in polylanguaging, using her limited knowledge of Korean in combination with English or Chinese to simply communicate her thoughts. In either scenario, we can see that the use of a particular language(s) is determined by how effectively it can be used to communicate in the context of the linguistic exchange, so were she communicating with people who only spoke English, there would be no need for code-switching as it would not benefit communication.



The above photograph is of a t-shirt stall in Paddy’s Market, Haymarket. The lady pictured is the owner of the stall, the employee that I interviewed consented to the interview but declined having her photograph taken.

Exploring Polylanguaging

In accordance with Fishman (1965), I investigated what is now termed Polylanguaging in the domain of the workplace in Haymarket. I interviewed a female employee of a t-shirt stall in Paddy’s Market. Below is an abridged transcript of our interview.


  1. What is your language background?
  2. When you are with people who have the same language background, do you engage in code switching?
    Sometimes I code switch between English and Cantonese.
  3. Under what circumstances do you code switch and can you think of any examples of code switching?
    Only when necessary. Usually in a business setting when performing a transaction with a bilingual customer or customers. The dominant language is usually Cantonese. 
  4. How often do you visit Haymarket? For what purposes?
    I visit Haymarket three times a week for work. I am not a resident of Haymarket. 
  5. Do you think people in Haymarket engage in code-switching? If so, what languages do they alternate?
    They do engage in code-switching. The languages that I have heard are Indonesian, French, Malaysian and German.
  6. Based on preliminary research, Thai seems under-represented in public signage. Do you think this is an issue?
    I don’t hear Thai spoken in this area.

While further photographic evidence from other stalls at Paddy’s Market support the employee’s claims about the prevalence of code-switching between English and Cantonese, the absence of Thai in Paddy’s market is dubious. There is certainly evidence of Thai code-switching on the upper levels of the Paddy’s Market building. Regardless, code-switching between Cantonese and English is common with a preference for Cantonese. When Cantonese and English are code-switched in the stall, Cantonese is dominant with only simple English phrases used. English is used out of politeness. I should also note that I observed some polylanguaging when she spoke in English to me out of politeness, and switched to Cantonese in order to communicate with her employer. A common English expression I observed in the polylanguaging was “five dollars” as I purchased a t-shirt at the conclusion of the interview. Both subjects prefer Cantonese, but could speak some English. It should be noted that the use of “five dollars” is perhaps a better example of code-mixing than code-switching. It is possible that there are demand characteristic flaws in my interview as I mentioned my preference for French as my second language before I commenced the interview. This may also explain her answer to the Thai question as I showed her my questions before the interview commenced. For future interviews I will ask the questions without revealing them in advance.


interviewee profile

The interviewee is a part-time student at University Technology of Sydney (UTS) and spends a significant portion of her week studying in the UTS Library, located in Haymarket. Her ethnicity is Indian-Australian and she fluent in English and can speak limited Tamil and Cantonese.

 Key takeaways from the interview highlighted the scenarios in which the interviewee utilises polylanguaging in her daily life:

  • Speaking to waiters/waitresses at cafes and restaurants in Haymarket, in particular to convey her dietary requirements of no meat to be included as she is vegetarian
  • At the library when participating in group assignment meetings where members – most commonly exchange students – are more fluent in Cantonese than English
  • When discussing Chinese pop-culture (e.g. tv shows, music, etc) with her friends
  • At her workplace when clients of their marketing agency are more fluent in Cantonese

 Overall, it is clear that the interviewee utilises code-switching between Cantonese and English when the conversation is under the constraints of the other party’s limited English proficiency . The interview brought to light situations in which a native English speaker may alternate with Cantonese in Haymarket. Further, her description of her personal language use in Haymarket is reflected in previous research. The initial blog explored the Census Data, showcasing that Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) is spoken by 31% of the population (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016) and the second blog post depicted many of the signs in Haymarket written in a mixture of English and Chinese. Therefore, the scenarios discussed by the interviewee showcase polylanguaging in Haymarket as she bridges the language barrier (Ritzau, 2014) through intertwining English and Cantonese to successfully communicate with her peers, colleagues and friends.

Ultimately, the interviewee represents the multilingual nature of Haymarket through her portrayal real-world examples where she uses polylanguaging in the domain.



This image above was taken in Thai town, Haymarket. It is an advertisement for a currency exchange centre from/to the Thai baht. As can be seen in the image, most of the writing is in Thai, only information regarding where the shop had relocated to was written in English.  

A few questions were asked of the store manager, and the paraphrased answers a recorded below.

  1. What is your language background?
    Thai is my native language, but I can also speak English.
  2. Do you engage in code-switching?
  3. Under what circumstances do you code switch?
    When I speak to friends who speak Thai, and sometimes if a customer engages in it I will also code switch.
  4. How often do you visit Haymarket?
    I am in Haymarket every day, I both live and work here.
  5. Do people regularly engage in code switching? If so, in what languages they alternate between?
    People often alternate between from English to Thai, Chinese, Hong Kong (the manager specifically said Hong Kong, I assume he is referring to Cantonese), Korean, Japanese, French.
  6. Are there any languages people respond negatively to?
    No, because Haymarket is very multicultural people speak many languages. Haymarket is very welcoming.
  7. Is there any pressure to speak English? Is there social pressure to speak other languages?
    Because there are so many English signs, speaking English is very helpful and so many Thai speakers can also speak English, but there is no social pressure to speak English.

When asked if a person who spoke Chinese could live in Haymarket without ever learning English, the manager indicated that the person should learn English, because that is the common language in Australia. This is interesting, because after saying that there is no pressure to speak English, he then said something which would pressure a person to learn and speak English. This could imply that although some may think that a person should learn English, there is no overt pressure to speak it, possibly because they do not want to be seen a rude or forceful on others.

Blog 2| Public Signage and Visibility - 11 April 2018


image7An advertisement for a famous bar in Sydney, Ivy, taken in Haymarket, 11/03/2018
Language: English and Simplified Chinese

The advertisement is interesting because it delivers different messages in different languages. First, in English, it says ‘the Macallan Highland single malt whisky’, while in Chinese, it says ‘New Year’s Party’, which was not translated into English. I believe the author wanted to attract both Chinese and other customers to join the party, so different approaches were used. The author first attracted general customers by stating that the bar serves fine whisky. Then, the author attracted the Chinese by stating that they are holding a New Year’s party. To Chinese people, new year means Chinese New Year (CNY), which is different from the Western 01/01 new year. Therefore, it makes sense that ‘New Year’s Party’ was not translated to English, as the author assumed other customers would not celebrate CNY and come to the bar because of CNY. Here, we can see the author’s attempt to deliver different messages in different languages according to the receivers’ cultural background.

Several shop signs in Thai town, taken in Haymarket, 16/3/2018

Language: Thai, English and Traditional Chinese

The shops’ names on the signs are written in both Thai and their romanisations, making it easier for other speakers to refer to these shops. Traditional Chinese characters that have similar pronunciation as the Thai’s pronunciation are also written in the sign. This demonstrates the influence of Chinese in the suburb.

In line with the demographics of Haymarket, most of the signages are in Simplified Chinese (Mandarin), Thai, Traditional Chinese (Cantonese) and Korean. While Indonesian ranked the third in top languages spoken in the suburb, signages in Indonesian are a lot less visible than Chinese and Thai. This might be caused by the overwhelming number of signages in Chinese and other East Asian languages located in Chinatown.

It is difficult to be certain about whether the authors of some of the signages were using Cantonese because Cantonese speakers do not write Cantonese in formal settings, e.g. signages. Instead, they write in traditional Chinese. However, some of the users of traditional Chinese do not speak Cantonese e.g. Taiwanese. Therefore, we can at best say if a signage is written in traditional Chinese, there is a high possibility that the author speaks Cantonese.


All pictures were taken in Haymarket on the 18th of March.

Public sign in Haymarket

Language: English/Chinese

This is a sign written in English with its translation in Chinese located in Chinatown, in Kimber Lane, a very small alley surrounded by Asian restaurants, also known as “In Between Two World” where artworks and paints are presented on the wall. This sign was installed on the wall of the street because it is assumed that people or the restaurants around that alley left some rubbish. The reason why there is a translation in Chinese is certainly due to the high presence of people speaking Chinese as seen in the census data of the ABS last week. English was probably written first because it is the lingua franca, the most valuable tool here to communicate the law in multilingual context. However, signage from the top languages spoken in that area such as Thai, ranked in second position followed by Indonesian, are not very much visible. 

image10Comasters Law Firm and public Notary sign
Language: English/Chinese

I found this sign in a building on George Street giving information about the location of companies such as comasters law firm and public notary. The sign presents the name and location of the companies available in that building. Interestingly, only some of the companies’ name have a Chinese translation. Therefore, it can be assumed that those companies with Chinese translation added to their name are more focused on Chinese market, hence welcoming more Chinese speakers. From another perspective, maybe there are many customers who cannot speak or even read English, or the companies are simply more well known under their Chinese names than their English names.

Reflection: I was expecting to find other signage in languages other than English and Chinese as the census data showed evidence of the presence of Thai, Indonesian and Korean speakers in Haymarket. Nevertheless, I found very few of them but this is unsurprising as the census gave a higher percentage in Chinese ancestry. Therefore, the presence of signage with Chinese is more dominant than the other languages aforementioned. I assume that the best way to find signage of Thai, Indonesian or Korean is in businesses such as restaurants, massage salons or hair salons.


image1A sign for a Korean church. Date taken: 11/03/2018

In last week’s blog post we learnt from our census findings that Korean is spoken by around 5% of Haymarket residents, so it is not surprising to find Korean signage in the area. This sign displays Korean and English languages. It was found in the domain of public signage, and the English text is a direct translation of the Korean text: ‘Sydney Juan Church’. We can assume that the author has put this sign up as an invitation not only to Korean churchgoers but also to those who do not speak Korean. As a Christian organisation, it is presumably a part of their church’s doctrine to be inclusive of all people and backgrounds, thus the inclusion of English- a language common amongst the majority of people in Sydney. However, while both languages have been scaled to fit the sign equally, it appears that the Korean text is slightly more dominant as it is visually heavier, confirming that the main purpose of the sign is to appeal to Korean churchgoers.

This notion is further evidenced by the pamphlet handed to those attending the sermon.

image14Sydney Juan Church pamphlet. Date taken: 11/03/2018

When group member Tom attended the sermon he was handed this pamphlet and a pair of headphones. Immediately one can see that the majority of the text is written in Korean. The only English text present is in the schedule, (highlighted in the image are cues that read ‘MC’, ‘all together’ and ‘only those on the stage’ which are not are not translated) and addresses of other locations. To make up for this, they provide non-Korean speakers with headphones so they can listen to an interpretation of the sermon.

It is interesting to note that while English and Korean were more-or-less equally represented outside the church, inside, there is a clear imbalance in the written media. It seems that attendees who do not speak Korean would have to rely on the audio interpretation in order to engage in the sermon, and that information written on the pamphlet exclusively in Korean would be delivered via the headphones in English.


All translations of Chinese are provided by group member Kristy.

image13Photo 1: Bus stop and route alteration sign. Domain: Public Bus Stop. Suburb: Haymarket. The meaning in English and Chinese are the same, uses simplified Chinese

image16Photo 2: Banner outside of Paddy’s Market. Domain: Market. Suburb: Haymarket. The meaning in English and Chinese are the same, uses simplified Chinese.

Visibility of Languages

As the above photos show, Mandarin is clearly a dominant language within the public spaces and commercial domains of Haymarket. This is unsurprising considering the census data analysed in the last post. However, languages such as Thai, Indonesian, and Korean seem surprisingly underrepresented. This is not to say that the languages are non-existent in Haymarket, but rather that they lack salience in public spaces. The first photograph shows a bus sign authored by the state transit authority to notify commuters of an alteration in bus routes. While the vertical positioning of the two languages may suggest English dominance over Mandarin, it also suggests some harmony between the two languages. However the sign does not feature Thai, Indonesian or Korean which are all prominent languages according to the ABS Census data. The second sign perhaps more accurately reflects local language preferences in its vertical composition, to wit Mandarin is dominant. Indeed, its focus on the Chinese calendar suggests a dominance in the suburb, which is to say that the Augustan Calendar is less prominent as an instrument for measuring date. However, once again, it should be noted that Thai, Indonesian, and Korean are markedly absent. This suggests a deficiency in the expression of these languages in public spaces, specifically government signage. It should be noted that there are Thai, Indonesian and Korean signs in Haymarket, but only in commercial domains such as restaurants and advertising. The banner was presumably authored by the local city council of Sydney, to be more inclusive of local Chinese communities in public signage. It should also be noted that this dominance of the Chinese calendar does not equate to a replacement of the Augustan Calendar. Further investigation is required to verify the authorship of the two signs, but at this juncture, an under-representation may be inferred of Indonesian, Thai and Korean in government signage.


Unsurprisingly, majority of the signage that is publicly visible in Haymarket is written in Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin). This observation is in line with the Census Data (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016) highlighting that the most common country of ancestry in Haymarket is China (31.9%). However, it was interesting to note that Chinese signs dominate strongly over signs written in Thai, despite Thailand being the second most common country of ancestry, comprising of 18.3% of Haymarket’s population.


The image above is the sign for ‘Comfort Zone Beauty Clinic’ and brings to light the effects of language in a multicultural society. In particular, amongst the beauty services which are predominantly written in Mandarin, one such service is ‘Semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo in Korean style’. This beauty treatment is juxtaposed by a Caucasian woman shown in the image below the text, who is undergoing the eyebrow tattoo. The sign’s combined effects of the Mandarin text describing a Korean beauty service and Caucasian woman suggests that the impacts of language are far beyond simple translations and is a catalyst in fusing Asian and Western cultures.


The notion that language is deeply intertwined with culture is further exemplified in the sign above from Market City shopping centre. The Mandarin writing translates to ‘pay attention to us’, referring to the act of ‘following’ on social media accounts. Whilst the author included Facebook, Instagram and Google+, it is interesting to note they also included the social media platform ‘WeChat’. WeChat is an exclusively Chinese messaging app which Business Insider has been named, ‘the most important app in China right now’ and is largely unavailable for users who do not know Chinese. Therefore, through its Mandarin writing and inclusion of WeChat as a platform to follow, one may infer that this seemingly mundane sign is customised for Haymarket’s ethnic population.

In conclusion, it is evident that public signs and their visibility in Haymarket are largely intended and personalised to the high Chinese population in the suburb. On a larger scale, the signs also bring to light the idea that language is a significant factor in bringing adopting cultural norms via the fusing of beauty standards, social media and more.


All photos were taken in Haymarket on the 15th of March 2018.

Images of Chinese writing:

image11中國參茸國藥行 (Traditional Chinese)
Chinese Ginseng and Antlers Chinese Pharmacy
[參茸 is a combined term for expensive herbal medicine in general]

This is a sign for a store which sells traditional herbal medicines. It is assumed that most people who would buy traditional Chinese medicines are of Chinese descent and can speak Chinese, as seen in the sign. Interestingly, the sign also features an English translation, possibly for those who are of Chinese descent but cannot read Chinese writing.

image12萊福珠寶集團 (Traditional Chinese)
Laifu Jewellery Group
[萊福 is just a name without particular meanings, 萊 is a word mostly used for foreign sounds now, 福 means luck or fortune]

A jewellery store with mostly Chinese writing, this store was in the mall above Paddy’s Markets where several stores with only English writing were nearby. The signs inside the store advertising a sale imply that it is expected their customers can read both Chinese and English writing.

image2干手器使用说明 (Simplified Chinese)
Usage instructions for hand dryer
洗手 (Washing hands); 干手 (Drying Hands)

These are instructions for the tap/hand dryer in the bathrooms located in the mall. Note the writing is in simplified Chinese, rather than the more common traditional writing found on shops.

image6告示 (Simplified Chinese)
Watch Step Safety

This is another sign in Paddy’s Markets in simplified Chinese. Like the signs for the tap/hand dryer, it was likely put in place by the owners of the building.

image5诚挚欢迎你 (Simplified Chinese)
Sincerely Welcoming You
Jehovah’s Witnesses

This pamphlet stand for the Jehovah’s Witnesses had both English and Simplified Chinese pamphlets. Evidently, they expect some people to be unable to read English, and those people to be able to read Simplified Chinese.

Signage in other languages:

image4Ho Jiak (maybe Fiak, Liak).

A Malaysian restaurant. Compared to the Chinese stores and restaurants in Haymarket, very little is written in the Malay language, even the staff wanted sign is in English. This is significant, as the employees of a restaurant are generally required to speak the language of that restaurant. The menu is written in English and Chinese, as seen lower in the image. This means that even in non-Chinese stores, many of the customers are unable to speak or read English.

As can be seen from the images, Chinese writing both in its simplified and traditional systems dominates Haymarket.  Chinese signs regularly do not feature any English, suggesting that the shop owners expect many of their customers to be very competent in Chinese. Given the difficulty in reading Chinese for non-native speakers, it is possible that the shop owners expect most if not all their business to come from native speakers born overseas. This seems reasonable, given that 32% of Haymarket residents trace their ancestry back to China, while 25% speak a Chinese dialect in the home. The types of stores also suggest that non-native speakers may not be the target demographic for the stores, given that many of the stores sell Chinese herbal medicines or Chinese groceries. The only signs which features simplified Chinese are signs from within Paddy’s Markets and non-Chinese groups.

Signs written in Thai were surprisingly absent, given that there is a significant presence of Thai people in Haymarket, and that if the Mandarin and Cantonese are counted separately, Thai is the most spoken language in the home, even including English. The pamphlets from the Jehovah’s Witnesses are very interesting, given that religious groups tend to aim to reach as wide an audience as possible, and have chosen to feature pamphlets which have only Chinese and only English. This implies that they expect people to be either able to read Chinese and not English, or they are able to read English. This may explain the lack of signs in Thai, that those who speak Thai are more likely to be able to read and speak English than their Chinese counterparts.

Interestingly, the official sign for Paddy’s Markets is written in English, while the safety signs placed around the markets are in English as well as Simplified Chinese.


Blog 1| The Demographics of Haymarket - 11 April 2018

Group Members: Pritha Barai, Tomas Ditton, Sanjana Nagesh, Kristy Tai, Lorenzo Chuvand, Peter Bryce

Aims and Introduction

This group aims to conduct an investigation into multilingualism in Haymarket, Sydney. Commencing with a geo-linguistic analysis of ABS census data, this study will progress to perform an ethnolinguistic analysis of Haymarket. The ethnolinguistic analysis will provide an opportunity to test the conclusions of the geo-linguistic analysis, which may be biased, especially against speakers of languages other than English as well as providing limited data on the prevalence of languages spoken in public, by focusing on language domains and spaces in Haymarket such as cafes, restaurants, markets, schools, churches and street signage in accordance with Fishman’s (1991) linguistic research theories.  

The ethnolinguistic analysis will be predicated upon these questions:

  • How are languages visually represented in the Linguistic Landscape of Sydney?
  • How do Sydneysiders negotiate multilingual spaces?
  • How do they decide which language to use when?
  • Are languages in competition or in harmony?
  • Are some languages left out?
  • Is there evidence of a monolingual mindset in Sydney?
  • What attitudes do people have towards multilingualism around them?

Geo-Linguistic Analysis

Haymarket is a Sydney suburb located at the southern end of the Central Business District and is home to Sydney’s Chinatown, Thaitown and Central Station.

Source: [click for source]

According to the 2016 census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) above, the total population of the suburb is 7353 people and the most common ancestry that can be found in Haymarket is Chinese (31.9%), Thai (18.3%), Indonesian (5.6%), English (5.1%) and Korean (4.8%). There is a striking ratio concerning the country of birth of parents in Haymarket, with only 2.9% of people having both parents born in Australia and 80.7% of people with both parents born overseas. This high number of people with foreign backgrounds, and consequently foreign language backgrounds, is a fact which opens Haymarket to the possibility of being a very diverse community with many different languages. In fact, the data from the ABS shows that the top languages spoken other than English at home are Thai (20.4%), Mandarin (20.3%), Indonesian (10.2%), Cantonese (5.1%) and Korean (4.8%). The data also notes that only 12.7% of the Haymarket population do not speak a language other than English at home.

Ethnolinguistic Analysis

The pictures below demonstrate language diversity in Haymarket. This Initial evidence demonstrates multi-lingual harmony in Harmony in the first photo, and potential Mandarin Dominance in the second. Although the graffiti of an English word onto the advertisement suggests potential tension between English and Mandarin. It should also be noted that the evidence collected and presented at this stage represents a significantly small sample size. Furthermore, while the data is reliable, there are serious issues to do with the validity of the data in drawing interpretations, such as poor content validity. Subsequent data collection by the research group should help to alleviate these initial experimental design flaws.

Languages that can be accessed on a touch screen display at Paddy’s Markets.

A poster for a Chinese restaurant with English graffiti.

The poster reads:

Life is more than poetry and far away places,
Because ‘Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang’is right in front of you.
You can now enjoy Yuan’s skewers in Australia, Canada and the Netherlands.

(translated by Kristy)

The advertisement is written in simplified Chinese, which is the Chinese characters used in mainland China. Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang is the brand’s name, and it means ‘Yuan’s delicious-smelling skewers’. Also, the English brand name (Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang) written below the Chinese brand name uses pinyin, which is the official romanisation system for Mandarin. Therefore, the person who designed the advertisement should be a Mandarin speaker from mainland China.

Conclusions and Predictions

Based on the above data, the research group will test the hypothesis that Thai, Indonesian, Mandarin and Cantonese will be the most prominent languages in both signage and conversational usage. Furthermore, this initial data supports the theory that speech communities are not anchored to their specific countries. As such, in both domain (Fishman 2000), we may expect to observe English as not being dominant but rather dominated by languages ‘native’ to other countries. In some cases, the languages may be in harmony. Monolingual pressure from English may be less apparent in Haymarket, but is still observable, especially in the second photo. Subsequent posts will examine further domain data drawn from Haymarket businesses, signage, schools, local conversations and field interviews as well as examining the relationship between this data and multiculturalism and multilingualism. 



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