Exploring language choices in Parramatta
In an interview conducted on a university student who regularly visits Parramatta, they mention that although they speak languages other than English (Cantonese); English was preferrably spoken in and around the suburb/area. Because most of the shops, restaurants and services are predominantly English speaking, they specifically chose to use this universal language to communicate with others while spending their time in Parramatta. However, it was noted that languages other than English were practiced because certain services or restaurants which cater toward a specific cultural group would be more suitable to use. Judging from this, language choice is heavily dependent on the context or group in which the individual is in. For instance, the interviewee mentioned that when they visit their local dentist, they speak Cantonese to better communicate with the dentists who were originally from Hong Kong.
The following is the transcript of the interview conducted on the university student:
What languages do you predominantly speak at home?
Mainly English and Cantonese
And do you speak English or Cantonese more often?
Depends on the person. Like if it’s with my parents, I will speak Cantonese but with my siblings I would speak English.
What about your friends who also speak Cantonese. Is English or Cantonese used?
Why is that?
I think it’s just easier to express my thoughts and ideas if I use English. There are some words or phrases I don’t know how to use properly or translate from English. Plus, English was my first language and so that’s what I mainly use around my friends. Sometimes, we would use Cantonese at school as a code language when we didn’t want other people to hear what we were talking about. That’s of course, if they also didn’t know Cantonese. We had to be very careful!
When you visit Parramatta, do you find yourself speaking English or Cantonese?
Probably English because nearly every store I walk into uses the English language.
Are there certain settings that prompt you to speak the Cantonese language at all?
So at my family dentist in Parramatta, we speak Cantonese to the staff and we do this because our mother also speaks Cantonese in this setting. Also in Asian restaurants, typically the people are not fluent in English and so it is much better to converse in Chinese as it is easier to communicate.
What other languages do you hear when you visit Parramatta? English is obviously spoken, but what other ones have you heard?
Chinese, Vietnamese and also Lebanese. There are probably more but that’s what I usually gather when I get around the trains of Parramatta.
In Parramatta, how do you feel about language diversity?
I think language diversity is excellent. Since Australia is seen and known for its multiculturalism, it is really fantastic to see many languages and cultures being practiced. It allows them to express their thoughts and feelings in their mother tongue which is something we all should be able to do. It’s a blessing to have so many languages being used in Australia because it just reinforces the idea that we are a multicultural country who enables freedom of speech whether that be in English or any other language/dialects.
Information collected by Elizabeth He
EXPLORING LANGUAGE CHOICES
This is a verbatim transcript of an interview conducted with a friend (ER) who lives in Parramatta.
Hey man, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. I just want to start off by asking how long you’ve been living in Parra and what languages you speak.
No worries. I’ve been living here for about six years now and I can speak English and Chinese.
Mandarin or Canto?
Ah, cool, cool. So, and this might be a bit weird since we usually talk in English, but, in what type of situation would you rather communicate in English even if the person you’re talking to is proficient in Chinese?
I’ve never really thought about that. Well, majority of my Chinese friends are also fluent in English, whether it may be their first or second language. I would say most situations we would communicate in English over Chinese because we’re more comfortable with speaking English. Normally if a situation requires clear communication, like if I’m giving instructions, then it’s probably best to use English rather than Chinese. I feel like for most of my Chinese friends, their level of Chinese is at a very elementary level so any situation that requires a complex vocabulary, it’s better to just speak in English.
Fair enough. Why do you think you’d rather talk English in these situations? Like, not only for ease of communication but what social reasons do you think influence someone to choose to speak English?
This doesn’t apply to me but I believe that there may be a social pressure for ethnic groups to speak English in Australia so it doesn’t ostracize them from the predominant Aussie/white culture. I feel like this viewpoint may be more predominant in millennials rather than older generation ethnics, though.
Now for the opposite, in what situations would you rather communicate in Chinese? And again, why do you think you would prefer to talk in Chinese in these situations?
Reiterating from what I said before, most ABC (Australian-Born Chinese) teens have an elementary level of Chinese, plus a few cuss phrases. I personally think that communicating in Chinese sounds funny, it sometimes adds humour to the situation because most people don’t expect it. I guess it’s something you typically do around other ABCs or people that understand the phrase you’re about to say. You know, maybe you’re playing a card game or something and when you feel like you’re getting really bad luck, you start cussing in Chinese, lightening the situation and adding humour. It’s also nice to keep touch with your ethnic tongue, being 100% whitewashed isn’t always the best thing. And if you’re an ABC, I feel like you should be able to balance both English and Chinese no matter the level because it’s a language that I would want to pass onto my children in the future as well, if I ever end up having any [laughs]. Plus, I think being able to speak multiple languages is beneficial not only for socialising but also professional development.
Yeah, I remember watching you play mahjong a while back and hearing you swear in Chinese every couple of minutes [laughs]. I was thinking you’d probably speak Chinese with your family though, I’m pretty sure I heard you speak Chinese to your mum before.
Oh yeah, that’s true. Generally, yeah, I talk to family in Chinese but some specific stories and anecdotal phrases sound better and have a different meaning in Chinese. A lot of Chinese phrases also don’t have an equivalent English phrase. And I feel like a lot of culture and history would be lost if I didn’t speak Chinese with my family members, tying back to what I said before about wanting to pass the language down to my kids. I reckon that most Chinese grandparents would feel distraught that their heritage stops at their grandchild.
Alright, so we’re gonna move away from language choices to attitudes towards languages now. How do you feel about other people communicating in languages other than English and Chinese?
I think it’s great if people communicate in other languages, I believe knowing how to speak more than one language is a great skill to have. Regardless of the language, whether it may be English or Chinese, Australia presents itself as a multicultural country and so I think it’s important to allow people to express their culture in their own way, otherwise it would be a bit hypocritical to say Australia is multicultural.
More specifically, what about people communicating in languages other than English and Chinese on public transport like buses and trains?
I don’t really mind it, people should be allowed to speak the language they’re most comfortable with. I can imagine some people would be irritated at people speaking their ethnic tongue but it’s not like they’re breaking the law or anything. Sure, Australia may be an English-based country but the individuals that communicate via their ethnic tongue in public perhaps are international students, family visiting overseas, or whatever. So I personally don’t mind it, but I’ve been in situations where I can see some people being irritated if they spot another individual constantly communicating in their ethnic tongue and I think it’s petty to be annoyed at something like that.
I agree that it is petty to get mad at someone speaking a language other than English, or one that you’re not familiar with. Why do you think some people get annoyed though?
I don’t know, could be racist or something. Or they might just be really firm on the idea of Australia being an English-based country and not have had exposure to a lot of non-white cultures in Australia before.
Yeah, seems like that would usually be the case. So, I remember this time I was waiting for the 891 at Central and an old Chinese guy walked up to me to ask for directions or something. I couldn’t hear him properly and just assumed he spoke Chinese cause I’ve been asked for help in Chinese before. So I said something like “Sorry, I don’t speak Chinese. My friend might be able to help you.” and I gesture to my friend. She ends up helping the man and as we’re getting on the bus she says “I’m pretty sure that guy was speaking to you in English, not Chinese.” [laughs]. Anyways, that’s supposed to be a nice segue to my last question: If someone were to ask you for help on public transport in Chinese, would you reply in English or Chinese? Why?
[Laughs] Nice. I would ask if they understood English. If they did, then I’d communicate back in English because I wouldn’t want to have miscommunication. If they didn’t understand English and only understood Chinese, I’d reply in Chinese the best I can. The language I reply in would depend on which one I feel most comfortable with providing information and which one the individual understands better.
Fair. Thanks for your answers, man. You’ve given some really interesting responses.
All good, my dude. Glad to help.
Information collected by Kenneth Revadulla
Exploring language choices and attitudes in Parramatta
An interview with a student who is originally from Afganistan who fled to Pakistan and then to Australia. She currently lives in a housing commission at the cusp of Guildford and Parramatta.
What language do you normally speak at home?
Normally I speak Hazaragi at home with my family, no one except for my sister is very good at English and she recently got married and so she’s going to move away from home soon.
When do you use English and why?
At school, I try to speak as much English as possible and because there are very few people who can speak Hazaragi it’s not too hard. Only one other person speaks it in year 12. I will also use English at Westfields because very few people speak it and one time I was speaking to my mum on the phone in Hazaragi and someone started yelling at me and spitting on the train when i was going home so now I try to only message people in my language. I also use English when we go to the doctors or anywhere like the bank because my mum can’t speak English so I have to translate for her if my older sister isn’t there. I try to encourage my younger sister (year 8) to also speak more English at home.
When do you use your language and why?
Mr X in science can sometimes understand my language and a bit of Dari so if I ever have problems in science, sometimes I see him to help me understand my work, otherwise I just use google translate. At the shops where we go to get food, my mum can speak Dari and I can also speak it a little bit so I speak that so we can get a discount(?) because the man who owns it was also a refugee. I use it at home with my family and with Hina at the Community Migrant Resource Center. I also speak it with my fiance but he also encourages me to speak as much English as possible. Sometimes if i’m speaking to my soccer friends in English and I don’t know a word I will also use Hazaragi.
How long have you been living in Parramatta for? Do you hear other languages?
I have been living in Parramatta for nearly 3 years now, I hear lots of other languages, even at school I hear lots of different languages like Arabic, Pashtun, Dari, Chinese, English, Hindi and much much more. I think Parramatta is good because there are lots of different peoples but it’s also very safe even though everyone is a bit different.
Do you mind if other people speak other languages that you can’t understand?
Miss, I can barely understand English of course I don’t mind! It’s very important that people keep their culture and where they are from in their families so I think it’s a good thing that people speak other languages as long as they aren’t doing it to be mean to other people. THat’s just rude, but if a shopkeeper can speak to someone in their own language I think they should. So everyone can have a little community.
Information collected by Emma Tang
Exploring language choices in Coogee
This week was an interesting opportunity to interview at bus stops, complemented by surveying some fellow uni students to find out their attitudes and experiences with multilingualism.
At the main bus station near Coogee beach I spent a bit of time observing and interviewed an elderly Russian woman. Interestingly I approached another couple waiting for a bus, however they responded, “sorry no speak English. Russian.” This fits into our census findings for Coogee which says that Russian accounts for (1.6%) of the languages spoken in the area.
Firstly I asked her if she has a tendency to code-mix and she said that she prefers to speak either Russian or English. In her words “it is not good to mix.” However she did say that she regularly switches in the case when she speaks with her grandchildren, as she wants them to speak Russian but they prefer to speak English. However this goes against what I found in one of my surveys of a young Australian man who has a Finnish girlfriend. Interestingly his girlfriend is part of a small minority of Fins who speak Swedish, so they usually converse in Swedish together, however he said some Finnish words ‘feel right’ such as the Finnish word for what (mitä) which feels stronger than the Swedish equivalent (Vad). He explained that for Finnish people it is normal to speak a variety of languages.
This explains several things:
- According to the Finnish example, it fits in with our studies that languages based on nation states, such as ‘Finnish,’ ‘Swedish’ or ‘English’ are not important and that rather people draw on their linguistic armor and use the skills at their disposal, based on company, topic, time and space to best communicate and convey their thoughts and feelings.
- My Russian interviewee was in contrast to this line of thinking, however this may be more indicative of a view expressed by her generation, one that is changing. The ‘nation state- link to language’ may seem a lot more powerful for her than younger generations who through globalization and the internet, have managed to build up a broader language repertoire (albeit even polylanguaging without proficiency). One survey respondent said they like to use phrases and words of other language for ‘fun.’
When I asked my interviewee how people react to her speaking Russian she said that as she has been here for 38 years so her English is very good. However on public transport when speaking Russian she prefers to do so quietly and discretely, given the political angst and bad reputation Russian can have (especially now.) This is particularly interesting because my observations from using the train and buses was that most people aren’t afraid to use another language than English (on phones) and seem to do so without trying to hide it. Also the reactions I have gauged seem to be neutral or positive, nobody seems to be bothered by hearing other languages. In one of my surveys of a monolingual English speaking Australian she even said that she loves to hear other languages been spoken and will even turn off her headphones to listen.
This is indicative of several things:
- For a Russian woman who came to Australia 38 years ago, and has lived through the Cold War Period she didn’t explicitly say she has had bad experiences, but would know that at times Russia has been much maligned in Australia.
- Young people in Australia are curious about other languages and cultures, driven mostly by multiculturalism and globalization. Of the 6 surveys I did of Australian born young people (20-30 yrs) 5 of them speak or are learning other languages.
This heightened awareness of other languages and desire to learn is also facilitated by the internet. Even though internet provider (Anatoly Voronov) was adamant that the internet was post-imperialist and would see English dominate, it has actually led to other languages gaining traction and easier ways for people to engage in language learning (online language apps and chat groups). In my survey results several respondents said they have changed their phone language or computer language. However one bilingual speaker of English and Japanese says that due to Japanese having three alphabets she finds it easier to engage in English. This is indicative that the internet is playing a large role in the changing of language attitudes.
The last question I put to some people was what are their thoughts about the question, “where are you from?” I wasn’t very explicit in explaining what this meant so for most people they saw no issue. However for my Australian/Japanese respondent she said she hates being asked this an Australian born person of mixed descent.
All in all most of the findings were in tune with things we have looked at in class, as well as some interesting responses.
Information collected by Tasha Krasny
Exploring language choices and attitudes in Coogee
What is your language background? Is English your first language?
I spent the majority of my childhood in Sweden. Me and my siblings were all brought up in a Swedish only environment. English was learnt through school teaching and media influences, so I would say I’m fluent in Swedish while English is my second language.
In what situation/context is English your preferred language of communication? Why?
In most situation I would say. Since we’re living in Australia where the majority of the people shall be more comfortable with using English in everyday life. Plus, I’m still in the middle of further learning the language (English) day-by-day so it is good to push myself to practice more. Also, certainly for academic purpose I would say since the ministry college I go to is also local and operated in all English context.
In what situation/context is Swedish your preferred language of communication? Why?
Mainly when I’m with family and friends back home, because we grew up speaking to one another in Swedish so it’s more comfortable that way. But other than that I basically only speak English when I’m here (in Australia), even with people from home. Since we’ll always be hanging out with those who don’t understand Swedish so we don’t want to make anyone feel left out. Oh, but sometimes when I can’t think of a word in English I use the Swedish word of similar meaning so maybe my Swedish friend could translate it. That’s probably the time when I can’t entirely talk in English.
How long have you been living in Coogee? And what languages are commonly spoken/used as far as you know?
This is my fourth year living in Coogee. It is nice around here and so far people I know mainly speak English. Some of them might know other different languages themselves but mostly English. Oh, not sure if this counts, the pizza place down the road, people there speak a language I don’t know. It could be Spanish I’m not sure. But yea they speak to some of the customers in that language, they probably share the same mother tongue.
What do you think of the level of language diversity in the area?
Not very diverse I would say. Like for the restaurants I’ve been to around here have all English menus as I remember so I guess that tells you the language background of the people here. They do incorporate specific words of the dishes like “char kway teow” at a thai restaurant but that’s pretty much it.
How do you feel about yourself or other people communicating in a language outside of context? Let’s say two Italian classmates of yours chatting in Italian during an English-based group discussion.
Well, honestly, whatever language they’re comfortable with speaking. There could be many reasons why people decide to speak a certain language or another. Like how I get stuck and had to come up with the Swedish word, some people are still beginners or they’re too shy to speak in a language they’re not very good at. It could get annoying and feel left out if friends of yours turn out to “switch channels” and speak their languages but I personally respect them in a sense. As long as they’re not intentionally doing it to say bad things about someone knowing that they do not understand .
Information collected by Richard Lau
Attitudes towards languages and transport
I spent this week attempting to talk to some people regarding their experiences with foreign languages on public transport in the area. Although I was not able to get a large or varied sample size, the response I did get seemed to be mostly positive.
Bus stop at Coogee, 29/4/18
One of the people I talked to was a frequent user of the buses in Coogee, and spoke English, Assyrian, Arabic, and Turkish. She stated that she speaks Assyrian if she is on public transport with family, but otherwise speaks English. She claimed to have never had any bad experiences speaking a foreign language on the bus, and said that she didn’t care about people speaking
languages she doesn’t understand, reasoning that since she does it she understands, although it can get annoying if they’re overly loud. Overall this is a very positive viewpoint of Coogee’s attitudes towards language use in this space, albeit it comes from someone who has no reason to be hostile towards other language use, the fact that she also has not had any bad experiences is a very good sign.
Bus stop at Coogee, 29/4/18
A second woman I talked to spoke English and Spanish, only speaking Spanish with her sister and friends. She told me that she hasn’t had any bad experiences herself but has witnessed an incident once where a man got angry at her friend for speaking Spanish, telling her to speak English. She thought he might have gotten frustrated simply because he didn’t understand what they were saying. The idea that because you are in Australia you should speak English is a monolinguistic ideology, and the incident is a good example of why it can be a problem. The
fact that this type of harassment has only occurred once for this woman is good, but it’s a common story.
Finally, I also talked with a woman who didn’t speak any language but English. She told me that she likes hearing people speak foreign languages and that she hasn’t seen any bad reactions to
it herself. This rounds out the results to being relatively positive towards foreign language use, with a minimal, yet still present, stigma against foreign language use.
Information collected by Hugh McGregor
The title reads OC SELECTIVE UMAT
The sign goes onto describing the man’s experience in education and psychology and his success stories with other students. He also offers a guarantee through his trial tests, if a student’s marks do not improve there will be some kind of compensation. He then proceeds to describe how there is very little point in a student doing well in the HSC, but still failing their UMAT and never fulfilling their true potential. His tuition service is “one to one, face to face and in the comfort of your own home”.
This tutoring advertisement was found near a bus stop in Parramatta – the cultural mecca of the western suburbs. It evidences many examples of code-switching such as the words “OC”, “UMAT” and “Trial test”. The advertisement is written in a traditional script of Chinese and the intended audience is most likely parents with primary to high school aged children. This distinction is particularly important as it points to the fact that the advertisement is for Chinese immigrants/Chinese diaspora in the 90s who now have given birth to first born Australian-Chinese Children. Another interesting note with this is the author’s use of code-switching with the word “SELECTIVE” in the Chinese script. This word to someone who has no contextual understanding of the word would mean “elite” or “specialised” however in the context of this advertisement, it takes on the meaning of “Selective” which is a test sat by year 5 students to try to land themselves a space in a selective school which shows an intertwining of the two cultures.
The presence of this advertisement is unsurprising as ABS statistics point to the presence of many Chinese speakers living in the area with Parramatta station which is connected to Westfield, being a hub for both parents who are shopping as well as students after school because there is a bus station nearby. Parramatta station is the central linking point for several schools in the area, one such school being Arthur Phillip High School in which 1000 students out of the 1, 100 students are of a non-English speaking background. With just under half of these students being of a Chinese-background (either international students from mainland China or Australian-Born-Chinese students). It is also important to note that this sign was found near a Chinese grocery store which is right outside of the station. An analysis of this sign can show how minority cultures are adapting and utilising the dominant culture and language around them and creating a third space where these two understandings intermingle.
Information collected by Elizabeth He and Emma Tang
New ‘Speciale’ Pizza Advertisement for Fratelli Fresh
Languages: English and Italian
This is a bus advertisement about a new item at the restaurant Fratelli Fresh. The advertisement seems pretty normal but I’d like to highlight the use of the Italian ‘speciale’ as opposed to the English ‘special’. The use of the former helps build upon the idea of the Italian-ness of the product – it is not only exceptional to Australians but perhaps also to Italians themselves. Such clever use of language, as well as the central location of the words ‘SPECIALE PIZZAS’, also helps construct a network that enforces Italian-ness as one connects the Italian words ‘bresaola’ (aged dried and salted meat originating from northern Italy) and ‘Fratelli’ (‘brothers’) to ‘speciale’. These words may also implicitly suggest a sense of tradition or closeness often associated with family and the process of food changing over time. This sense of closeness may also be suggested by the inclusive first-person plural pronoun ‘our’. What is most effective about this ad is perhaps the fact that one doesn’t need to understand Italian to know that ‘speciale’ means ‘special’, thus enforcing the Italian authenticity of the product with little effort on the viewer’s part. Because of this, I don’t think that the intended audience of the advertisement is solely people who can read and understand Italian but consumers in general. With this in mind, the author must’ve safely assumed that people could make the link between Italian ‘speciale’ and English ‘special’. Furthermore, whoever composed the advertisement has clearly intended for the Italian-ness of the product to have been processed by viewers as easily as possible, supported even by the prominent colours in the pizza: red, white, and green.
Information by Kenneth Revadulla
This was a networking event being held by the Community Migrant Resource Center (CMRC) in Parramatta for a start-up. The translation reads as follows: (Korean translation in bold)
NDIS PROVIDER Korean Workshop
The status and outlook of businesses
*Date/Time 2018/2/26 From 10am (runs for two hours)
*Address: L4, 1 Horwood Pl, Parramatta (Community Migrant Resource Centre)
*Host/Sponsor: Business Connect Multicultural Advisory Team
Limited spots available: 20 people (Networking and related resources)
Phone number: 0412 124 846
This sign was found after walking around near the train station at Parramatta. The sign code switches between English and Korean and uses key English lexical items which don’t have a direct translation in Korean, such as “NDIS PROVIDER”. This advertisement is not surprising given that Parramatta is undergoing massive renovations and turning into Sydney’s second CBD. The advertisement is for a Korean start-up business networking event which is analogous with the census data which shows that Parramatta has a sizeable Korean community (1.5%).
The polylanguaging used in the advertisement is also unsurprising given that the advertisement is run by the local migrant resource center and looks after many different ethnicities in the area including (but not limited to): Afghans, Syrians, Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, Filipinos and Vietnamese citizens who have migrated to Australia. They run grass-roots workshops to help migrants become more self-sufficient and are often sponsored by other local businesses.
One very interesting aspect is the existence of borrowed English words inside the Korean language. Examples include ‘workshop’ which is Romanised in korean as weo-ku-sho-pu and ‘networking’ which is Romanised as net-teu-wo-king. This advertisement clearly is only trying to reach out to the Korean community as all essential information is in Korean and the workshop will be hosted in Korean with opportunities to network with other Korean business owners.
Findings by Emma Tang
Heading Caption: Locos (plural for Crazy)
Suburb: Coogee Bay Road, Coogee
Author: Lyme Aid Charity Event
Languages: English, Spanish
This photo is an example of polylanguaging and spontaneous borrowing. In our census data it was clear that English is the dominant language in the Coogee area. However, also in keeping with our census statistics, Spanish accounts for 2% of speakers and this minority could be a factor as to why the Spanish word for ‘crazy’, ‘locos’, was used as the name of this charity event. Just near this sign there was also an advertisement for a DJ Asado (Asado = ‘barbecue’ in Spanish) and Spanish could be heard amongst street chatter.
However, the term ‘loco’ is not any old word in Spanish, as it would likely be understood by many English speakers. It is a term used by people (especially youth) in situations of spontaneous borrowing. This is alongside words such as ‘amigo’ and ‘chica’. It is becoming a popular word to use, which could be due to a combination of globalization, multiculturalism and popculture (American television). Locos is also commonly sighted as a name of Mexican restaurants in Sydney. The interesting thing about the use of the term ‘loco(s)’ is that it is likely understood by most but requires no other proficiency in Spanish, thus making it an example of polylanguaging. However it is still not an example of borrowing, since we have an English equivalent (crazy), and ‘loco(s)’ is far from being universally accepted in Australia.
Observation: Whilst in and around Coogee on the beach I also noticed a girl selling empanadas. She was walking up to people on the beach saying , “I am selling empanadas.” Empanadas are a South American pastry (similar to an Aussie pie). From what I noticed nobody was buying these and I was able to make two assumptions: a) people were not hungry/interested in buying, and b) people did not know what an empanada was.
From the above poster example, ‘locos’ is a word which most people would recognise to be Spanish and know its meaning. However ’empanada’ does not fall into the same category. While more and more Latinos are coming to Sydney, as there are more places that sell empanadas, it is still far from entering the English language as an example of ‘borrowing’ such as ‘sushi’ or ‘kebab’. Perhaps if the girl had said to people, “Would you like to buy a savoury pastry?” she may have had better results.
Information by Tasha Krasny
This week I searched areas around bus stops, and the bus stops themselves for signs of
polylanguaging. While the closest I could find to this on the actual bus stops themselves was an advertisement for Heineken, I did find a couple examples of polylanguaging being employed on nearby store signs. As these are intended to be seen by people travelling along the street by public transport or not, I felt that they fit the domain.
Coogee, 22/3/18, Italian and English Café sign
I found this sign to be very interesting as it contains a common English word, an Italian loan word, and an Italian word that is uncommon to see in a predominantly English-speaking environment. I believe names such as the one featured here to be attempting to draw the customer in with either an attempt to sound exotic, or an attempt to speak for the authenticity of the store, and I believe that to be the case here as well due to the demographic of the area and the lack of evidence toward foreign language communities displayed earlier.
Coogee, 22/3/18, Thai and English massage advertisement
This sign again incorporates English, a loan word (massage), and an element purely from a foreign language. This sign is almost definitely advertising itself based on an exotic charm, offering several massages purely in English along with a “Mum Sa Bai” massage, named after the store itself. The phrase “mum sa bai” apparently translates to “A relaxing corner”, a very apt name for a massage parlour.
Outside of these two examples I also found a Halal accreditation certificate featuring Arabic and English, which is a standard certificate not aimed at the demographic of the area. However, it does lend to the authenticity of the restaurant it is advertising for. I also overheard an elderly Chinese couple speaking mandarin at one of the bus stops, but they didn’t engage in any code switching/mixing outside of pronouncing the name “Maroubra” from a passing bus.
Information by Hugh McGregor
Languages: English and Mandarin Chinese
Here is an interview with a Coogee resident about his code-mixing:
- What is language background and the level of proficiency of each language you speak?
I speak English and Mandarin Chinese. I would say that I’m fluent in English but average with Chinese only in speaking, can’t really read and write. Since I grew up here and only speak Chinese to my parents so there is like a limited context I can talk about (in Mandarin) like mostly about daily life and food in general.
- Have you come across the use of code-mixing? In other words, using 2 or more languages in single speeches. Will you give an example too?
Yes I have. It normally happens to me when I attempt to talk in Chinese about something in depth. There’ll be some words I can’t recall in Chinese so I just substitutes words in English since my parents and family friends normally understand it anyway. I remember the last time I was talking to a relative about an assessment on the ecosystem, I just couldn’t come up with names like the Arctic ocean and polar bears in Chinese so I just said it (in English).
- Do you think that your residency has had an impact on your use of code-mixing?
For sure. I have lived here my whole life and growing up I’m very used to speaking in English no matter if it is with my neighbours, friends or whoever. Chinese has definitely become a secondary choice (of language), which in turns hasn’t allowed me to fully acquired it so some of the times it’s more helpful to mix in some English expressions and stuff.
Information by Richard Lau
Public signage and visibility in Parramatta:
While exploring around the Parramatta CBD and the surrounding areas of the transport systems (i.e. trains, buses, lite rail), it was notable that English was the predominant language used on signs throughout the suburb. Although there were many monolingual signs (English) in and around the train and bus stations, I found it profoundly intriguing when strolling to the areas that were next to the bus stations.
In the image below, many signs protesting against organ harvesting were plastered on the walls in a number of languages such as Arabic, Spanish, English, Hindi and Chinese. This can be seen on the left of the photo in small writing. In contrast, the signs on the right combine both Chinese characters and the English translation underneath. The next two images are close ups of the middle and far right sign.
IMAGE 1: (‘Organ Harvesting petition’ in front of Parramatta station)
Written in multiple languages (Chinese, English, Arabic, Spanish, Hindi)
A close up of the middle sign can be seen below. Having spoken to one of the petitioners in Cantonese, I have learnt that the sign reads into the history of organ harvesting in China. One of the petitioners had told me that the concept of ‘Falun Gong’ is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline consisting of moral teachings, meditation and qigong exercises. Its popularity increased by early 1999 and was supported by 70 million practitioners and also the government as it provided many health benefits for Chinese citizens. However, this movement made some government Party members uneasy due to the fact that it outnumbered the Communist Party membership. Its emphasis on traditional values and spirituality were perceived as a threat to the party by some communist. Then in July 1999, ex-Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched an intensive, nationwide campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong by detaining them in labour camps, detention centres and black jails, where torture and abuse were routine. It was also reported that in early February 2017 evidence was found suggesting that in the 200’s, Falun Gong detainees were killed for their organs on a large scale. As a receiver of this message, I felt utterly shocked not only about the news the petitioner had just told me, but the fact that I had not known about this issue as I have a parent who is from China and regularly visits the country.
IMAGE 2:(‘Protest against Jiang Zemin’ in front of Parramatta station)
Image taken on: 17/03/18
Written in Chinese and English
Below is a close up of the sign on the right in Image 1. The text written in both Chinese and English promote a positive message about ‘Falun Gong’, and is positioned in the middle of the sign to capture the reader’s attention and ultimately reflects an image of diversity and peace as evident in the overall image also. As the receiver of this sign, I feel as if this sign was most likely utilised to undercut the depressing tone of the situation or issue that was posed. The colourful humans suggest the idea of diversity among a large population and paired with the English text creates a positive message about the movement they are attempting to advocate.
IMAGE 3:(‘Falun Dafa is Good!’ in front of Parramatta station)
Image taken on: 17/03/18
Written in Chinese and English
Information collected by Elizabeth He
This is an advertisement about shipping goods to Australia from China found at a bus stop in Parramatta. The text in the cloud reads ‘Chinese goods to Australia, prices starting as low as $28RMB/500g’. RMB here is an abbreviation for renminbi, the official currency of the People’s Republic of China. The idea that this advertisement is targeted towards people from Mainland China is enforced by the use of Simplified Chinese script, of which I have been informed is used primarily by those from Mainland China in contrast to Traditional Chinese script which is primarily used in Hong Kong. The text on the right reads ‘Direct delivery, arriving at your house with care’. The text on the bottom reads ‘No such thing as goods you can’t ship except for those you don’t know how to’. As the text is entirely in Chinese script (except for the rate), one can assume that the advertisement is targeted mainly towards those from Mainland China who have recently immigrated to Australia and don’t have a very good grasp of English. This is perhaps enforced by what the advertisement offers, the delivery of goods that are maybe not found in Australia and which those who have recently immigrated are more familiar with from their home country. Regardless of whether or not the advertisement is specifically targeted towards Chinese Mainland immigrants, one should acknowledge that this advertisement is intended mainly for those who can read Simplified Chinese script which is primarily used by people in/from Mainland China. It is likely the case, then, that the author of this script is from Mainland China or someone who knows the language of the nation. It’s also interesting that the company behind the advertisement is likely decently established in Australia, having an understanding that the kangaroo is a cultural symbol of Australia.
Information collected by Kenneth Revadulla
Public signage and visibility in Coogee
Caption: ‘Welcome’ in various languages
Suburb: Coogee Bay Road, Coogee
Author: The Randwick City Council
Languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, Mandarin and more
Domain: Bus Stops
In line with our census findings, the vast majority of signage in Coogee was written entirely in English, or had one of two borrowed words from other languages. However, this bus stop was an anomaly. It indicates that there is a small amount of visibility of other languages and would suggest that there will be an increasing tendency to find other languages creeping into the language landscape in Coogee and becoming more visible. This sign says welcome in many different languages (Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German etc), and is an example of the growing acceptance of Sydney as a multicultural city. Particularly significant in a suburb like Coogee.
While it is not uncommon for these languages to be visible in certain demographics of Sydney, such as Arabic in South-Western Sydney and Mandarin in Hurstville,
according to our census data Coogee is still one of the last standing english strongholds in Sydney. However, this sign does reaffirm that things are beginning to change, as it is an official council advertisement. Multilingual signs are more often than not unofficial, however this is a case of top-down signage coming from a recognised institution in the community, giving it a lot of legitimacy. Other council signs, such as the bus stop timetables or street signs, were written entirely in English, so this was the exception, though important when demonstrating the growing recognition of many cultural and ethnic influences in the Randwick shire. It also is a reflection of attitudes surrounding welcoming new ethnicities and languages.
Information collected by Tasha Krasny
In my research of Coogee I searched around the bus stops of Arden Street for any non-English signage, however all there was to find were the top-down messages on the bus stop themselves, along with a few advertisements and graffiti pieces, all of which were entirely in English.
Coogee Oval, 15/3/18, English, bus stop sign
It may be hard to see, but this poster from Transport NSW is entirely in English, which does make sense given that Coogee is a predominantly English-speaking suburb. As this message is meant to express instruction on how to use the bus services to as many people as possible, it makes sense when paired with the census results that it be written in the most widely understood language of the suburb. However as this is so close to a beach I think this might be an unwise decision. While Coogee is not as nationally popular as somewhere like Bondi, Australia is known for its beaches and it’s likely to attract tourists.
Coogee, 15/3/18, English, Lost phone advertisement
This was found attached to the bus stop on the intersection of Arden and Carr Street, it is a message put up by an English speaker attempting to get their phone back. Nothing on this message reads as odd from a grammatical standpoint and there’s no evidence of polylanguaging so we can only assume the author is a native English speaker. Again this is in line with the census results from earlier, very likely that any given posting in this suburb is going to be in English and aimed at English speakers, as travellers aren’t likely to be putting anything up.
Information collected by Hugh McGregor
Caption: Tutoring advertisements
Language: Chinese, English
Domain: Transport (bus stop)
The above are institutional tutoring advertisement signage written in mainly Chinese. The visibility of Chinese-oriented material reflects the demand accordingly, hence, indicates the involvement of a certain size of Chinese speaking population in the area. This is in contrast to our census finding, however, the fact that more than one Chinese-based materials are found in the area of Coogee might be explained by the idea that subsets of population are distributed according to their language communities. Nevertheless, the domination of the use of Chinese language on the signage could suggest that native Chinese speakers (primarily students and parents, due to the fact that both materials are education-based) as their sole target audiences.
Information collected by Richard Lau
The locations we’ve decided to explore as linguistic landscapes are Parramatta and Coogee. When we were thinking about the locations that we should explore, we thought it would be interesting to compare an Eastern suburb to a Western suburb especially since the most common non-English languages in the Eastern half of Sydney are quite different from those in the Western half. A map indicating the most common non-English languages throughout Sydney was produced by the Sydney Morning Herald in 2014. The map showed that Eastern suburbs tended to have Eastern Asian and Southern European languages as their top non-English languages, whereas Western suburbs found Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, and Southern Asian languages as theirs.
ARTS3695 Lecture 02: Linguistic Landscapes
To ensure that our East versus West comparison was clear, we decided on exploring cities/suburbs that were well established as being ‘Eastern’ or ‘Western’. Furthermore, we decided on looking at bus stops and buses as our domain as these were places where people of different nationalities often congregated. How people communicate at bus stops and on buses, as well as how signs and posters reflect linguistic landscapes, are some of our main points of interest.
Map of Parramatta accompanied by general statistics
As one makes their way through the bustling crowds travelling through Parramatta City, overhearing snippets of daily conversation, it becomes clear that the city is composed of people of many different nationalities.
Data collected from the 2016 census shows that the most common ancestries were Indian (26.9%), Chinese (16.3%), English (7.7%), Australian (6.5%), and Filipino (2.4%).
Additionally, a vast majority of people who lived in Parramatta City were not born in Australia (of which 24.3% of people were), many having been born in places such as India (29.8%), China (12%), the Philippines (2.2%), South Korea (1.5%), and Nepal (1.5%). Unsurprisingly, this smorgasbord of ethnicities lends to people communicating in languages other than English.
As the sole language of communication, English was used in 23.5% of households. Of the 68.8% of households in Parramatta City that spoke a language other than English, Mandarin was the most common in 11.8% of those households, followed by Hindi (9.8%), Cantonese (4.5%), Tamil (4.4%), and Gujarati (4.1%).
Below are some photos collected in Parramatta, reflecting the city as a multicultural mecca.
Map of Coogee (SED) accompanied by general statistics
The aforementioned statistics in Parramatta are very contrasting to those of the Coogee district (which encompasses an area between South Coogee to Waverly and Tamarama). The ABS data of the 2016 census shows that 70.2% of homes in Coogee spoke only English (triple that of Parramatta) and in cases of foreign spoken languages, the dominant ones were Mandarin (2.2%), French (1.6%), Spanish (1.6%), Greek (1.6%), and Russian (1.6%). This is in keeping with the Sydney Morning Herald report of 2014, in that Southern European languages tend to dominate the second languages within the Eastern suburbs.
Despite French, Spanish and other European languages being the most common foreign spoken languages, the data from the 2016 census shows that by far and away the most common birthplaces outside of Australia (54%) are English-speaking countries. Apart from Australia, England (6.9%), Ireland (2.9%), and New Zealand (2.5%) were the top responses, with China also ranking at 2%.This demonstrates that we haven chosen to compare two parts of Sydney that have very different demographics. The only statistic that they share is that both have a Chinese and Mandarin-speaking population, so this will be a particularly interesting point of comparison to see the visibility of Mandarin.
Parramatta ABS statistics and images collected by Elizabeth He and Emma Tang.
Write-up for Parramatta statistics done by Kenneth Revadulla.
Coogee ABS statistics and images collected by Hugh McGregor and Richard Lau.
Write-up for Coogee statistics done by Tasha Krasny.
References for Images:
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). [Ancestry, top responses statistics March 15, 2018]. 2016 Census QuickStats: Coogee. Retrieved from http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SED10021?opendocument
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). [Ancestry, top responses statistics March 15, 2018]. 2016 Census QuickStats: Parramatta. Retrieved from http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC13156?opendocument
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). [Country of birth statistics March 15, 2018]. 2016 Census QuickStats: Coogee. Retrieved from http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SED10021?opendocument
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). [Country of birth statistics March 15, 2018]. 2016 Census QuickStats: Parramatta. Retrieved from http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC13156?opendocument
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). [Language, top responses (other than English) statistics March 15, 2018]. 2016 Census QuickStats: Coogee. Retrieved from http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SED10021?opendocument
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). [Language, top responses (other than English) statistics March 15, 2018]. 2016 Census QuickStats: Parramatta. Retrieved from http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC13156?opendocument
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). [Map of Coogee (SED) accompanied by general statistics March 15, 2018]. 2016 Census QuickStats: Coogee. Retrieved from http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SED10021?opendocument
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). [Map of Parramatta (SSC) accompanied by general statistics March 15, 2018]. 2016 Census QuickStats: Parramatta. Retrieved from http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC13156?opendocument
Hatoss, A. ARTS3695 Lecture 02: Linguistic Landscapes [PDF document]. Retrieved from https://moodle.telt.unsw.edu.au/mod/folder/view.php?id=1646924
All photos of Parramatta taken by Kenneth Revadulla.
Photo of Coogee taken by Richard Lau.