Linguistic Diversity

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Dating back to the time of European settlement at around 1700 century Australia had over 250 languages spoken across the continent. With time, some of the languages have become extinct. In the past three decades the Australian government, academicians and researchers have been working on policies and strategies to preserve and maintain indigenous linguistic heritage. The national indigenous language association audit found that in 2004, only 145 indigenous languages were still spoken on the continent and 70% of them critically faced the danger of extinction (John McEwen., 2008).

Indigenous languages were initially spoken and not written. They are characterized by complex grammar and syntax. They also contain large vocabularies that reflect their cultures, experiences, and traditions of the local communities. Students from Australia and New South Wales with English as their second language are incorporated in a government-integrated program both in primary and in high school (Leanne, 1997). English as a second-language programs are offered to students who are new to Australia and those born from non-English speaking backgrounds. The main objective of the government is to boost the students understanding of English to hasten their communication.

In my experience, the policies in schools and the need to speak one particular language for easier communication has killed the diversity. English is given more priority over other indigenous languages. This disadvantages student who originate from non-English speaking backgrounds. The government and the stakeholders at large should come up with strategies that encourage language diversity. I would appreciate a situation where by all the indigenous languages are regarded as equal even in learning environments. Focus should not be drawn on English alone instead, authorities should encourage all languages. Currently as it is, students with English as a first language by default have an edge over students from non-English speaking backgrounds (John, 1989).

Conclusions

There are so many languages spoken in Australia, but the government puts much emphasize on the use of English. Of late efforts to revive and maintain the use of many indigenous languages have been realized. Australia is a very diverse continent with over 200 languages spoken across. Latest surveys indicate almost two thirds of the indigenous languages have died. This explains why policy makers and the government came up with measures to preserve indigenous languages.

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