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Title: L1 and L2 chinese, German and Spanish Speakers in Action: Stancetaking in Intergenrational and Intercultural Encounters

Author: M. Cordella Huang

Abstract: The Australian population is culturally and linguistically diverse, with over 400 languages identified in the 2011 national census. Nationally, 18.2% of Australians predominantly speak a language other than English at home, while in the state of Victoria, where this study was conducted, two or more languages are used in 25.7% of households, with 23.1% of individuals pre-dominantly speaking a language other than English at home (ABS, 2012). Some of these languages are spoken mainly by older migrants, whose level of English may be poor. This latter fact can limit opportunities for social participation, leading to feelings of isolation and disengagement (Angel &  Angel, 1992; Kritz et al., 2000; Lee & Crittenden, 1996; Litwin, 1995). This isolation, in turn, may become a predictor of poor general health. In contrast, active social participation has been shown to enhance older people’s health and wellbeing (Newman & Brummel, 1998; Seeman & Crimmins, 2001). Further, the opportunity to share their language and cultural heritage with  young people in their adopted country can give older migrants a renewed purpose in life (Clyne  et al., 2013).Migrant human resources remain underutilised in Australia and yet reports from secondary education sectors (e.g. Liddicoat et al., 2007) lament that second language (L2) students are seldom able to interact with native speakers in a natural setting (Clyne, 2005). This is seen as an obstacle to their motivation and development to continue learning the language at school. Liddicoat et al.(2007) report low levels of participation, achievement and retention rates in language learning programmes in Australian schools.

Source: Challenging the Monolingual Mindset, J. Hajek & Y. Slaughter (ed.), 2014, 97-112. Toronto: Multilingual Matters.