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Professor Michael Clyne of the Language and Society Centre at Monash University

Australia needs to develop it's multilingual potential for future prosperity


In this talk, given during Monash University’s Research Month to celebrate the UN International Year of Languages, Emeritus Professor Michael Clyne postulates that Australia must develop its multilingual potential to promote dynamism and innovation. He recommends ways in which Australia can become a vital link nation between Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.

Australia is essentially a multilingual society and we need to harness and promote this natural resource.


Here ABC Radio National's Linguafranca speaks with Professor Michael Clyne of the Language and Society Centre at Monash University. A leading expert on bilingualism in Australia. In a just-released video on bilingualism, entitled Growing Up with English Plus, Professor Clyne points out that over a quarter of the populations of Sydney and Melbourne use a language other than English in the home, and that there are more bilinguals in the world than mono-linguals.

Overcoming Australia's monolingual mindset

This year, the UN International Year of Languages, countries all over the world have been reflecting on their achievements in languages and what they could be doing better. In Australia, we have seen the continuation of a public discourse which started the previous year, on the benefits of second language learning and the decline in language programs over the years. Professor Michael Clyne argues that this discourse will remain on the surface if it does not take into account the linguistic diversity we are blessed with, and if we cannot overcome our pervasive monolingual mindset.

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