Asian Languages

December 12, 2011 | Author: | Posted in Education

Asian languages can be heard in all major Australian cities. If you go to Sydney or Melbourne it’s clear that Asian people are very well integrated into Australian society. Like several other major cities worldwide you can find a bustling Chinatown, featuring some amazing food and products.

Because Australia is situated nearest to South East Asia, especially countries which include Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, China and Japan, they are the nations which usually conduct the majority of trade with Australia.

Australia has been trading with these countries for a significant time frame which has resulted in the natural migration of a large number of Asian people to Australia. They are a key piece in the jigsaw puzzle of the nation representing the countries which matter most to Australia, their big trading partners.

For this reason migration of individuals over generations you might expect the sheer numbers of Asian language speakers and perhaps languages to increase, however the first big study of Asian languages in Australian educational institutions in over a decade illustrates declining participation rates in spite of the Rudd Government’s $62 million four-year program to reverse the trend.

The research from the Asia Education Foundation at Melbourne University verifies a continuing and dramatic drop in the number of students studying Indonesian, Japanese, Korean or Chinese.

Indonesian is faring the worst and might vanish at year 12 level by 2020, the research warns.

Japanese is also tapering significantly, while growth in Korean and Chinese is resulting from native or heritage speakers.

Overall, substantial numbers of students drop Asian languages completely before year 12.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd again this week stated to make every effort to raise Asian literacy, which several specialists say has practically collapsed.

What has not been addressed is why this is happening? How can there be such a decrease in speakers of Asian languages when they perform a key part throughout the economy?

It is a challenging question to answer and there is no right or wrong. There are several factors which we are able to speculate about, for example, perhaps children of Asian families that are raised in Australia don’t see the requirement to speak their parent’s language given that they consider themselves more Australian than Asian.

An additional possibility may be that because there are plenty of Asian people learning the English language, which is the international language of business there is no requirement for translation company .

Explaining why this is transpiring in Australia is hard to answer with any certainty. What is obvious is that if things carry on in this direction, the ability for effective Asian language translation in Australia may suffer.

This article has been written by the author, Alex Blaken. Should you require any more Asian Languages please visit his Languages resources!

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