Maintaining Spanish as a Heritage Language in Australia

By Stephanie Natolo.

Published by The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 6, 2014 $US5.00

Heritage language maintenance in Australia faces great challenges. In Australia, English is the dominant official language de facto, whilst Spanish is a community language. Spanish is primarily learnt and used in the home with parents and other family members, however, English holds power via hegemonic means, and is used in a multiplicity of domains. This paper presents an exploratory qualitative and quantitative study documenting the linguistic methods by which second generation Argentineans maintain the Spanish language and reveals major factors which are successful in Spanish language maintenance in an English-dominant society. This study employs Giles and Johnston’s (1987, 1981) Ethnolinguistic Identity Theory as its theoretical edifice. The survey was administered to 50 second generation Argentinean-Australians. Later, an interview was undertaken with 26 informants. The foci of this paper are to proffer data relating to participants English and Spanish language use and maintenance, their individual and collective identity, and domains for Spanish language maintenance and identity. It also discloses the positive and negative attitudes towards the use and maintenance of the Spanish language in Australia.

Keywords: Argentinean-Australians, Ethnolinguistic Community, Spanish, Argentinean Diaspora

The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies, Volume 11, Issue 4, August 2014, pp.33-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 6, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 550.792KB)).

Stephanie Natolo

Ph.D Candidate, School of Languages and Linguistics, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Stephanie completed her Honours thesis in the area of Spanish and English language contact in Australia. Her research interests include ethnolinguistics and Argentinean history. She is currently undertaking Doctoral studies at Griffith University, Australia in the area of intergenerational ethnolinguistics.