Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Using the theoretical framework developed by Clyne this paper examines the factors influencing language maintenance among a cohort of secondary school students of Vietnamese ethnic background in Adelaide. It reports on a survey of 197 students who were asked (1) to estimate the extent to which, in Australia, they used Vietnamese when speaking to close others; how often these people used Vietnamese when speaking to them; and how often the students used Vietnamese in certain social contexts; and (2) to rate their ability in written and oral Vietnamese and written and oral English. Variables derived from these measures were then correlated with a number of other demographic, social, cultural and attitudinal factors in order to determine the major influences on language maintenance. Language use was greater with parents and grandparents than with members of the students’ own generation. Vietnamese language was used more in private and ethnic settings such as the home and community events than in public settings. Vietnamese language competence declined and English language competence increased with length of residence. Overall length of residence in Australia and age at which that residence commenced were more influential in language maintenance than ethnic identity or attitudes to cultural maintenance.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Bankston, C. and Zhou, M.
    (1995) Effects of minority-language literacy on the academic achievement of Vietnamese youths in New Orleans. Sociology of Education68:1–17. doi: 10.2307/2112760
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2112760 [Google Scholar]
  2. Cahill, Desmond
    (1988) Difficulties in the assessment of language usage patterns of non-English immigrant families and their children’s bilingual proficiency. In G. Davidson (ed.) Ethnicity and cognitive assessment. Darwin, Darwin Institute of Technology Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Cahill, Desmond and Nguyen Xuân Thu
    (1995) The teaching and learning of Vietnamese in Australia and for Australia. Journal of Vietnamese Studies8:17–24.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Clyne, Michael
    (1985) Multilingual Australia. (2nd ed.) Melbourne, River Seine.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. (1991) Community languages: The Australian experience. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511597084
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511597084 [Google Scholar]
  6. Fishman, Joshua
    (1989) Language and ethnicity in minority sociolinguistic perspective. Clevedon, Avon, Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Giles, Howard and P. Johnson
    (1987) Ethnolinguistic identity theory: A social psychological approach to language maintenance. International Journal of the Sociology of Language68:256–269.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Gilhotra, M.
    (1984) Language maintenance among the Sikhs of Woolgoolga. Journal of Intercultural Studies5,1:33–54. doi: 10.1080/07256868.1984.9963249
    https://doi.org/10.1080/07256868.1984.9963249 [Google Scholar]
  9. Holmen, Anne
    (1992) Parent attitudes to children’s L1 maintenance: A cross sectional study of immigrant groups in the Nordic countries. Paper presented atthe conference on maintenance and loss of ethnic minority languages, Sept 1-4, The Netherlands.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Holmes, Janet , M. Roberts , M. Verivaki and A. ‘Aipolo
    (1993) Language maintenance and shift in three New Zealand speech communities. Applied Linguistics14:1–24. doi: 10.1093/applin/14.1.1
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/14.1.1 [Google Scholar]
  11. Jamieson, Penny
    (1980) The pattern of urban language loss. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology16,2:102–109. doi: 10.1177/144078338001600218
    https://doi.org/10.1177/144078338001600218 [Google Scholar]
  12. Martin-Jones, Marilyn
    (1991) Sociolinguistic surveys as a source of evidence in the study of bilingualism. International Journal of the Sociology of Language90:37–55. doi: 10.1515/ijsl.1991.90.37
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl.1991.90.37 [Google Scholar]
  13. Nguyen Xuân Thu
    (1991) The Vietnamese community abroad and its primary goals. Journal of Vietnamese Studies1,4:3–10.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Ninnes, Peter
    (1995a) The cultural adaptation of students of Vietnamese ethnic background. PhD Thesis, Hinders University.
  15. (1995b) Cultural adaptation among Vietnamese-Australian students: Cultural values, attitudes to school and study behaviour. In N. Bagnall (ed.) Tradition and change ANZCIES 1995 conference papers. Sydney, Australian and New Zealand Comparative and International Education Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Ôn Liên
    (1993) Marital problems in Vietnamese partners presenting to a bilingual psychiatric service. Journal of Vietnamese Studies6:87–93.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Phạm Nhu Mai
    (1994) Language attitudes of Vietnamese bilinguals in Melbourne. MA Thesis, University of Melbourne.
  18. Sachdev, Itesh , Richard Bourhis , Sue-wen Phang and John D’Eye
    (1988) Language attitudes and vitality perceptions: Intergenerational effects amongst Chinese Canadian communities. In W. B. Gudykunst (ed.) Language and ethnic identity. Clevedon, Avon, Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Smolicz, Jerzy
    (1979) Culture and education in a plural society. Canberra, Curriculum Development Centre.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Smolicz, Jerzy and Roger Harris
    (1977) Ethnic languages in Australia. International Journal of the Sociology of Language14:89–108.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Taft, Ronald and Desmond Cahill
    (1989) Mother tongue maintenance in Lebanese migrant children in Australia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development10:129–143. doi: 10.1080/01434632.1989.9994369
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.1989.9994369 [Google Scholar]
  22. Trân thi Niên, Marie
    (1993) A humanistic sociological study of the maintenance of Vietnamese language and culture in Australia. Unpublished Master of Educational Studies project, University of Adelaide.
  23. (1995) English language acquisition for Vietnamese women and its implications. Journal of Vietnamese Studies8:81–87.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Veltman, Carl
    (1983) Language shift in the United States. New York, Mouton. doi: 10.1515/9783110824001
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110824001 [Google Scholar]
  25. Vỗ Phiên
    (1989) The Vietnamese language and people abroad. Journal of Vietnamese Studies1,2:3–12.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Wolfram, Walt
    (1986) The English of adolescent and young adult Vietnamese refugees in the United States. World Englishes5,1:47–60. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑971X.1986.tb00639.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-971X.1986.tb00639.x [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error