Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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Patterns of language use by Sicilians and Venetians living in Sydney are here presented with particular attention to the maintenance of Italian and Dialect under the impact of widespread shift to English. Data gathered by questionnaire self-reporting are analysed according to four main variables: domain, linguistic generation, gender and region of origin. Results suggest that the original Italian diglossia between the High and the Low languages is well maintained, as Italian occupies the more public, formal and regionally heterogeneous space in the community, and Dialect the more private, informal and homogeneous one. Among the subjects’ variables, generation predictably accounts for the greatest variation, as both languages are used most by the first generation and least by the second. However, the original diglossia holds well also among the second generation. With regard to gender and region of origin, it would seem that, compared to men, women maintain both languages slightly better, and that, compared to men and Sicilians respectively, both women and Venetians maintain slightly better the original diglossia. We conclude that the position of Italian, although more limited, seems somewhat more solid than that of Dialect, and suggest some reasons for it.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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