Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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This article explores language experiences of three Bangladeshi migrant workers with low English proficiency in Australia through narrative inquiry. The narrative of each participant presents insights into the ways in which these migrants navigated through their work and social life, and developed social and communicative strategies to survive in the host country where English is the dominant language. Analyses of the narratives suggest that despite their limited English proficiency, these migrant workers were able to find ways to contribute to the host society and they felt satisfied with their lives in Australia. Although not generalisable, the findings call for taking a critical look at the prevailing assumption that without English language proficiency migrants cannot enjoy a successful life or ensure their social and economic wellbeing in the host society. At the same time, there needs to be a greater recognition of the role of migrants’ first languages in the new society. We also argue that instead of taking a generalised view of ‘success’ and ‘wellbeing’, taking a differentiated view may be warranted and this may require taking into account migrants’ individual circumstances and their desires and expectations in relation to their social origins.


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