Almost 7000 languages are spoken throughout the world and 23.2% of Australians over 5 years speak a language other than English at home (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). Additionally, 21.9% of preschool children in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children are regularly spoken to in a language other than English and 12.2% speak languages other than English, commonly: Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Greek, and Mandarin. Approximately a quarter of Indigenous preschool children in the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children speak an Indigenous language and are supported by family and community members. Educators and speech pathologists have critical roles to play in supporting children to be competent communicators in the languages of their communities. Recent international collaborations undertaken as part of Sharynne McLeod’s ARC Future Fellowship have resulted in the development of practical and accessible resources for working with multilingual children. For example, the Multilingual Children’s Speech website www.csu.edu.au/research/multilingual-speech provides resources and information regarding over 30 languages. These international collaborations have been established with the goal of enhancing multilingual children’s participation in society.
October 21, 2013
Today I gave a Brown Bag Seminar to my colleagues in the School of Teacher Education at Charles Sturt University outlining some of the research from my ARC Future Fellowship. It was titled "Supporting multilingual children's speech and language acquisition" and here is the abstract: