Immigration, Language and Multiculturalism in Australia
Posted: 2 Jun 2000
This paper uses a unique survey on multiculturalism in Australia to explore attitudes towards immigration and multiculturalism. The ethnic backgrounds of immigrants are shown not to matter as long as immigrants are perceived as wanting to become Australian, rather than remaining apart. Australians support government programs to assist the adjustment process, but oppose programs that encourage distinct language and cultural maintenance or foster linguistic/ethnic concentrations. The apprehension that Australians have toward multiculturalism is that they see it as a mechanism for separate cultural preservation. Linguistic enclaves are shown to reduce the acquisition of English language skills among immigrants, whereas positive attitudes among immigrants toward Australia are associated with greater proficiency in speaking, reading and writing English.
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