Children and Language

  • In this talk, given during Monash University’s Research Month to celebrate the UN International Year of Languages, Emerius Professor Michael Clyne postulates that Australia must develop its multilingual potential to promote dynamism and innovation. He recommends ways in which Australia can become a vital link nation between Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.

Professor Michael Clyne of the Language and Society Centre at Monash University

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  • Here ABC Radio National's Linguafranca speaks with Professor Michael Clyne of the Language and Society Centre at Monash University. A leading expert on bilingualism in Australia. In a just-released video on bilingualism, entitled Growing Up with English Plus, Professor Clyne points out that over a quarter of the populations of Sydney and Melbourne use a language other than English in the home, and that there are more bilinguals in the world than mono-linguals.

Australia is essentially a multilingual society and we need to harness and promote this natural resource.

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  • This year, the UN International Year of Languages, countries all over the world have been reflecting on their achievements in languages and what they could be doing better. In Australia, we have seen the continuation of a public discourse which started the previous year, on the benefits of second language learning and the decline in language programs over the years. Professor Michael Clyne argues that this discourse will remain on the surface if it does not take into account the linguistic diversity we are blessed with, and if we cannot overcome our pervasive monolingual mindset.
    "The legacy of learning is a gift of love YOU can give to a child. At Learning Child, we recognise the value of play as an important tool for learning. Our online toy store provides you the opportunity to shop for among the best quality, educational toys that will bring joy to children’s faces and stimulus for their young minds. The unique selection of traditional toys, wooden toys and learning toys we offer are keepsakes that are timeless and will be appreciated in their growing years."

Overcoming Australia's monilingual mindset

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  • Did you know multilingual children think differently and develop better problem-solving and cognitive skills?

Clyne, M. Australia’s Language Potential, UNSW Press 2005


  • When a child is fluent in two languages, they know more than one word for the same object or concept. Current research leads to the belief that this can add to the cognitive flexibility of the child.



  • “Babies are the citizens of the world”---the research is evidence of one of the most important discoveries on babies’ early language learning abilities.

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  • Did you know being bilingual may delay Alzheimer's and boost brain power?

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