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Multilingual Australia

Investigating Australia’s use of language in the past and present
We explore how users of non-English languages experience Australia and examine the role of language in how people engage with and, ultimately, think of themselves as ‘Australian’ – or not.

About us

Australia has always been multilingual in a variety of ways since it was populated by humans. We offer a forum for those who investigate and document how speakers of (mainly non-Indigenous) languages apart from English have recorded and represented Australia.

We expect to explain the basis of what an 'Australian community' might be when this idea is challenged and enriched through the multiple perspectives offered by non-English sources.

Opening Australia’s Multilingual Archive

Our project, funded by the Australian Research Council's Discovery Project scheme with a $949,564 grant (project number DP210101981), aims to mobilise Australia’s considerable and under-utilised non-English language resources to rethink our migrant and settler history.

For the first time, a rich multilingual archive will be used to examine Australia’s history from non-English perspectives. Outcomes include a framework outlining the role of language diversity in shaping Australian identity which will equip scholars, policymakers and the public to confront the challenge of cultural pluralism today.

  • Professor Adrian Vickers, Asian Studies; Indonesian Studies
  • Professor Yixu Lu, Germanic Studies
  • Associate Professor Rebecca Suter, International Comparative Literature and Translation Studies; Japanese Studies
  • Dr Sophia Loy-Wilson, History
  • Dr Sonia Wilson, French and Francophone Studies; International Comparative Literature and Translation Studies
  • Dr Josh Stenberg, Chinese Studies
  • Dr Giorgia Alù, Italian Studies; International Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

Our people


The Multilingual Australia Reading Group holds meetings and talks during the semester. We discuss topics in a workshop-like atmosphere and invite contributions related to the designated theme.

For more information, contact Dr Sonia Wilson:

In collaboration with the State Library of New South Wales.

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