The Third Language and Society Centre Annual Roundtable – 2011

17th and 18th February, 2011
Japanese Study Centre (Building 54)
Monash University, Clayton campus

Language learning in the “global economy”

Like any other phenomenon, language learning is influenced by major forces that accompany globalisation, in the widest possible sense of the word. These global forces are often explored in terms of their economic impacts, but the notion of “economy” is generally understood in the narrow sense of “money matters”. In a wider sense, however, ‘economy’ can be understood to include factors that give context and content to social structures, which in turn have an impact on financial issues. In this sense of the word, ‘global economy’ includes major forces that operate at a global level and that have tangible implications at the local level. These include human mobility (for migration, asylum seeking, business, study or holidays) and technological advancements. These forces and factors have serious implications for language learning in general.

The Third Roundtable of the Language and Society Centre will be an opportunity for scholars to explore the nature and impact of global forces that have in recent years changed the conditions, contents, and contexts of language learning. Presentation themes include multilingualism in Australia, community language maintenance, language learning and technology, and the role of World Englishes.

This year’s Roundtable is dedicated to Emeritus Professor Michael Clyne, Foundation Director of the Centre, who sadly passed away in 2010. The Roundtable will include a special tribute to Michael, outlining his contribution to the fields of multilingualism, second language learning, and intercultural communication, as well as his role in the development of the Language and Society Centre.  

To register your attendance at the Roundtable, please email Melanie Burns ( The registration fee is $50 for one day/$100 for both days (with a student rate of $40/$80) and may be paid on the day. This fee includes all refreshments and lunch, as well as attendance at all presentations. For catering purposes, please indicate any dietary requirements (vegetarian, halal, gluten free, etc) when registering.

Programme (pdf format)

If you have any queries, please contact Melanie Burns (

Invited speakers:

Keynote Address: Alan Firth (Newcastle University, UK)
Title to be confirmed

Alan Firth is Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the School of Education, Communication & Language Sciences at Newcastle University, UK. He has published widely in the areas of second language learning, English as a ‘lingua franca’, second language use, the notion of ‘competence’, intercultural communication, and interaction in a range of workplace settings. For more information and selected publications, visit:

Plenary Address: Peter Auer (University of Freiburg)
The spontaneous acquisition and use of Turkish by non-Turkish adolescents in Germany

Looking into the spontaneous acquisition of Turkish by speakers of non-Turkish family background in Germany, and reporting in particular on our research in the city of Hamburg, I will try to make the following points in this paper:

  1. The acquisition of Turkish by adolescents of non-Turkish family background in Germany questions the hegemonic status of German.
  2. The acquisition process rarely leads to a monolingual Turkish speaking style, but to codemixing and codeswitching which become part of social styles.
  3. These styles are structured like those of Turkish adolescents.
  4. They imply a convergence towards their speech, and do not constitute a case of “crossing”.
  5. Using these styles often, but not always positions the speaker close to the Turkish group.
  6. In addition, it may position the speaker, i.e. as a member of a certain youth culture or a subcultural milieu.
  7. The acquisition process includes learning through routine formulae and prefabricated speech, but also self-administered and other-administered informal (lay) instructions.
  8. It supports the prestige of this language in peripheral language markets.

About Peter Auer
Peter Auer is full professor of Germanic Philology (Linguistics) at the University of Freiburg. He studied General Linguistics, German Linguistics, and Sociology as well as Psychology at the Universities of Cologne, Constance, and Manchester. From 1980-1989 he was a researcher and subsequently assistant professor at the department of Linguistics at the University of Constance, where he completed his dissertation (Promotion) in 1983 and post-doctoral dissertation (Habilitation) in 1988. In 1989 he was a Heisenberg Scholar and later on professor of German Linguistics at the University of Hamburg. He declined positions as a professor at the universities of Munich, Mainz and Bangor (Wales). In addition to six monographs and thirteen edited books and journal issues, he has written around 100 research articles, specialising in bilingualism, sociolinguistics, interaction analysis, dialectology, syntax of spoken language, phonology, and prosody. He has been the principal researcher of 15 externally funded research projects (DFG, VW-Stiftung, Thyssen-Stiftung), co-director of the European Science Foundation Network on “Convergence and divergence of dialects in a changing Europe”, organizer of various international conferences, elected referee of the German science foundation (DFG) for General Linguistics (2000-2008) as well as a member of the Editorial Boards of various national and international academic journals. He presently is one of the directors of the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS) as well as the director of the Hermann Paul Centre for Linguistics (HPCL).