Australia is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world and as a result it has many bilingual children and many second languages that are spoken in their homes. According to a recent survey, of all the languages that are spoken other than English around Australia Arabic is the most widely spoken by young people. This adds up to over 5000 bilingual children in Australia speaking Arabic as their second language.
A study by The Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) showed that around 1 in 8 bilingual children spoke Arabic as well as English. The study by the AEDI also showed that the other top second languages that are spoken in Australia are Greek, different Chinese dialects and Hindi.
The results are particularly interesting because even though it shows that Arabic is the most common second language that is spoken in Australia no Arabic nation is listed in the top 15 countries of the childrens’ birthplace. Results showed that most of the children said that they were born in England, New Zealand, USA and India after Australia.
Over 260,000 children were surveyed and the results showed that around 18% of them spoke a language other than English.
4.8% of the children studied were from Aboriginal descent and out of those around one fifth of the children said that they spoke a native Aboriginal language as their first language at home. The rest had English as their first language.
The children who spoke Arabic as their second language made up a total of 11.8% of all of the bilingual children who were surveyed by the AEDI. Arabic is therefore much more widely spoken in the homes of Australia than was first thought and this language is closely followed by Chinese dialects and Hindi.