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ERIC Number: EJ877437
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-0155-0640
Trilingual Women as Language Mediators in the Family: A Sicilian-Australian Case-Study
Rubino, Antonia
Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, Series S n18 p25-49 2004
In the process of language shift from the immigrant languages to English, everyday communication within the family can become increasingly problematic due to strong divergences in the linguistic competences of the older and the younger generations. This article explores the process of language mediation between different generations, as it occurs within a Sicilian-Australian family belonging to the last wave of Italian mass immigration to Australia. Through a corpus of spontaneous conversations, the study focuses on the role played by a second generation woman as a mediator within her family. The linguistic analysis shows that, in order to overcome communication breakdown, she makes full use of her competence in all three languages: Italian, Sicilian and English, and employs codeswitching extensively as a conversational strategy to accommodate participants with different language abilities. Furthermore, while she maintains Dialect as the language of the most inner family circle, she shifts to Italian as the more "learnable" language that can contribute to cohesion in the extended family. (Contains 5 notes.)
Applied Linguistics Association of Australia. Available from: Monash University ePress. Building 4, Monash University, Wellington Road, Clayton 3800, Victoria, Australia. Fax: +61-3-9905 8450; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Italy