Language on the Move

Language on the Move is a peer-reviewed sociolinguistics research site devoted to multilingualism, language learning and intercultural communication in the contexts of globalization and migration.
Language on the Move aims to disseminate sociolinguistic research to a broad global audience.



President George W. Bush signs the “No Child Left Behind” act in 2002 (Image credit: Wikipedia)

In 2001, the United States government responded to the apparent lack of quality education in the country by passing Public Law 107 – 110, also known as...

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Linguistic diversity is a demographic reality, as Dr Alexandra Grey pointed out in her presentation

This week, Professor Lisa Lim and...

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Building the Danish boar fence (Image credit: NDR)

Fences are popular these...

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Dr Alex Grey and Melanie Fernando in conversation

One of the main reasons why Language on the Move exists is to mentor the next generation of researchers in the...

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Vietnamese is a major community language in Australia. Replica of the Ngoc Lu Drum at Saigon Place, Bankstown, Sydney

The Linguistics Department at Macquarie University is hosting a lecture series showcasing current...

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“Fremdschämen” is a German word that means being embarrassed on behalf of someone else. In Australia, this feeling is frequently induced by the behavior of our politicians. Yesterday, public embarrassment on behalf of our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, resulted when he greeted an Asian-looking woman on the campaign trail with “ni hao”. “I’m Korean”, she responded, and Australians cringed “How embarrassing!

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Professor Katrijn Maryns explains the linguistic transformations that turn “undocumented migrants” into “genuine” or “bogus refugees”

Language is the inescapable medium through which we...

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Language in asylum determinations (Image Credit:

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In memoriam Hans Reich

Publicado en Language on the Move el 13/03/2019

Prof. Hans H. Reich (1939-2019)

The educator Professor Hans H. Reich, who pioneered education-and-migration-related research in Germany, passed away on the 19th of February 2019. The obituary below was first published in German, and translated into English by Hanna Torsh.


With Hans Reich’s...

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Goose Lizzy Fountain, Goettingen: in a city full of memorials to notable men, the most prominent memorial to a woman is to a generic peasant girl

March 08 is International Women’s Day. Therefore, we will explore...

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Students in a Tibetan-medium school in Kathmandu study for their exams. By knowing the number and age of speakers of a particular language, policy makers can better plan for their inclusion as the medium or subject of...

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Poland in China (Artwork by the author)

Intercultural communication at work in multinational companies (MNCs) is increasingly common....

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Oh, the places you’ll go!

Starting out

Nearing the end of my undergraduate study, I was working on a small research essay and was having some trouble figuring out the direction it should take. It was in a unit on refugee law, which I was very interested in, but couldn’t quite decide what the essay should focus on. Then, by chance, I came across some articles that looked at communication and language-related challenges in refugee visa application processes.

And that was it: I was hooked. The...

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Yucky worms or yummy treats?

When I arrived in the UK from Poland in 2004, I did not know that prawns even existed. During our first dubious encounter, I categorized the not-so-aesthetically-pleasing crustaceans as ‘worms’ and...

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Language on the Move 2018

Publicado en Language on the Move el 21/12/2018

One of the team highlights of 2018: Laura Smith-Khan and Hanna Torsh submitted their PhD theses for examination on the same day in July

2018 draws to a close and the Language on the Move team is looking forward to our annual break. Before we go we have some highlights in the sociolinguistics of multilingualism, language learning and intercultural communication in the contexts of globalization and migration to share with you.

As usual, our research blog brought a range of diverse, stimulating and engaging...

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Cover page of the first textbook in the Lift Off series

Although the Saudi government does its best to provide effective English language...

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A restaurant sign featuring both Tibetan and Chinese, in a village where the Tibetan residents speak Ngandehua, one of Tibet’s minority languages (Image: Gerald Roche)

As elsewhere in...

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In my work with multilingual families, reading in the home language raises its head on so many levels. It is viewed as a shared family activity in a way that playing games, apps, or watching television are not. For example, parents look  forward to...

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In Bahrain, I was beaten. For example, they asked for tea. I gave tea leaves. I did not make the tea. She put her hand on my neck and moved me to tell, ‘Boil the tea leaves. Make tea’. They told me things in Arabic, I did not know Arabic. There was no other Bangladeshi to help me out. That’s how I worked. Sometimes, the children said me something, but I didn’t understand. Then the children knocked me. But you can never have a gloomy face. (Afia, pseudonym, a Bangladeshi migrant domestic worker)

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Professor Peter Siemund, Hamburg University, during his guest lecture at Macquarie University

It is easy to assume that bilinguals are better at adding another language to their repertoire. But...

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