Tongue Tied and Fluent

Audio Documentary Series (5 parts), Earshot on ABC RN (The Australian Broadcasting Corporation), November-December, 2019. Producers Masako Fukui and Sheila Ngoc Pham; Supervising Producer Claudia Taranto; Sound Engineer Andrei Shabunov. (If you’d like to download the episodes for teaching purposes, please contact me)

Episode 1: Is australia ready for the multilingual mindset?

‘The Tower of Babel’ by Abel Grimmer, 1595

Australia has a monolingual mindset and a multilingual reality. What does this mean for how we go about our day-to-day lives? Masako Fukui and Sheila Ngoc Pham investigate.

GUESTS: Dr Ingrid Piller – Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University; Yves Aquino; Kayoko Nishwaki; Dong Jun Ha (DJ); Dongbing Zhang (Mus); Zacha Rosen; Walter Mason; Thang Ngo

episode 2: bringing up bilingual baby

Triin Pehk, Sofia Morris, Helena Morris, Rob Morris; Photo supplied by Triin Pehk

Every day, Australian families are bringing up their children in more than one language. It’s a huge challenge that’s taken on by individuals and communities. Is it worth the effort?

GUESTS: Zarlasht Sarwari, Ramin Sarwari; Triin Pehk, Rob Morris, Sofia Morris, Helena Morris; Dr Hanna Torsh – Research Fellow, Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University; Dylan Wynne, Cai Wynne; Alan Sila; Watcharee Newell


Armenian classroom, Galstaun College, NSW

The Australian education system both values and devalues languages other than English. So schools play a crucial role in contributing to a multilingual Australia – or do they? 

GUESTS: Anastasia Barr Berrocal (Ana), Elena Berrocal Capdevila, Joshua Barr (Josh); Sue Palmer – Japanese Teacher, Balgowlah Heights Public School, NSW; Dr Ken Cruickshank, Professor of Education, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney; Edward Demirdjian – Principal, Galstaun College; Armen Bekarian, Sonia Bekarian; Muhammad Alqudah, Ala Alqudah

episode 4: Talking through the generations

Gaby Cara and her nonna Teresa Cara; Photo supplied by Gaby Cara

Migrant languages tend to disappear by the third generation, and sometimes language loss can occur even more quickly. But is there a way to resist this trend towards being a ‘graveyard of languages’ and for us to hold onto language through the generations

GUESTS: Teresa Cara, Alexia Cara, Gaby Cara, Bruno Cara, Lisa Cara; Alberto Barillaro; Dr Antonia Rubino – Associate Professor, Department of Italian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney; Nii Laryea Tetteh; Eunice Andrada – Poet and Educator; Billy Jangala Williams; Rose Cara and members and friends of the Italian Made Social Motoring Club

episode 5: back to the multilingual future

Kirli Saunders teaching the Gadigal language at the Royal Botanical Gardens, NSW with partners AGNSW and NASCA; Photo supplied by Kirili Saunders

In the final episode of Tongue Tied and Fluent, we explore our multilingual future. What will it look like?

Guests: Ray Ingrey – Chairperson, Gujaga Foundation; Kirli Saunders – Poet, Educator, Author; Shakthidharan Sivanathan (Shakthi) – Playwright and Director of Co-Curious; Irene Chiwara; Dr Sithembinkosi Dube (Thembi); The teachers, students and parents of the Ndebele and Shona Weekend Language School

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