“Language and culture are interwoven. Language is firmly embedded in social relationships and language is a part of the struggle over the production of culture with cultural reproduction confirming and legitimizing the existing social order.” (Hanks 2005)
In their article ‘International students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes, Kell and Vogl (2007) discuss how formal linguistic skills are well established amongst international students travelling to Australia, but their inability to engage with the local, conversationalist style dialect disables the ability of adjusting to the social and cultural norms of their new country.
This satirical video created by the Australian band ‘The Rabens’ shows just how great a vernacular divide we have here in Australia when it comes to slang:
Although humour is the obvious motive behind this short clip, it does show how wide a gap is present between Australian colloquialisms, and the formal language taught indefinitely to international students. However, in Kell and Vogl’s article they state alternative ways in which such students have overcome these social barriers, voluntary or paid employment being one of the most effective methods – “one of the students stated that the call center she had worked at had helped her enormously both with confidence in talking English and with an opportunity meeting other English speakers.”
In order to make the most of this global cross-cultural integration, especially in terms of international university students; they must attempt to bridge the divide between their first language and their new language and the cultural and social standards that follow