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Silencing Minorities

Penny Jamieson

In both Australia and New Zealand there has been a history of tension and prejudice as the English speaking majority has reacted to the presence of minorities. The basic tension revolved around the question (never resolved) of how far minorities should be excluded. What is the role of language in settlement and assimilation? In particular, what is the situation of non-English speaking new immigrants and what tensions are there between their need for support from those who speak their own language and the need to learn English? What is the part that language plays in defining their ethnic identity, as seen by themselves, and by the majority?

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