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Episode 41: Winners announced at the SBS National Languages Competition

SBS National Language Competition Winners

Five young Australian language students have been selected as the winners of the third annual SBS National Languages Competition.

SBS Italian news, with a slower pace. This is Slow Italian, Fast Learning, the very best of the week’s news, read at a slower pace, with Italian and English text available.

Italian

Ayaan Khan ha sei anni e ha iniziato a studiare inglese solo da 12 mesi, ma si tratta della sua terza lingua, dopo l'urdu e il pashto.

Ha raccontato di divertirsi a studiare la lingua, così può leggere le etichette dei cibi al supermercato insieme a suo padre e parlare con gli amici a scuola.

"Because I can speak English in my school."

Ayaan è uno dei 5 vincitori della terza SBS National Languages Competition, che chiedeva agli studenti di ogni età di presentare disegni e testi che descrivessero le possibilità che apre l'apprendimento di una lingua.

La direttrice di SBS Radio Mandi Wicks ha reso noto che hanno partecipato 4000 persone da tutta l'Australia, in rappresentanza di 80 lingue.

"We had lots of entries. We had entries from every state and territory. We had individual entries, and then we had whole classes enter as well. So we were overwhelmed by the number of entries. What it says to me really, I think, is that, across Australia, so many people are learning languages."

Il ministro dell'istruzione Dan Tehan, che ha partecipato alla cerimonia di premiazione, ha condiviso la sua esperienza di apprendimento dello spagnolo durante una missione diplomatica nell'America Centrale e le opportunità che gli si sono aperte.

Imparare le lingue, ha aggiunto, è fondamentale per le relazioni internazionali ed il commercio.

"The Asian region is where we reside. We have to understand the cultures of the countries that are our near neighbours. We also have to make sure that we can understand and engage with them, because, economically, they're vital to us."

I dati del 2016 mostrano che circa l'11% degli studenti dell'anno 12 ha studiato un'altra lingua.

L'Australian National University (ANU) ha appena annunciato l'investimento di 11.6 millioni di dollari in cinque anni per l'espansione di diverse lingue asiatiche e del pacifico attraverso corsi online.

Il decano del College of Asia and the Pacific dell'ANU, il Dr Nicholas Farrelly, ha dichiarato che i nuovi fondi veranno utilizzati in particolare per le lingue asiatiche meno studiate, come il tailandese, il tetum e il mongolo.

"This is an investment being made at a time when other Australian universities have struggled to sustain their language portfolios. We're seeking to ensure that our university, with its national mandate, can not only continue to teach the languages that we've been teaching for many decades but get into the new areas."

In ogni caso, l'undicenne Harneep Kaur non considera minimamente per ora le prospettive future di carriera che nascono dal parlare un'altra lingua.

Per lei, imparare il punjabi significa rimanere connessa alla sua famiglia e alla sua cultura di origine in India.

"Yes, I went last year, and I could speak Punjabi and write there, so I could communicate with other people and my relatives. It's good to know Punjabi, because then I can, like, keep the generations going and spread it, and more people will speak it."

English

Six-year-old Ayaan Khan has only been learning English for 12 months, but it is his third language, after Urdu and Pashto.

He says he enjoys learning the language so he can read the food labels at the supermarket with his father and talk to his friends at school.

"Because I can speak English in my school."

He is one of five winners in the third annual SBS National Languages Competition, which asked students of all ages to submit images and text describing the possibilities learning a language had opened for them.

The director of SBS's Audio and Language Content, Mandi Wicks, says the competition received 4,000 entries from around Australia, representing 80 languages.

"We had lots of entries. We had entries from every state and territory. We had individual entries, and then we had whole classes enter as well. So we were overwhelmed by the number of entries. What it says to me really, I think, is that, across Australia, so many people are learning languages."

Education Minister Dan Tehan, who attended the awards ceremony, shared his own experience of learning Spanish for a diplomatic posting in Central America and the opportunities it opened for him.

He says the learning of languages is essential for regional relations and trade.

"The Asian region is where we reside. We have to understand the cultures of the countries that are our near neighbours. We also have to make sure that we can understand and engage with them, because, economically, they're vital to us."

Data from 2016 shows around 11 per cent of Year 12 students studied another language.

The Australian National University (ANU) has just announced it is investing $11.6 million over five years in expanding the number of Asian and Pacific languages on offer through online learning.

The associate dean of the ANU's College of Asia and the Pacific, Dr Nicholas Farrelly, says the new funding will focus on less commonly studied Asian languages, such as Thai, Tetum* and Mongolian.

"This is an investment being made at a time when other Australian universities have struggled to sustain their language portfolios. We're seeking to ensure that our university, with its national mandate, can not only continue to teach the languages that we've been teaching for many decades but get into the new areas."

However, for 11-year-old Harneep Kaur, the future career prospects stemming from speaking another language are far from her mind.

For her, learning Punjabi is about staying connected to her family, and the culture, back in India.

"Yes, I went last year, and I could speak Punjabi and write there, so I could communicate with other people and my relatives. It's good to know Punjabi, because then I can, like, keep the generations going and spread it, and more people will speak it."

Report by Jarni Blakkarly

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