Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Modern Languages


The Italian community in Australia is very numerous and is one of the largest ethnic groups in the Illawarra region. The Italian language is widely spoken by the migrants (the first generation), and to a lesser extent by their children (the second generation). This study, utilising a sociolinguistic approach, proposes to determine to what extent the Italian language is being used by the second generation. These results are obtained using a survey involving a questionnaire in English and language assessments in which word knowledge, sentence construction and fluency in Italian are tested. The outcome of the study can also determine the Italian language competence, the degree of bilingualism as well as the attitudes towards bilingualism of a sample of ninety second generation Italo-Australians from the Illawarra. The research indicates if Italian is being maintained and used by the adult children of the migrants. Furthermore, it shows which variety of the language is being spoken: be it the popular or regional variety or the one influenced by dialect and English (also known as Italo-Australian or Australitalian), and in which circumstances and domains these varieties are being used.