Liz Ellis
Liz Ellis

Liz Ellis is Associate Professor at University of New England in Australia. Dr Ellis has extensive experience in teaching applied linguistics and English as a Second and Foreign Language, and in educating language teachers. Her research interests are in bilingualism, especially bilingual teacher cognition and bilingual family language practices, and in sociolinguistic perspectives on monolingualism.


Children of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families who migrate to Australia often lose their first language (L1) as they learn English, a concern particularly for immigrants and refugees who settle in regional Australia. This study follows plurilingual families of different language backgrounds in 3 regional towns who all have a child between the ages of 2 and 4 years old, tracking each family's language goals, aspirations, beliefs and practices around use of L1. We know from our pilot study that isolated parents outside metropolitan areas have aspirations for their children to be bi/plurilingual, (Sims and Ellis 2014), but we know little about how plurilingual families in isolated circumstances in regional Australia manage this task in the absence of a co-located speech community. The ARC-funded 3-year project funded by the Australian Research Council uses a socio-constructivist framework. A multiple longitudinal case study design with 9 families is used, with video recordings and interviews undertaken at regular intervals with parents, and, where relevant, early childhood educators.

The different family language policies and the strategies used to support children's acquisition of L1 are discussed. We also examine how new communications technologies assist with family language maintenance. Government policy is increasingly encouraging new migrants to settle in regional Australia where resources to support maintenance of L1 are scarce. We examine the implications for improved community and educational support for bilingual families in this context.

Seminarierna med Dr Liz Ellis var ett samarrangemang mellan Institutionen för språkdidaktik och Centrum för tvåspråkighetsforskning.