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Title: Linguistic identification in the determination of nationality: A preliminary report
Contributor(s): Eades, D  (author); Fraser, Helen Beatrice  (author)orcid ; Siegel, Jeff  (author); McNamara, T (author); Baker, Brett  (author)
Publication Date: 2003
DOI: 10.1023/A:1024640612273
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Abstract: The authors of this report are five Australian experts in the fields of sociolinguistics, phonetics (analysis of accent or pronunciation) and language testing. Their report raises concerns about the "language analysis" that is being done by overseas agencies and that is being used by the Australian government in determining the nationality of refugee claimants, and concludes that "language analysis", as it is currently used, is not valid or reliable. It appears to be based on "folk views" about the relationship between language and nationality and ethnicity, rather than sound linguistic principles. The report found that: i) a person's nationality cannot always be determined by the language he or she speaks, ii) a few key words and their pronunciation normally cannot reveal a person's nationality or ethnicity, iii) common perceptions about pronunciation differences among groups of people cannot be relied upon, iv) any analysis of pronunciation must be based on thorough knowledge of the language and region in question and must involve detailed phonetic analysis. Furthermore, in a study of 58 Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) decisions in which this "language analysis" was at issue, it was found that there were doubts over its validity. The authors have grave concerns that the use of "language analysis" in the determination of nationality may be preventing Australia from properly discharging its responsibilities under the Refugees Convention and therefore call on the Australian Government to stop using this type of analysis.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Language Policy, 2(2), p. 179-199
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Place of Publication: Amsterdam, Netherlands
ISSN: 1573-1863
Field of Research (FOR): 200405 Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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