Meeting Place of Cultures: Aboriginal Students and Standard Australian English Learning

Document Type

Book Chapter


Cambridge Scholars Publishing


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communication and Arts




Malcolm, I. G. (2014). Meeting Place of Cultures: Aboriginal Students and Standard Australian English Learning. In Stracke, E. (Eds.). Intersections: Applied Linguistics as a Meeting Place (pp. 253-268). England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Schooling in Australia necessarily involves the use of Standard Australian English (SAE) for the expression and accessing of meanings. This is not problematic for most Australians, who are familiar, at least, with Standard Australian Colloquial English. In Aboriginal communities, however, the primary in-group means of communication is Aboriginal English and the use of SAE may carry negative associations. The intersection of applied linguistics with cultural linguistics in two recent research projects has yielded an investigative technique to enable the examination of the ways in which (a) Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal educators interpret the oral expression of Aboriginal students; and (b) Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students interpret SAE texts. An analysis of the idea units retained in recalls in both cases suggests the pervasive influence of cultural schemas in cross-dialectal interpretation. This chapter draws together information on these research projects, which have already been separately reported, but showing how their findings complement one another. The chapter suggests how the application of cultural schema theory may lead to procedures that will make the educational setting for Aboriginal students more culturally inclusive.

This document is currently not available here.