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Perth (Australia) - Speaking the Language


English is the main written and spoken language in Perth, as it is in other parts of Australia. English is also the official language in Perth. More than ¾ of all residents in Perth speak English and only English in their homes. Other common languages spoken other than English are Italian (2%), Mandarin (1.1%), Cantonese (1.1%), Vietnamese (0.9%) and Arabic (0.5%).

In comparison with other Australian cities, Perth has the 2nd highest proportion of residents who were born overseas, after Sydney – almost 1/3 of Perth's total resident population. This city of some 1.6 million is made up of residents from diverse ethnic backgrounds – apart from Australian citizens, the top 5 countries Perth residents came from are England (9.9%), New Zealand (2.4%), Scotland (1.4%), Malaysia (1.3%) and South Africa (1.3%). For more detailed statistics, see Perth's 2006 Census QuickStats compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, ABS). An interesting analysis of Perth's multicultural diversity is available at www.omi.wa.gov.au, the Office Of Multicultural Interests, a department of the local Western Australian government.

As it is with other Australian cities, the vocabulary and pronunciation of certain words can differ from that of American or British English. Since Perth has one of the largest concentration of retired British residents, British English is more commonly used than American English. One interesting tidbit about the names of roads, neighbourhoods and buildings in Perth is that many of them reflect Perth's aboriginal and Scottish beginnings. (The name, Perth was chosen by a Scotsman). Click here for an interesting article covered by ABC news on the names of Perth's new suburbs.

Local newspapers, magazines, and television programmes are generally printed and broadcast in English. The West Australian, Great Southern Herald, Perth Voice and WA Business News are some of the main English newspapers for news around the region. There are also a number of community-based newspapers that are circulated, depending on the suburb you live in (e.g. Melville Times Community). Click here for a list of newspapers in and around Perth. The major bookstores in Perth are Dymocks, Angus & Roberton, and Collins.

If it is a foreign language newspaper or magazine you are after, there is a foreign language bookstore located in central Perth (572 Hay Street; www.allforeignlanguages.com.au). Australia's multicultural broadcasting channel is SBS (One and Two).


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