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Immigrants' Language Skills: The Australian Experience in a Longitudinal Survey. Discussion Paper.

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This study of immigrant language skills used data from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia, which followed a cohort of settler arrivals for the first 3.5 years of their residence in Australia, surveying them at three points in time. The survey examined determinants of improvement in English language skills with time among immigrants from non-English speaking countries, focusing on economic incentives, exposure to the destination language, and efficiency in second language acquisition. Section 1 introduces the paper. Section 2 presents a model of dominant language skills. Section 3 outlines the survey. Section 4 presents basic cross-tabulations of English skills by region of birth. Section 5 contains econometric estimates of the model, focusing on the study of English speaking skills at various durations of residence in Australia. Section 6 analyzes the development of English speaking, reading, and writing skills based on a bivariate probit model. Section 7 concludes that there was improvement in destination language skills among immigrants with longer duration of residence. The model of language proficiency was robust across survey waves, types of language proficiency, and gender. (Contains 25 references.) (Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education) (SM)

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Author:Chiswick, Barry R.; Lee, Yew Liang; Miller, Paul W.
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Clinical report
Date:May 1, 2002
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