Language Dynamics
in the Asia Pacific

This research cluster explores the diverse languages of the Asia-Pacific region – their structures, pragmatics of usage, roles within society, and how they are taught and acquired.


How do people use language to creatively represent their multiple socio-cultural identities? To what extent do people deploy language to get across their immediate interactional needs and goals?

Languages are intimately linked to the dynamic nature of societies and are themselves dynamic. In the linguistically diverse Asia-Pacific Region, people combine multiple identities – local, regional, and national – in their everyday use of language. Approaching all aspects of languages as firmly grounded on social activity, this research cluster aims to deepen understanding of the dynamic nature of the diverse languages in the region.

Some of the key issues and research topics relevant to this cluster include:

  • Intercultural communication, translation and translanguaging related to mobility, diversity and transcultural flows
  • Tensions and synergies between local, national and transnational identities and the dynamic relationship these have with language use
  • Language shift and maintenance of local/ ethnic languages
  • The role of language and culture in the negotiation and maintenance of relationships
  • Use of multiple language varieties
  • Language ideologies
  • Language education and language policy

Image: Tevaprapas. Samut Khoi Wat Kungtapao Folk Museum. Wat Khung Taphao 2010 CC BY-SA 3.0


Dr Michael Ewing of the Asia Institute, Faculty of Arts, the University of Melbourne talks about most recent research has involved youth language in Indonesia.