A new language study by Oxford University has revealed that English is the most preferred language to learn in Australia.
The study also found that the two languages are equally likely to be spoken in each country, and that Australians are more likely to choose English over their own native tongue.
The study of over 1,000 people found that people who spoke their native language more than 20 per cent of the time were more likely than those who spoke it less than 20 percent to choose the language.
This difference was even greater for those who were bilingual.
The researchers found that when it came to preference, the study’s main findings are that the preferred language for students is the English spoken in the home.
While it’s true that English has been the preferred choice of Australians for generations, the survey also found the same for Australians who chose their own language in high school and university.
“We found that students who spoke a second language at home were less likely to switch to a language they spoke in the classroom and more likely (to choose English) as their second language,” the study read.
The report also found English students were more than twice as likely to study in a language other than English.
English students in Australia were also more likely in high schools to choose a second languages course, than students in England.
“It is likely that these differences may be attributable to the fact that English students in the UK, Australia and New Zealand tend to study more in their native languages than in their third languages,” the researchers wrote.
“Although the difference in students choosing English and other second languages is relatively small, it may be indicative of a larger difference between the preferred and non-preferred languages.”
There are also other factors at play that could affect language choice.
“The survey shows that, for many English speakers, a language choice is not always determined by a preference for a specific language, but rather by other factors that include social class, gender and ethnicity,” the report read.
“English is a highly social language and this might be the case for some English speakers.
For example, it is likely for some students to speak more English than their peers, while for others, English is a less social language.”
There is also a perception among some English-speaking Australians that their language is under-used in schools, with teachers reporting that it is a “toxic language” for children.
The survey found that teachers who spoke English as a second native language had higher levels of teacher satisfaction than those whose language was not spoken.
“As a result, some English teachers do not use English as their native tongue in the same way that they do other languages,” it said.
The authors of the report said it is “possible that there is a strong cultural and linguistic difference between English and the languages spoken in Australia”.
“The use of English in the school setting may not be as common as other languages, and may not even be an option for most students,” they wrote.
“But, given that the use of languages is so important for children, we recommend that teachers should focus on the language that is most important to them, such as the language they speak most often or the language in which they find themselves most comfortable.”
The report has found that in terms of the proportion of students who choose to study English, it was the second most popular language, followed by German.