The use of languages in Australia is as diverse as this vast and exotic country:continent, home to the untamed outback, legendary beaches, cuddly koalas, fearsome great white sharks, Neighbours and Foster’s amber nectar.

Australia Day on 26th January annually marks the first British ships landing in New South Wales in 1788.

As a result of this historic event, English became the native tongue in Oz, and remains so to this day. WorldAtlas confirms that, “The 2011 analysis of language spoken at home indicate that majority of Australians speak English only… Overall about 76.8% of the people speak English only…”

But, the languages in Australia are a-changing. So, if you’re planning to visit Australia or even emigrate to Australia, it’s well worth looking in to the language trends in your specific regions of interest.

Key emerging languages in Australia include Punjabi, Filipino/Tagalog, and Arabic.”

And, like most major metropolitan areas in any country, that’s where languages in Australia are really shaking things up. “Sydney and Melbourne house more than 65% of non-English migrants who in general speak some 240 foreign languages”, WorldAtlas explains.

As a result, some of the shifts in languages in Australia are quite pronounced over just a five year period in between the Australian Bureau of Statistics censuses conducted in 2011 and 2016:-

  • English

Spoken by 76.8% (16,509,291 people) in 2011
Spoken by 72.7% (17,020,417 people) in 2016 = up 4.1% (+ 511,126 people)

  • Mandarin

Spoken by 1.6% (336,410 people) in 2011
Spoken by 2.5% (596,711 people) in 2016 = up 0.9% (+ 259,767 people)

  • Arabic (replacing Italian, which was spoken by 1.4% = 299,833 people in 2011, but doesn’t appear in the list of the top 5 languages in Australia in 2016)

Spoken by 1.3% (287,174 people) in 2011
Spoken by 1.4% (321,728 people) in 2016 = 0.1% increase (+ 34,554 people)

  • Cantonese

Spoken by 1.2% (263,673 people) in 2011
Spoken by 1.2% (280,943 people) in 2016 = static (+17,270 people)

  •  Vietnamese (a new entry in 2016 that didn’t appear in the list of the top 5 languages in Australia in 2011)

Spoken by 1.2% (277,400 people) in 2016

At La Academia, we’re here to help ensure your language skills aren’t a dog’s breakfast if you’re dreaming of throwing a shrimp on the barbie. No worries, mate, she’ll be right.


What Languages Are Spoken In Australia? WorldAtlas
Census reveals a fast changing, culturally diverse nation, Australian Bureau of Statistics