Greek Language on the Decline in Australia

Greek Presidential Guards in Melbourne. File photo

The Greek and the Italian languages are on the decline in Australia, according to an analysis of the latest census.

The European languages have lost their position as the most widely-spoken languages at home in Australia after English, as Asian languages such as Mandarin and Punjabi have gained significant ground.

The analysis of the latest census data shows that nearly 82,000 fewer people were speaking Italian in the country in 2016 compared to 2001, with the Greek language losing around 26,000 speakers.

On the other hand, Mandarin gained the astonishing number of 458,000 more speakers in 2016 compared to 2001, while Punjabi speakers increased by 118,000. The number of Mandarin speakers was approximately 600,000 in 2016, making that language the second most-spoken language in Australia after English.

In 2001, 263,500 Australians reported that they spoke Greek, but by 2016, the number of Greek-speakers had dropped to 237,600.

Thousands of Greeks in Australia speak Greek at home, as their family and community ties have remained strong throughout the years.

But the widespread use English on the internet and social media, coupled with the large numbers of Asian immigrants arriving to Australia, has meant a seismic shift in the balance of the spoken languages in the country.