SBS National Languages Competition winners embrace linguistic diversity in Australia

By Our Reporter

SBS Radio announced the winners of the SBS National Languages Competition 2019—a nationwide initiative celebrating a love of learning languages and language retention in Australia. The competition received nearly 3,600 entries from all states and territories, spanning 90 languages, including Indonesian, German, Japanese and Auslan. In the UN International Year of Indigenous languages, the competition also received more submissions from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages than ever before.

The winners were selected across five age categories based on their unique stories and creative approach.

Winners are: ● Hana Laan, VIC (Age 4-7, Filipino) ● Adam Wahby, VIC (Age 8-12, Arabic) ● Felicity Nop, NSW (Age 13-15, French) ● Nehal Nafcy, NSW (Age 16-18, Bangla) ● Lidia Veljanovski, NSW (Age 18+, Macedonian).

“We’re thrilled that more Australians are embracing the SBS National Languages Competition each year, with inspiring stories that reflect a passion, dedication and commitment for language learning,” said Mandi Wicks, SBS Director of Audio and Language Content.

“With the power to deepen cultural understanding and a sense of belonging, multilingualism drives significant benefits for individuals, employers and societies as a whole. As countries become increasingly diverse, those that proactively nurture these capabilities are not only reaping the immediate benefits, but are preparing effectively for the future.”

Winners were announced at a recent awards ceremony held at SBS in Sydney hosted by SBS Managing Director, James Taylor and SBS’s Director of Audio and Language Content, Mandi Wicks, with special guest Julian Leeser MP, Federal Member for Berowra, NSW.

In its fourth year, the nationwide competition was open to Australian language learners of all ages, including English and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Entrants were required to answer: “How does learning a language make a world of difference to you?” by submitting a drawing or a written entry, based on the age category requirements.

“Because I’m learning Filipino, Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle Justine, and I can understand each other. I’m able to make them feel loved even though they’re in the Philippines. I’m also able to make them happy,” said Hana Laan. Adam Wahby said learning a language connects the past to the present and future. “Languages teach me to recognise our world within only one single boundary rather than dividing into various fragments and isolating world by geographical boundaries, that we do without thinking of it as a single realm,” said Nehal Nafcy.

The SBS National Languages Competition 2019 is supported by Community Languages Australia and First Languages Australia and sponsored by the Australian National University.


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