Profiles of linguistic multicompetence in Vietnamese-English speakers

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This article examines the linguistic multicompetence of adults with Vietnamese heritage living in Australia (n = 271) and factors associated with varying profiles of multilingualism. Participants completed a self-report questionnaire (available in English and Vietnamese) regarding their language proficiency and associated factors.


Participants were largely (76.6%) first-generation migrants to Australia. Three distinct profiles of linguistic multicompetence were statistically identified using a cluster analysis: (a) Vietnamese proficient (n = 81, 31%), (b) similar proficiency (n = 135, 52%), and (c) English proficient (n = 43, 17%); that is, half were proficient in both languages. Multinomial logistic regression analyses compared participants profiled as having similar proficiency with those who were more dominant in one language. Factors associated with the Vietnamese proficient group (compared with the similar proficiency group) were that the participants used Vietnamese much more than English with different people across different situations, were more likely to believe that maintaining Vietnamese helped them communicate in English, and earned less. Participants in the English proficient group used English more than Vietnamese with different people across different situations, were more likely to have lived in English-speaking countries longer, were younger in age, and were less likely to believe that maintaining Vietnamese helped improve academic study than those with similar proficiency.


Undertaking a comprehensive language profile is an important component of any multilingual assessment to enable speech-language pathologists to develop an understanding of different presentations of linguistic multicompetence, engage in culturally responsive practice, and acknowledge that high levels of competence can be achieved across multiple languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1711-1727
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Grant Number

  • DP180102848


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