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A Tamil Hindu Temple in Australia

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Negotiating linguistic and religious diversity: A Tamil Hindu Temple in Australia 

This ground-breaking research draws attention to the journey of one migrant religious institution in an era of religious superdiversity.

Based on a sociolinguistic ethnography in a Tamil Saivite temple in Australia, the book explores the challenges for the institution in maintaining its linguistic and cultural identity in a new context. The temple is faced with catering for devotees of diverse ethnicities, languages, and religious interpretations; not to mention divergent views between different generations of migrants who share ethnicity and language. At the same time, core members of the temple seek to continue religious and cultural practices according to the traditions of their homelands in Sri Lanka, a country where their identity and language has been under threat.

The study offers a rich picture of changing language practices in a diasporic religious institution. Perera inspects language ideology considerations in the design of institutional language policy and how such policy manifests in language use in the temple spaces. This includes the temple’s Sunday school where heritage language and religion interplay in second-generation migrant adolescents’ identifications and discourse.

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