Date: Thu, 21 May 1998 11:07:05 +1000
From: Ross Chambers
Subject: Sri Lankan Taxi drivers

Grant Barrett wrote:

<psychologist taxi driver syndrome" - a crude reference to the problems
encountered by many skilled immigrants in finding work in their chosen

My acquaintance in this situation was a South African dental mechanic of
Indian origins, who was only able to find work sorting mail--probably
more difficult material to construct a phrase from!

The list may be interested to know of a procedure which was practised by
the Australian immigration authorities during the period of the "White
Australia" policy.

Those intending immigrants who were successful in reaching the port of
entry, and who were suspected of not being "White," were required to
demonstrate their literacy by sitting a dictation test. The language of
the text was not specified, and failure and consequent expulsion were
usually assured when, for example, testing Cantonese speakers in Gaelic.

I'm pleased to say that this policy was abandoned 40 or 50 years ago,
however Mr. Ruddock's statement shows the current government's attitude
of restricting immigration numbers

The dictation test may show another way that linguists can play their
part in social engineering!

Kind regards - Ross Chambers


Ross Chambers Sydney Australia

"L'Australia non e solo agli antipodi, e lontana da tutto,
talora anche da sa stessa."

(Australia is not only at the Antipodes, she is away from everything,
sometimes even from herself)

Umberto Eco