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Australian English

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Submitted By nurka
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The title of this work is “Australian English” The work which is presented deals with the study of the Australian English Language, about its pronunciation, regional variations, vocabulary.
The Australian English is a language with its own peculiarities and it differs a lot from Standard English and the other variants because it has its own history and development. There appeared a large number of new words in each variety of the English language because of historical, political, different socio- economic events and of course it has affected to the Australian English. I wanted to learn more about the appearance, development and using nowadays of the Australian English language.

The aims of this work are:
-To study the difficulties of using and understanding the words in AusE
-To define cultural peculiarities of AusE speakers The topicality of this work is explained by the interest to the difference of Australian English between the other English variants and to the practical usage of the vocabulary. The theoretical value of this work is determined by necessity of the comprehensive analysis of Australian English because every language allows different kinds of variations: geographical or territorial, stylistic and others. It is very important to use up- to –date information of the western scientists who are concerned nearly to the English linguistics. The practical value is seen in rising interest to the English language itself and its variants, because time changes, some words, meanings change too and its not enough to know only British English for understanding people in other English speaking countries. And studying the peculiarities of AusE is the first step to enlarging knowledge of English language. The material includes: - different types of definitions and examples - grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary The structure consists of an introduction where there are the main tasks of this work; two chapters where in the first chapter there is a description of development, the second chapter deals with pronunciation and vocabulary; conclusion and bibliography.


HISTORY AND PECULIARITIES Convicts sent to Australia came mostly from large English cities and included a significant proportion of Cockneys from London. They were joined by free settlers, military personnel and administrators, often with their families. The early form of Australian English would have been first spoken by the children of the colonists born into the early colony in Sydney. This very first generation of children created a new dialect that was to become the language of the nation. The children in the new colony would have been exposed to a wide range of different dialects from all over England but mainly the south east, particularly from London. They would have created the new dialect from factors present in the speech they heard around them in response to their need to express peer solidarity. Even when new settlers arrived, this new dialect of the children would have been strong enough to deflect the influence of new children. There is evidence from early written sources that a new and distinct dialect was pr Until recently, Australia was determinedly assimilationist. Although immigrant languages such as Greek and Italian are now accorded the status of community languages, and bilingualism is actively encouraged by the government, the impact of these languages on AusE has been negligible. The main peculiarity that makes an Australian be recognized as such is the particular intonation pattern. As a whole, the accent is marked by a pronunciation reminding of southern English, but with a "nasal twang" ("Australian twang", described as being slightly different from New England twang) and a "drawl" as in America. In fact, the broadest dialect is defined by the longest vowels.
1.1 Australian English Development

Australian English began diverging from British English shortly after the foundation of the Australian penal colony of New South Wales in 1788. British convicts sent there, came mostly from large English cities. They were joined by free settlers, military personnel and administrators, often with their families. However, large parts of the convict body were Irish, with at least 25% directly from Ireland, and others indirectly via Britain. There were other populations of convicts from non-English speaking areas of Britain, such as the Welsh and Scots. In 1827 Peter Cunningham, in his book Two Years in New South Wales, reported that native-born white Australians of the time- known as "currency lads and lasses"- spoke with a distinctive accent and vocabulary, with a strong Cockney influence. The transportation of convicts to Australia ended in 1868, but immigration of free settlers from Britain, Ireland and elsewhere continued.

The first of the Australian gold rushes, in the 1850s, began a much larger wave of immigration which would significantly influence the language. During the 1850s, when the UK was under economic hardship, about two per cent of its population emigrated to the Colony of New South Wales and the Colony of Victoria. Among the changes brought by the gold rushes was "Americanization" of the language—the introduction of words, spellings, terms and usages from North n English. The words imported included some later considered to be typically Australian, such as dirt and digger. Bonzer, which was once a common Australian slang word meaning "great", "superb" or "beautiful", is thought to have been a corruption of the American mining term bonanza, which means a rich vein of gold or silver and is itself a loanword from Spanish. As the term was used interchangeably in the early twentieth century with the words boshter and bosker, the derivation from the Spanish 'bonanza' seems unlikely. The influx of American military personnel in World War II brought further American influence; though most words were short-lived; and only okay, you guys and gee have persisted. Since the 1950s the American influence on language in Australia has mostly come from pop culture, the mass media (books, magazines and television programs), computer software and the internet. Some words, such as freeway and truck, have even been naturalised so completely that few Australians recognise their origin.

One of the first writers to attempt renditions of Australian accents and vernacular was the novelist Joseph Furphy (a.k.a. Tom Collins), who wrote a popular account of rural New South Wales and Victoria during the 1880s, Such is Life (1903). C. J. Dennis wrote poems about working class life in Melbourne, such as The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke (1915), which was extremely popular and was made into a popular silent film (The Sentimental Bloke; 1919). John O'Grady's novel They're a Weird Mob has many examples of pseudo-phonetically written Australian speech in Sydney during the 1950s, such as "ow yer goin mate or right?" ("How are you going, mate? All right?"). Thomas Keneally's novels set in Australia, particularly The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, frequently use vernacular such as "yair" for "yes" and "noth-think" for "nothing". Other books of note are "Let Stalk Strine" by Afferbeck Lauder – where "Strine" is "Australian" and "Afferbeck Lauder" is "alphabetical order" (the book is in alphabetical order) – and "How to be Normal in Australia" by Robert Treborlang. British words such as mobile (phone) predominate in most cases. Some American, British and Australian variants exist side-by-side; in many cases – freeway and motorway (used in New South Wales) for instance – regional, social and ethnic variation within Australia typically defines word usage.

Australian English is most similar to New Zealand English, due to their similar history and geographical proximity. Both use the expression different to as well as different from, though sometimes with a semantic difference. It has a short history, reflecting some 200 years of European settlement, and an even shorter period of recognition as a national variety, the term being first recorded in 1940. It is only since then that features of AusE have been regarded as distinctively and respectably Australian, instead of as evidence of colonial decline from the norms of the STANDARD ENGLISH of England.

Australian English in twentieth century Australian English differs from other Englishes primarily in its accent and vocabulary. The major features of the accent were established by the 1830s. In the period between colonial settlement (1788) and the 1830s, when the foundation accent was being forged, new lexical items to describe the new environment, especially its flora and fauna, were developed either from Aboriginal languages (coolibah, wombat, wallaby, waratah, and so on) or from the ‘transported’ English word stock (native bear, wild cherry, and so on). Many more vocabulary items were later added in response to the nineteenth-century process of settlement and pastoral expansion. All of this seems at once predictable and inevitable—this is the way a colonial society imposes its linguistic footprint on a subjected land. And then, at the end of the nineteenth century, something curious and largely unpredictable happened to Australian English. In response to a newly-developed concept of Received Pronunciation in Britain, which was closely tied to notions of social prestige, some Australian speakers modified their vowels and diphthongs in order to move them towards the British exemplars. From the 1890s, and well into the 1950s, elocution was in the air, and elocution teachers found a ready market for the teaching of British vowels and diphthongs to the socially-aspirational classes. This modified form of Australian speech came to be called Cultivated Australian. As if in response against this new British-based Cultivated Australian, a diametrically opposed form of Australian English developed in the first part of the twentieth century. This form moved the Australian vowels and diphthongs even further away from what was now the British standard of pronunciation, and emphasized nasality, flatness of intonation, and the elision of syllables.This second modified form of Australian speech came to be called Broad Australian. While it is true that when non-Australians hear any Australian say ‘mate’ or ‘race’ they are likely to mistake the words for ‘mite’ and ‘rice’, the mishearing is most likely to occur with speakers of Broad Australian. The majority of Australians continued to speak with the accent that had been established in the first fifty years of settlement, and this form of speech came to be known as General Australian. General Australian was now book-ended by Cultivated Australian and Broad Australian, and these forms of Australian English came to carry with them very different sets of values. Cultivated Australian, for example, came to express a longing for British values and a nostalgia for a country that was still regarded by many as ‘home’. Broad Australian was strongly nationalistic, and carried with it notions of egalitarianism that were antagonistic to a perceived class-obsessed and hierarchical Britain. All three forms of Australian English included most of the vocabulary items that had developed in the second half of the nineteenth century: billy ‘a cooking utensil’; swag (transferred from the underworld sense of ‘booty’) as the collection of belongings of a bush traveller, and swagman as their bearer; fossick—perhaps a variant of the midland and southern English fussock (to bustle about)—meaning ‘to search for gold’, and then ‘to rummage around for anything’; the outback and the never-never to describe country far from urban areas; brumby ‘a wild horse’; larrikin ‘an urban hooligan’; and so on.

The rise of an Australian lexis

In lexis, a number of the most culturally important Australian terms developed towards the end of the nineteenth century, at precisely the time that Australian English was generating its Cultivated and Broad forms. Battler (especially in its present manifestation of little Aussie battler) is one of the most positive words in Australian English, and it usually refers to a person who works hard to make a decent living in difficult circumstances. Initially, the battler was a person who scrounged a living on the edges of society: an itinerant and irregularly employed rural worker struggling to survive (1898); a person who frequented racecourses in search of a living (1895); a prostitute (1898). Battler eventually divested itself of the associations of the mug punter and the prostitute, but even in its earliest uses there is evidence of strong sympathy and admiration for working-class people who eke out their existence with resilience and courage. The opposite of the battler is the bludger—one of the most derogatory of Australian words. The bludger is a person who lives off the efforts of others, a cadger and an idler, a person who expects others to do all the work. The history of this word helps to explain something of the moral condemnation that bludger and its verb to bludge typically carry. Australian bludger is a form of Standard English bludgeoner ‘a person who is armed with and doesn’t hesitate to use a bludgeon, a short stout club’. In Australia the bludger became a pimp who was prepared to protect his financial stake in a prostitute by resorting to the violence of the bludgeon. The salient feature in this, and all later senses, is that the person who is called a bludger is living off the work of another and, from this sense, it is a short step to the use of bludger as a generalized term of abuse. Dinkum is from British dialect, where it meant primarily ‘work; a fair share of work’. The notion of ‘fairness’ has always been associated with dinkum, and it is from this connotation of ‘fairness’ that the particularly Australian meaning ‘reliable, genuine, honest, true’ developed in the first decade of the twentieth century. It was also at this time that the collocation fair go appeared, an important expression of egalitarian principles. The continuing significance of this phrase in Australian society is evidenced by the fact that a recent Federal Government booklet Life in Australia (2007), aimed at new migrants, explains what is meant by a fair go in Australia: ‘Australians value equality of opportunity and what is often called a “fair go”. This means that what someone achieves in life should be a product of their talents, work and effort rather than their birth or favouritism. Australians have a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance and fair play. ... The aim is to ensure there are no formal class distinctions in Australian society’. Although dinkum (and its variant fair dinkum) appeared in the 1890s, the evidence indicates that its really widespread use occurred during the First World War. It was out of the First World War that Anzac (an acronym formed from the initial letters of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and digger (originally a soldier engaged in the digging of trenches, echoing its earlier use for a person digging for gold) emerged in the sense ‘an Australian soldier’. By the end of the war both terms were being used emblematically to reflect the traditional view of the virtues displayed by those who served in the Gallipoli campaign, especially as these virtues were seen as national characteristics. Such terms are part of a rich tradition of Australian colloquialisms that became established in the first half of the twentieth century: bonzer ‘excellent’; Buckley’s chance ‘no chance at all’; cobber ‘mate’; crook ‘dishonest, unpleasant, ill’; dag ‘a character, an entertaining eccentric’ (later ‘an unfashionable person, a nerd’); plonk ‘cheap wine’ (an example of a word of Australian derivation adopted in Britain, and elsewhere, with little awareness of its origin); pom ‘an English person’; rort ‘an act of fraud or sharp practice’; wog ‘a flu-like illness’; wowser ‘a puritanical person, a killjoy’, and so on.

British and New Zealand influence

Despite a new-found sense of independence (including the export of Australian films and television series), Australian English is subject to the media-borne influences of BrE and American English. By and large, because of traditional ties, there is less resistance to Britain English than to American English, particularly in pronunciation and spelling. Although it is 1,200 miles away, New Zealand is considered to be a close geographical, cultural, and linguistic neighbor. The constant movement of labour between the two countries ensures continuing exchange and sharing of features with New Zealand English.

American influence

In the middle of the century, the hectic years of the gold rush in Australia drew prospectors from California to the hills of New South Wales, bringing with them a slew of Americanisms to add to the Australian lexicon. The invasion of American vogue words marked the beginning of tension in Australia between the use of British English and American English. Should an Australian say biscuit or cookie, nappy or diaper, lorry or truck? The answer seems to be that Australian English, like its British ancestor (and like Canadian English), borrows freely according to preference, but on the other hand the British influence is much greater in Australia than in Canada. So Australians get water from a tap not a faucet, but tend to ride in elevators as well as lifts. Their cars run on petrol not gas, but they drive on freeways not motorways.

American influence is evident in such words as caucus (in politics), sedan (BrE saloon), station wagon (BrE estate car), truck (BrE lorry), high school (BrE secondary school). On the other hand British English influence is evident in class (AmE grade), cinema (AmE movies), boot (AmE trunk). With foodstuffs Australian English tends to be more closely related again to the British vocabulary, e.g. biscuit for the American cookie.

However, in a few cases such as zucchini, snow pea and eggplant Australian English uses the same terms as the Americans, whereas the British use the equivalent French terms courgette, mange-tout and do not care whether eggplant or aubergine is used. This is possibly due to a fashion that emerged in mid-nineteenth century Britain of adopting French nouns for foodstuffs, and hence the usage changed in Britain while the original terms were preserved in the (ex-)colonies. (For some uncertain reason, Australia uses the botanical name capsicum for what both the British and the Americans would call (red or green pepper.) Finally, the oddest of all borrowings from America is kangaroo court.Style and usage By and large, printed English is much the same as elsewhere. The authoritative style guide is the Australian Government Printing Service's Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers, first published in 1966 and in its 4th edition. The manual was intended to set standards for government publications, but is widely used and has received input from the community at large through the Macquarie Style Councils. An informal guide is Stephen Murray-Smith's Right Words: A Guide to Usage in Australia (Viking, 1987, revised edition 1989). Where BrE and AmE spelling norms differ, BrE is preferred: honour, but Labor the name of the political party, centre, licence. The -ise spelling, as in realise, is generally preferred to -ize.

Strine and stereotyping

Australian usage has attracted comic stereotyping. The term STRINE refers to a kind of stage Australian in which vowels are distorted and syllables reduced, as in strine itself, collapsing the four syllables of Australian to one, and in Emma Chisit, a joke name derived from How much is it? The usage of the comedian Barry Humphries (b.1934), created by exaggerating certain features of pronunciation, delivery, or vocabulary, reflects a longstanding deference to BrE models combined with a new-found and exuberant recognition of national identity. Humphries' use of English has contributed both to colloquial idiom and a widespread perception of AusE as casual and vulgar. His characters include Dame Edna Everage (Average), a suburban Melbourne housewife turned megastar, Sir Les Patterson, an Australian ‘cultural ambassador’, and Barry McKenzie, an ocker (uncultured Australian male) in a comic strip in the British satirical magazine Private Eye.


The arrival of immigrants (locally known as migrants) is slowly converting a homogeneous Anglo-Celtic society into a multilingual, multicultural society that is more or less tolerant of difference. A recent development has been the publication of a National Policy on Languages ( J. Lo Bianco, 1987), a report commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Education in 1986, a key document for federal and state initiatives to improve the teaching of English as a first and a second language, promote bilingualism, especially in those whose only language is English, and preserve and foster the teaching of community languages, including Aboriginal languages. Important also has been the increased prominence of ABORIGINAL ENGLISH within the spectrum accessible to the average Australian.

1. Peculiarities of the Australian English

In 1945 Sidney J. Baker published the book The Australian Language which was a milestone in the emergence of a separate Australian Standard. Since 1945 the Australian vernacular continues to flourish.

Australian English incorporates several uniquely Australian terms, such as outback to refer to remote regional areas, walkabout to refer to a long journey of uncertain length and bush to refer to native forested areas, but also to regional areas as well. Fair dinkum can mean “are you telling me the truth?”, “this is the truth!”, or “this is ridiculous!” depending on context - the disputed origin dates back to the gold rush in the 1850s, “dinkum” being derived from the Chinese word for “gold” or “real gold”: fair dinkum is the genuine article. G'day is well known as a stereotypical Australian greeting - it is worth noting that G'day is not synonymous with the expression “Good Day”, and is never used as an expression for "farewell". Many of these terms have been adopted into British English via popular culture and family links.

Some elements of Aboriginal languages, as has already been mentioned, have been incorporated into Australian English, mainly as names for the indigenous flora and fauna as well as extensive borrowings for place names. Beyond that, very few terms have been adopted into the wider language. A notable exception is Cooee (a musical call which travels long distances in the bush and is used to say “is there anyone there?”). Although often thought of as an Aboriginal word, didgeridoo/didjeridu (a well known wooden musical instrument) is actually an onomatopoeic term coined by an English settler.
The main peculiarity that makes an Australian be recognized as such is the particular intonation pattern. As a whole, the accent is marked by a pronunciation reminding of southern English, but with a "nasal twang" ("Australian twang", described as being slightly different from New England twang) and a "drawl" as in America. In fact, the broadest dialect is defined by the longest vowels.

Australian English has a unique set of diminutives formed by adding -o or -ie (-y) to the ends of (often abbreviated) words. There does not appear to be any particular pattern to which of these suffixes is used.

Examples with the -o ending include abo (aborigine - now considered very offensive), aggro (aggressive), ambo (ambulance office), arvo (afternoon), avo (avocado), bizzo (business), bottleo (bottle shop/liquor store), compo (compensation), dero (homeless person – from derelict), devo (deviant/pervert), doco (documentary), evo (evening), fisho (fishmonger), fruito (fruiterer), garbo (garbage collector), gyno (gynaecologist), journo (journalist), kero (kerosene), metho (methylated spirits), milko (milkman),
Nasho (National Service – compulsory military service), reffo (refugee), rego (vehicle registration), etc. Examples of the -ie (-y) ending include aggie (student of agricultural science),
Aussie (Australian), barbie (barbeque), beautie (beautiful, stereotypically pronounced and even written bewdy), bikkie (biscuit), bitie (biting insect), blowie (blowfly), bookie (bookmaker), brekkie (breakfast), surfy (surfing fanatic), swaggie (swagman), trackies (track suit), truckie (truck driver), vedgie (vegetable) etc. Occasionally, a -za diminutive is used, usually for personal names. Barry becomes Bazza, Karen becomes Kazza and Sharon becomes Shazza.
There are also a lot of abbreviations in Australian English without any suffixes. Examples of these are the words beaut (great, beautiful),
BYO (Bring Your Own restaurant, party, barbecue etc), deli (delicatessen), hoon (hooligan), nana (banana), roo (kangaroo), uni (university), ute (utility truck or vehicle) etc. We cannot but mention unique and, indeed, colourful Australian metaphors and similes, as as bald as a bandicoot, as cunning as a dunny rat, as lonely as a country dunny, flat out like a lizard drinking, grinning like a shot fox, look like a consumptive kangaroo, let alone Australian expressions, as a feed, a frostie and a feature, bring a plate, in full feather, rough end of a pineapple, to plant the foot, to big-note oneself, to give it a burl, not to know Christmas from Bourke Street, not to have a brass razoo, dingo’s breakfast, to have kangaroos in the top paddock, to have tickets on oneself etc. CHAPTER II GRAMMAR AND USING Australian English grammar has traditionally been regarded as hardly different from that of other "settler" varieties. Comparative data from computer corpora show various differences of degree between Australian and standard British and American grammar, and it typically occupies a position somewhere between the two, in its use of verbal elements such as modal verbs or maintenance of the mandative subjunctive. But research into pronominal features such as thechoice of personal pronouns before gerunds puts Australian English at the extreme end of the scale in its preference for the accusative case. The Australian dispreference for "whom" also puts it well outside the norms of British and American English. These contrary directions show that the neutralisation of the pronoun case system does not always favor the accusative, pace Wales (1996) Personal Pronouns in Present-Day English. And that Australian English grammar may be endonormative in some details, at least.
2.1 Vocabulary Australian English has many words that some consider unique to the language. One of the best known is outback, meaning a remote, sparsely populated area. Another is The Bush, meaning either a native forest or a country area in general. 'Bush' is a word of Dutch origin: 'Bosch'. However, both terms have been widely used in many English-speaking countries. Early settlers from England brought other similar words, phrases and usages to Australia. Many words used frequently by country Australians are, or were, also used in all or part of England, with variations in meaning. For example, creek in Australia, as in North America, means a stream or small river, whereas in the UK it means a small watercourse flowing into the sea; paddock in Australia means field, whereas in the UK it means a small enclosure for livestock; bush or scrub in Australia, as in North America, means a wooded area, whereas in England they are commonly used only in proper names (such as Shepherd's Bush and Wormwood Scrubs). Australian English and several British English dialects (for example, Cockney, Scouse, Glaswegianand Geordie) use the word mate.The origins of other words are not as clear or are disputed. Dinkum (or "fair dinkum") can mean "true", "is that true?" or "this is the truth!” among other things, depending on context and inflection. It is often claimed that dinkum dates back to the Australian gold rushes of the 1850s, and that it is derived from the Cantonese (or Hokkien) ding kam, meaning, "top gold". But scholars give greater credence to the conjecture that it originated from the extinct East Midlands dialect in England, where dinkum (or dincum) meant "hard work" or "fair work", which was also the original meaning in Australian English. The derivative dinky- di means 'true' or devoted: a 'dinky-di Aussie' is a 'true Australian'. However, this expression is limited to describing objects or actions that are characteristically Australian. The words dinkum or dinky-di and phrases like true blue are widely purported to be typical Australian sayings, even though they are more commonly used in jest or parody than as authentic slang. Similarly, g'day, a stereotypical Australian greeting, is no longer synonymous with "good day" in other varieties of English and is never used as an expression for "farewell", as "good day" is in other countries. It is simply used as a greeting. The word holiday in Australia is both used to describe time away from normal employment or school, and to describe recreational travel involving a stay away from home. A government decreed day off work is called a public holiday. Australians do not use holiday to describe days such as Valentines Day or Mothers Day which do not involve time away from work.The term "Fall" is not used as another word for "Autumn". Also, the verb "root" ("to root"), while it has the same American and British meanings of "to fix oneself in" (never "to root for": to lend support, usually a sporting person or team, instead "to barrack for" is used), in Australian English it is also a verb that means "to have sex with". While not an especially offensive, this is still a vulgar expression in Australia, usually used in the "broad" language among friends. For example, this became confusing for international audiences of Chris Lilley's Summer Heights High, where character Mr. G sings: "she's a slut and she knows it/she wants to root all the boys", in which many misunderstood the verb to be "she wants to ruin all the boys". "Rooted" (like the term "buggered") is a term used to describe something ruined, or a person in a state of exhaustion. With regard to foreign countries, the word abroad is rarely used in Australian English. Overseas is commonly used in the same sense because all other countries are overseas from Australia. A few words of Australian origin are now used in other parts of the Anglosphere as well; among these are first past the post, to finalize, brownout, and the colloquialisms uni "university" and “part” short of a “whole” meaning stupid or crazy, (for example, "a brick short of a load" or "a few sandwiches short of a picnic".)

Regional vocabulary

The regional variation in Australia consists primarily of differences in vocabulary rather than tone or accent.There are differences in the names of beer glasses from one area to another. In the 2000s, however, the range of glass sizes in actual use has been greatly reduced.In New South Wales swimwear is known as swimmers or cossie and in Queensland it is togs. In most other areas the term bathers dominates.There are many regional variations for describing social classes or subcultures. A Bogan is also referred to as a bevan in Queensland, westie in NSW, and booner in the ACT. These variations however, have almost completely been replaced by the term "bogan".It is often said that people from some parts of Queensland end sentences with the interrogative "eh?" (or "hay?", "hey"). This is also common in both New Zealand English and Canadian English. However, in Australian English, this form has also spread into some parts of New South Wales. The steadily increasing centralization of film, TV and radio production, however, may be spreading new words more rapidly and blurring such distinctions. Three main varieties of Australian English are spoken according to linguists: broad, general and cultivated. They are part of a continuum, reflecting variations in accent. They often, but not always, reflect the social class or educational background of the speaker. Broad Australian English is recognizable and familiar to English speakers around the world because it is used to identify Australian characters in non-Australian films and television programmes (often in the somewhat artificial "stage" Australian English version). Examples are film/television personalities Steve Irwin and Paul Hogan. Slang terms ocker, for a speaker, and Strine, a shortening of the word Australian for the dialect, are used in Australia.
The majority of Australians speak with the general Australian accent. This predominates among modern Australian films and television programmes and is used by, for example, Eric Bana, Dannii Minogue and Hugh Jackman.
Cultivated Australian English has some similarities to British Received Pronunciation, and is often mistaken for it. Cultivated Australian English is spoken by some within Australian society, for example Cyril Richard, Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis. There are no strong variations in accent and pronunciation across different states and territories. Regional differences in pronunciation and vocabulary are small in comparison to those of the British and American English, and Australian pronunciation is determined less by region than by social, cultural and educational influences. There is some subtle regional variation. In Tasmania and Queensland, words such as "dance" and "grant" are usually heard with the older pronunciation of these words, using [æː]. In South Australia [aː] is the norm. In other states both pronunciations can be heard. Some speakers in those areas where [æː]/[æ] is found prefer to use [aː] in such words as a sign of higher social class. In words such as "pass", "can't", "last", all regional variants use [aː].

Sport variations

Many regional variations are as a result of the Australian passion for sport and the differences in non-linguistic traditions from one state to another: the word football refers to the most popular code of football in different States or regions, or even ethnic groups within them. Victorians start a game of Australian rules football with a ball up, Western Australians with a bounce down; New South Wales people and Queenslanders start a game of rugby league football or rugby union football with a kick off, as do soccer players across Australia. From 2004, the national governing body for soccer (the Football Federation Australia), has promoted the use of "football" in place of "soccer". Several media outlets have adopted this use, while others have stuck with "soccer". However, use of the word "football" to mean either Australian football or rugby league, depending on the major code of the state, is still more common in Australia. In all places, the specific name or nickname of the code ("soccer", "league", "union" or "Aussie rules") can often be heard used for disambiguation - vital when there are four competing major codes of football. The slang word footy has been traditionally associated with either Australian rules football (Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory) or rugby league football (New South Wales, Queensland). A prominent examples in popular culture are The Footy Shows; also FootyTAB, a betting wing of the NSW TAB. The use of "footy" in Australia parallels its use in other countries: New Zealand usage to refer to rugby union. For many Australian rules followers, the verb barrack (or the accompanying noun form barracker), is used to describe following a team or club. Barrack has its origins in British English, although in the UK it now usually means to jeer or denigrate an opposing team or players. The expression "root (or rooting) for a team", as used in the United States, is not generally used in Australia (root is slang for sexual intercourse in Australia.)

South Australian English

South Australian English is the collective name given to the varieties of English spoken in South Australia. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Macquarie Dictionary there are three localised varieties: Adelaide English, Eyre and Yorke Peninsula English and Northern South Australia English.It is sometimes claimed that South Australians have a distinct regional accent. However there is no hard evidence for this, and examples are generally restricted to different pronunciation of a few words. The more significant distinguishing feature of South Australian English is vocabulary which has been strongly influenced by early settlers to the state. Of particular interest here are the German and Cornish immigrants. South Australian dialects also preserve some British English usages which do not occur elsewhere in Australia.

Western Australian English Western Australian English, or West Australian English, is the collective name given to the variety or varieties of English spoken in Western Australia. While there is no well-known "West Australian accent", most West Australians speak with either General Australian Accent or a broad Australian accent. Generally, those who grew up in suburban Perth speak with a General Australian accent, and those from regional areas ("from the country") speak with a broad accent. Some linguists have suggested that some Western Australians pronounce words such as beer with two syllables (/biː.ə/), where other Australians use one syllable (/bɪː/). It is in vocabulary where Western Australian English is most distinct from other regional varieties. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation there are three localized, regional varieties of English in WA: Perth English; Central West Australian English and Northern West Australian English, and each has region specific words which have found their way into common usage. The source of these words varies from UK, USA, and the local Aboriginal language
Australian American British English Lexical Differences

|Australian English |American English |British English |
|bloke |guy |chap |
|cozzie |bathing-suit |swimming-costume |
|crook |sick |ill |
|daks (dacks) |pants |trousers |
|duchess |buffet |sideboard |
|durry |cigaret(te) |fag |
|fairy floss |cotton candy |Candy floss |
|fisho |fish seller |fishmonger |
|footpath |sidewalk |pavement |
|garbo |garbage man |dustman |
|garbologist |garbage man |dustman |
|grog |liquor |spirits |
|ice block |Popsicle |ice lolly |
|icy pole |Popsicle |ice lolly |
|jocks |underpants |pants |
|lolly |candy |sweet |
|mate |buddy (bud) |fellow (feller, fella) |
|port |baggage |luggage |
|postie |mailman |postman |
|Proprietary (Pty) |Incorporated (Inc.) |Limited (Ltd) |
|semitrailer |tractor-trailer |articulated lorry |
|servo |gas station |petrol station |


Most of the Australian specialties in vocabulary derive from English local dialects. "On the other hand, in recent years the influence of American English has been apparent... Thus we find American truck, elevator, and freeway alongside British petrol, boot (of a car) and tap. Few aboriginal words were borrowed, though a third of the place names is taken from their languages, with in increasing number in our days A short excerpt from Aussie vocabulary. In terms of origin and structure, Australianisms fall into six categories:

(1)Words from Aboriginal languages: boomerang a throwing weapon, corroboree a ceremonial dance, jackeroo a trainee farm manager, kangaroo a large hopping marsupial, kookaburra a kind of bird, wombat a burrowing marsupial.
(2)Extensions of pre-existing senses: bush natural vegetation, or rural as opposed to urban life, station a garrison, colonial outpost, tract of grazing land, ranch.
(3)Novel compounds: bushman someone skilled in traversing the bush, bushranger an armed bandit; convict overseer a convict appointed to supervise other convicts, convict police convicts appointed as police; cattle/sheep station station for raising cattle or sheep, station black an Aboriginal employed on a station; stock agent someone buying and selling livestock, stockman someone employed to tend livestock.
(4) Novel fixed phrases: black bream, black swan; colonial ale, colonial tobacco; native plum, native potato; red ash, red cedar; white box, white cockatoo; wild banana, wild spinach
(5) Coinage: emancipist a freed convict, go slow a form of industrial protest in which employees work to rule (now international), woop-woops remote country.
(6) Words with greater currency in Australia than elsewhere include new applications of words from British regional dialects: dinkum reliable, genuine, dunny a privy, larrikin a hooligan, wowser a killjoy.

Australianisms were very much a part of Broad Australian and General Australian. They were certainly not a part of Cultivated Australian, the prestige form of Australian English in the public domain where, in the first half of the twentieth century, the Australian accent and the colloquial elements of the Australian vocabulary were condemned, with reference to putative and actual British standards. Here was a paradox: the Australian accent and the core words that carried and embodied Australian values (and which were therefore central to notions of nationhood and identity) were judged to be substandard and second-rate.In the second half of the twentieth century, the weakening ties with Britain (especially as a result of Britain’s joining of the European Economic Community) and the emergence of new forms of nationalism, this situation was gradually reversed. Australian English became ‘naturalized’ in its own country, its accent and vocabulary were accepted as a national norm, and it was celebrated in such works as the Australian National Dictionary of 1988. In the first half of the twentieth century Cultivated Australian had been the socially prestigious accent; by the end of the century its utterance was likely to generate derision and laughter. As a result, Broad Australian, too, has been in decline, as if this extreme form was no longer required now that the imperial elements were dead. General Australian is now to the fore—as it had been before the false dawns of Cultivated and Broad

These are the best-known Australianisms in the English-speaking world.
|Australian English |World Standard English |
|amber |beer |
|arvo |afternoon |
|barbie |barbecue |
|barrack |cheer |
|beaut |great |
|bloke |man |
|chook |chicken |
|clobber |clothes |
|crook |ill |
|daks |trousers (BrE), pants (AmE) |
|dinkum |genuine, true |
|evo |evening |
|G'day |hello |


A growing sense of national identity was fostered by involvement in the First World War. The line between formal and informal usage is perhaps less rigidly drawn in Australia than elsewhere, colloquialisms being more generally admissible than in Britain. In informal usage, the suffixes -ie or -y and -o or -oh are freely attached to short base words (roughie a trick, tinnie a can of beer, bottle-oh a bottle merchant, plonko an addict of plonk or cheap wine, smoko a work break) and clippings (Aussie an Australian, arvo an afternoon, barbie a barbecue, Chrissy Christmas, compo workers' compensation, derro a derelict or down-and-out, reffo a refugee).

Aboriginal Vocabulary

The aboriginal vocabulary, which is one of the trademarks of Australian English, included billabong (a waterhole), jumbuck (a sheep), corroboree (an assembly), boomerang (a curved throwing stick), and budgerigar (from budgeree, “good” and gar, “parrot”).

The number of Aboriginal words in Australian English is quite small and is confined to the namings of plants (like Bindi eye and calombo), trees (like boree, banksia, quandong and mallee), birds (like currawong, galah and kookaburra), animals (like wallaby and wombat) and fish (like barramindi). As in North America , when it comes to place-names the Aboriginal influence was much greater: with a vast continent to name, about a third of all Australian place-names are Aboriginal.

The Aborigines also adopted words from maritime pidgin English, words like piccaninny and bilong (belong). They used familiar pidgin English variants like talcum and catchum. The most famous example is gammon, an eighteenth-century Cockney word meaning “a lie”.

Non-aboriginal Vocabulary

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Australian population were either convicts, ex-convicts or of convict descent. The convict argot was called “flash” language, and James Hardy Vaux published a collection of it in 1812, the New and Comprehensive Vocabulary of the Flash Language. Most of the words and phrases Vaux listed remained confined to convict circles and have not passed in the main stream of Australian English. There are a few exceptions, of which the best known is swag meaning “a bundle of personal belongings” in standard Australian. Swagman, billy, jumbuck, tucker-bag and coolibah tree are early Australianisms.

The roots of Australian English lie in the South and East of England, London, Scotland and Ireland. To take just a few examples, words like corker, dust-up, purler and tootsy all came to Australia from Ireland; billy comes from the Scottish bally, meaning “a milk pail”. A typical Australianism like fossick, meaning “to search unsystematically”, is a Cornish word. Cobber came from the Suffolk verb to cob, “to take a liking to someone”. Tucker is widely used for “food”. Clobber has Romany roots and is originally recorded in Kent as clubbered up, meaning “dressed up”.

2.2 Pronunciation

Initially, and uniquely, a majority of the British colonies in Australia were penal. As they expanded and as free colonies were developed, immigrants using languages other than English were insignificant. Relations with the Aborigines were generally poor and after an initial intake of words from their languages (such as boomerang, dingo, kangaroo, koala, kookaburra, wombat) were not conducive to extensive borrowing. The settlers were almost all Anglo-Celtic and geographical isolation was of great importance. The preoccupations of the colonists were the discovery and exploration of a new land, rich in exotic flora and fauna, and pastoral occupations such as raising sheep and cattle under circumstances vastly different from ‘the Old Country’. In the late 20c, however, Australians are predominantly urban and increasingly multicultural. The major areas of lexical growth are international, as in computing and surfing. In the 19c, the situation was the reverse. Australians have a distinct accent, which varies between social classes and is sometimes claimed to vary from state to state, although this is disputed. Accents tend to be strongest in the more remote areas. (Note that while there are many similarities between Australian accents and New Zealand ones, there are also a number of differences.)

In Australia they commonly distinguish between 3 accents, these are as follows:
1. Cultivated. An accent, used by about 10 per cent of the population, on which Received Pronunciation continues to exert a considerable influence. In some speakers the accent is very close to educated southern British, with just a hint of its Australian origin in certain vowels and in the intonation. In its most RP-like form, speakers of other varieties tend to think of it as affected.
2. Broad. At the opposite extreme, this accent, used by about 30 per cent of the population, is the one most clearly identified with the notion of an Australian twang. It is heard in many countries in the voices of the characters portrayed by such actors as Paul Hogan and Barry Humphries.
3. General. In between there is a mainstream group of accents used by most of the population.

The Australian vowel system is quite different from other varieties. Other standard varieties have tense vowels, lax vowels, and diphthongs. Australian English on the other hand has turned most of the tense vowels into diphthongs, and turned some of what are diphthongs in Received Pronunciation into long vowels, thus replacing the tense-lax distinction (one of quality) with a long-short distinction (one of quantity). The Vowel system of Broad Australian is very similar to Cockney. Educated Australian is close to RP. The main specialties of the former is [[pic]] in unstressed position within a word where the English use [[pic]], and the ending -y, which is pronounced [[pic]]. The sounds on the continuum at the left border of the vowel diagram are less open, e.g. that is sounds for an Englishman as if it were thet. [[pic]] is produced as [[pic]] in most positions, in words like dance. Like in the American South [[pic]] occurs in words like pound.

As for the consonants, there are no glottal stops (in spite of all the similarities of BA to Cockney). Some Australians, maybe due to Irish influx, produce rhotic words.

|Australian pronunciation |RP |
|[[pic]] |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] |[[pic]] |
|teacher's: |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] | |
|teachers: |[[pic]] |
|[[pic]] | |

|Received Pronunciation |General Australian |Example |
|/i:/ |/əɪ/ |see /səɪ/ |
|/ɑ:/ |/a:/ |heart /ha:t/ |
|/u:/ |/əʊ/ |school /skəʊl/ |
|/æ/ |/e/ |bad /bed/ |
|/ʌ/ |/a/ |cut /kat/ |
|/eɪ/ |/æɪ/ |say /sæɪ/ |
|/aɪ/ |/ɑɪ/ |high /hɑɪ/ |
|/aʊ/ |/æʊ/ |now /næʊ/ |
|/əʊ/ |/ʌʊ/ |no /nʌʊ/ |
|/ɪə/ |/i:/ |near /ni:/ |
|/eə/ |/e:/ |hair /he:/ |



Australian monophthongs

Australian English is a non-rhotic accent and it is similar to the other Southern Hemisphere accents (New Zealand English and South African English). Like most dialects of English it is distinguished primarily by its vowel phonology.

The vowels of Australian English can be divided into two categories: long and short vowels. The short vowels, consisting only of monophthongs, mostly correspond to the lax vowels used in analyses of Received Pronunciation. The long vowels, consisting of both monophthongs and diphthongs, mostly correspond to its tense vowels and centering diphthongs. Unlike most varieties of English, it has a phonemic length distinction: that compresses, shortens or removes these features.

Many speakers have also coalesced /dj/, /sj/ and /tj/ into /dʒ/, /ʃ/ and /tʃ/, producing standard pronunciations such as [t͡ʃʰʉːn] for tune. t, dd and s in the combinations tr, dr and sr (this latter loan words only) also fall in with /dʒ/, /ʃ/ and /tʃ/ for many speakers, and for all speakers in the case of sr in loan words, thus tree /tʃɹiː/, draw /dʒɹɔː/ and Sri Lanka /ʃɹiˈlæŋkə/. In colloquial speech intervocalic /t/ undergoes voicing and flapping to the alveolar tap [ɾ] after the stressed syllable and before unstressed vowels (as in butter, party) and syllabic /l/, though not before syllabic /n/ (bottle vs button [batn]), as well as at the end of a word or morpheme before any vowel (what else, whatever). In formal speech /t/ is retained. However, the alveolar flap is normally distinguishable by Australians from the intervocalic alveolar stop /d/, which is not flapped, thus ladder and latter, metal and medal, and coating and coding remain distinct; further, when coating becomes coatin' , the t remains voiceless, thus [kʌutn]. This is a quality that Australian English shares with some other varieties of English.
1. The long ee sound (as in see) is heard as the diphthong er-ee (the first element of which is the schwa, or neutral sound as it is sometimes called), so that see turns into seree, or, for foreigners, even sehee (sayee).
2. The long oo sound is heard as o, so that soup turns into soap.
3. The long ah sound (as in heart) tends to be fronter, sounding similar to what begins the diphthong i (as in lie), but longer.
4. The short u sound (as in love) tends to be fronter too, sounding as if it begins the diphthong i (as in lie).
5. The diphthong ay (as in play) tends to be wider, as if its first element is the sound a (as in bad), or sometimes it can sound as the sound i (as in lie), so that may turns into my.
6. The diphthong air (as in care) becomes monophthong eh (as in pen), but long.
7. The first element of the diphthong i (as in lie) is pronounced as a short ah sound (as in heart).
8. The first element of the diphthong ow (as in now) is produced at the front of the mouth and it is raised, so that it sounds as a (as in bad).
9. The diphthong ere (as in here) sounds as pure ee (as in see), so that here turns into he.
10. When there is a choice between the er (teacher) and the short ee (ladies) in an unstressed syllable, the er sound replaces the short ee in most cases but in the -ed ending where the long ee is often produced. So boxers and boxes sound the same (both with the er sound) whereas studied and studded sound differently (the first word has the long ee and the second one has the er).
11. Vowels next to a nasal consonant tend to retain the nasality more than in RP: such words as down and now are often strongly nasalised in the broad accent, and are the chief reason for the designation of this accent as a twang.
The phonetic basis for the three accent types emerges from a consideration of these qualities. The broad accent makes much use of tongue movements which are more open or further forward than the RP norms. The cultivated accent is, literally, further back.

Spelling in Australian English

Australian spelling generally follows conventions of British English. As in British spelling, the 'u' is retained in words such as honour and favour and the -ise ending is used in words such as organise and realise, although -ize may be tolerated, and occasionally appears in official contexts. As in most English speaking countries, there is no official governmental regulator or overseer of correct spelling and grammar. Dictionaries such as the Macquarie Dictionary and the Australian Oxford Dictionary have provided a compendium of words and spellings, but often include variants of spellings for certain words regardless of their commonality. This can lead to confusion about what is correct or acceptable spelling in Australian English.

There was widely held belief in Australia that controversies over spelling resulted from the "Americanization" of Australian English; the influence of American English in the late 20th century, but the debate over spelling is much older. For example, a pamphlet entitled The So-Called "American Spelling", published in Sydney some time before 1901, argued that "there is no valid etymological reason for the preservation of the u in such words as honor, labor, etc.", alluding to older British spellings which also used the -or ending. The pamphlet also claimed that "the tendency of people in Australasia is to excise the u, and one of the Sydney morning papers habitually does this, while the other generally follows the older form." Newspapers are not always a reliable guide to community preference and usage, as they are often more concerned about saving space. For example, circa 2007 Melbourne newspaper The Age finally changed its longstanding policy of omitting the u, in response to continuing complaints from its readers.

One of the two major political parties is the Australian Labor Party, spelt without a 'u', with the atypical spelling dating back to 1912 as what was then an attempt to "modernize" the name. The main champion of the spelling change was King O'Malley, a major figure in the party's early history, who publicly claimed to have been born in Canada but was most likely born in the US and spent (almost) all of the first 30 years of his life in the US. It should also be noted that in its early years, the ALP was significantly influenced by the US labour movement. Words listed by the Macquarie Dictionary as currently often spelled differently to the received British spellings include "program" as opposed to "programme" and "jail" as opposed to "gaol" (although the traditional spellings may still be found in government documents or names such as Boggo Road Gaol). For a short time during the late 20th Century, Harry Lindgren's 1969 spelling reform proposal (Spelling Reform 1 or SR1) was popular in Australia and was adopted by the Australian government. SR1 calls for the short /e/ sound (as in bet) to be spelt with E (for example friend- frend, head- hed). In Geoffrey Sampson's book Writing Systems (1985) he wrote that SR1 "has been adopted widely by Australians. Many general interest paperbacks and the like are printed in SR1; under Gough Whitlam's Labor Government the Australian Ministry of Helth was officially so spelled (though, when Whitlam was replaced by a liberal administration, it reintroduced orthographic conservatism)".


Having made this work we came to conclusion, that Australian English has its own characteristic peculiarities, rich history and differs a lot from American and British English. Now we know how historical, political events have affected on languages development, peculiarities.

The way Australians speak English is different from the rest of the English speaking population. Nowhere else in the world you will find such homogeneity in pronunciation like you will in Australia. You can travel from one side of the country to the other and you will find people sound the same. There are no distinct dialects spoken in Australia to suggest to the listener that a particular person is from say Sydney or from Melbourne. Even though Australian English is unique in its homogeneity, there are still variations and varieties to the Australian English accent and pronunciation. Australian English is an extremely distinctive language on an international level but considering the size of Australia, it is relatively homogenous. When speaking to an Australian it would be almost impossible to discern what town or even state they originate from solely from their speech however there are some differences across states but more noticeably between city and rural residents and a people from different cultural backgrounds.

This work has helped to know everything about Australian English language, to enlarge knowledge. There is a large number of different words, it is important to know how to rightly pronounce them.

And of course it is very important to learn more about English for our future profession, because it helps to develop translating skills and we will need it when meeting and talking with foreigners.


1.) Oliver, Mackay and Rochecouste. “The Acquisition of Colloquial Terms by Western Australian Primary”
2.) Robert J. Menner, "The Australian Language" American Speech, (April 1946), p.120
3.) Robert Mannell, "Impressionistic Studies of Australian English Phonetics".

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