Australian Englishes
1. Introduction
2. History: Colonisation and language
3. Development of AusE
4. Regional varieties of AusE
5. Development of Creole languages
1. Introduction
TV ad: "Where the bloody hell are you!?"
1. Introduction
• TV- advertisement launched by Tourism Australia earlier this year to
attract travellers from all over the world
• Any problems in understanding the spoken text?
• ( obviously, it is mainly the pronunciation of Australian English that
differs from Standard British English and General American English)
• British TV bosses have banned the commercial since they regarded
the language used as “bad” and too rude
• England was the only country where such reactions occurred
• => the British and Australian population have an extraordinary
relationship concerning usage of language
2. History: Colonisation and
Language Import
• Australia has been inhabited by the native or Aboriginal people for
over 40,000 years.
• Discovery of the continent by Captain Cook / Arrival of the British in
• Established as a penal colony in 1778 (NSW) mostly for Irish and
Southern English convicts
• Free settlers came with economic growth especially after
discovering gold in 1851
• Aboriginal people lacked a single official language
• technologically far less advanced
• No great impact on economic developments nor on language
2. History: Colonisation and
Language Import
Hundreds of different Aboriginal
languages: small excerpt:
3. Development of Australian
Despite of numerous non-British immigrant languages, English
has always been the first official language
The majority of the Australian population speaks English with over
80% of them having it as their native language
Easily recognized by its pronunciation
Pronunciation has a clearly urban southern English bias and is
noticably slow
southern English immigrants had the strongest influence on the
nature of Australian English> AusE
Often compared to Cockney English
3. Development of Australian
• Differences between BrE and AusE:
- formal style of AusE comes closer to BrE than AmE
- more slang words and abbreviations in AusE
• Names for places and objects are often influenced by Aboriginal
terms (e.g. “Boomerang“, “Kangaroo“, “Uluru“, …)
• Common shortenings are for example:
Afternoon => arvo
Barbecue => barbie
4. Varieties of AusE
Varieties in social aspects:
• Cultivated (spoken by 11%)
• General (spoken by 55%)
• Broad (spoken by 34%)
AusE varieties do not occur in regional aspects
5. Development of Creole
Creole and
Torres Strait Broken
Aboriginal English
• Especially in
Western Australia
and Northern
5.1 Kriol
• Kriol has many sub classes or dialects
• Mixture of Aboriginal English and former “pure“
Aboriginal languages that tribes used to speak
• Spoken by about 30.000 people
• Developed as a pidgin in early 20th century in the
Northern Territory
• Widespread and well understood
• Established as a creole at Roper River Mission
(Ngukurr), where cattle stations were established and a
township developed
5.1 Kriol
• 200 aboriginal people from 8 different tribes used it as
the only language they had in common => became a
native language then
• Regions it is spoken in today:
Roper River
Katherine areas
Northern Territory
Kimberley region of Western Australia
Gulf Country
Lower Cape York Peninsula
5.2 Torres Strait Broken
• Spoken on islands between Australia and New Guinea
and on Cape York
• Used for trade and commerce
• Spoken by approximately 25.000 people
• Pidgin but usually the first language / creole for many
• Has 5 dialects
5.3 Aboriginal English
• Spoken in remote areas
• Varieties between standard AusE (SAE), creoles and
Australian languages
• Comprehensible for English speakers
• Examples: “dey poisonous“, “Like my pop got emu eggs down is
place“, “Because this one boy, he wen an.. broke it“, “We bin go wi-ii-ight aroun eberywhere“
5.4 Creoles
„These Creoles are distinct languages. … They show an
ingenious blend of English and Australian structural
features, producing a language that seems quite
appropriate to the bicultural milieu in which many
Aboriginal Australians find themselves. Indeed, in some
areas an increasing number of young Aborigines are
speaking Kriol – instead of or as well as an Australian
language – and it is coming to be thought of by them as
‘the Aboriginal language‘.“
(Dixon 1980: 73f.)

Australian Englishes - uni