Australian English: a linguistic description
Gorjón González, Uxue
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The aim of this paper is to provide a general description of the linguistic features of Australian English (AusE). For this purpose, the paper first focuses on the sociohistorical context that explains how and why the English language arrived in Australia in the late 18th century, as well as a brief overview of the influence of different languages and dialects AusE has received throughout the decades. The next section describes this variety phonologically, morpho-syntactically and lexically. The pronunciation subsection offers an explanation of the three accents of AusE, i.e. Cultivated, the most prestigious accent, Broad, consisting of the most distinctive AusE features, and General, the most widely used among speakers (Horvath, 2008). The subsection continues with a description of the vowel and consonant systems of AusE with reference to accent variation. The morphosyntactic description follows, which explains different phenomena that occur in AusE grammar. They are addressed by means of a comparison with British English (BrE) and American English (AmE) morphosyntactic features, which will help the reader to understand to what extent AusE is moving away from the tendencies of other major English varieties and forming its own grammatical characteristics. Lastly, the remaining subsection is devoted to the vocabulary of AusE. First, this part focuses on the influence of Australian Aboriginal languages, mentioning different native tongues from which AusE borrowed hundreds of words, giving several examples. The early borrowings from different BrE dialects as well as the late influence of AmE are also covered. This part follows with an explanation of lexical variation given in several words, a summary of the different abbreviation processes and a list of colloquialisms found in informal AusE.