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  1. #1
    seba_870701 is offline Member
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    Australian English

    Hi everybody.

    I'm going to write my MA thesis about Australian English, but there are not many materials available on the topic of AusE grammar. I don't want to write a 1000000000th work on differences in the British and Australian lexicons.

    My questions is whether you know any reliable and accessible materials on AusE syntax or grammar? Maybe there are some coursebooks or grammar books designed particularly for AusE?

    I'd appreciate any advice or guidance!

    Sebastian

  2. #2
    stuartnz's Avatar
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    Re: Australian English

    Raymott is almost certainly the best person to answer this question for you, but as a native speaker of NZE, I'm wondering if there are any significant differences between the grammar of AusE and BrE or AmE. Certainly I can't think of any real grammatical differences between NZE and BrE.

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    seba_870701 is offline Member
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    Re: Australian English

    Hi Stuartnz.

    I think there might be at least some slight differences in terms of grammar, especially in informal language. I'm aware that in formal register, AusE abd BrE are very much alike. Yet, I've read an interesting article on varieties of the English language all over the world, and the I found a book (actually, it's published in form of a collection of articles) that treats particularly about AusE. In his article "Syntactic features and norms in Australian English," Mark Newbrook draws the reader's attention to some phenomena as:

    a) the appearance and use of used to as a modal in non-standard constructions such as [i] usednít to against forms [ii] didnít used to, or [iii] didnít use to,

    b) the variation in the use of different from/than/to, where to is believed to be favoured in Australia against the British from, or American than,

    c) the use of less against fewer with plural countable nouns, or

    d) the use of different types of concord, such us grammatical, notional, and the principle of proximity,

    e) the use of possessive pronoun with same [e.g. Can I keep my same phone number? --> appeared in a comercial a few years ago],

    f) the use of superlatives followed by since, and

    g) the use of reversed relative clause punctuation.

    Newbrook reports that some of these can be at least statistically atributted to Australians, but the issue requires further research. And this is where I appear in the story Of course, I know that the scope of my research will be much to small to call it decisive in any way, but I think it may contribute to the problem, and it is an interesting and unusual topic for a MA thesis.

    Hmm... [thinking] So, I guess that now I'm waiting for Raymott's response

    Kind regards,

    S~

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: Australian English

    Quote Originally Posted by seba_870701 View Post
    Hi Stuartnz.

    I think there might be at least some slight differences in terms of grammar, especially in informal language. I'm aware that in formal register, AusE abd BrE are very much alike. Yet, I've read an interesting article on varieties of the English language all over the world, and the I found a book (actually, it's published in form of a collection of articles) that treats particularly about AusE. In his article "Syntactic features and norms in Australian English," Mark Newbrook draws the reader's attention to some phenomena as:

    a) the appearance and use of used to as a modal in non-standard constructions such as [i] usednít to against forms [ii] didnít used to, or [iii] didnít use to,
    These are heard occasionally, but I don't think that's specific to Australia, or all that common here.


    b) the variation in the use of different from/than/to, where to is believed to be favoured in Australia against the British from, or American than,
    No way. "Different from"

    c) the use of less against fewer with plural countable nouns, or
    Nope - no more than any other English speaking country.

    d) the use of different types of concord, such us grammatical, notional, and the principle of proximity,
    Examples? I'm not sure what you mean.

    e) the use of possessive pronoun with same [e.g. Can I keep my same phone number? --> appeared in a comercial a few years ago],
    "Can I keep my same phone number?" sounds normal to me. If no one else admits to saying it, you could count that as one.

    f) the use of superlatives followed by since, and
    Again, I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean "It's the best thing since sliced bread"?

    g) the use of reversed relative clause punctuation.
    Examples?

    Newbrook reports that some of these can be at least statistically atributted to Australians, but the issue requires further research. And this is where I appear in the story Of course, I know that the scope of my research will be much to small to call it decisive in any way, but I think it may contribute to the problem, and it is an interesting and unusual topic for a MA thesis.

    Hmm... [thinking] So, I guess that now I'm waiting for Raymott's response

    Kind regards,

    S~
    I did a comparative study of Australian and NZ speech for a Sociolinguistics assignment last year. I don't think I found much of interest about grammatical forms. But I'll see what I can find.

  5. #5
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    Re: Australian English

    I've read a PhD thesis or two on Ontario French in which the researcher focussed on a small set of local peculiarities. Consequently, I'd suggest AusE is too large a field for an MA thesis, unless you really narrow it down a great deal, for example the Australian diminutive abbreviation -ie, as in salmon on the barbie.

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    Re: Australian English

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I did a comparative study of Australian and NZ speech for a Sociolinguistics assignment last year. I don't think I found much of interest about grammatical forms. But I'll see what I can find.
    "Can I keep my same phone number?" sounds normal to me. If no one else admits to saying it, you could count that as one.


    Also to me, so it may be another ANZAC English element rather being peculiar to Australia.
    Last edited by stuartnz; 20-Oct-2009 at 23:46.

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    Re: Australian English

    HMmm. You guys make me want to rent Gallipoli again.

  8. #8
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    Re: Australian English

    Hi seba_870701
    Here's the part of my essay on Syntax, and the References.

    If you want to read the whole thing, I can send you a .pdf if you give me an email. It's too big to cut up and post here unless a few people are interested. The interesting differences are in the phonology.


    Syntax in Australia and New Zealand
    There is less of interest to mention regarding syntactical variation in AusE and NZE, especially in the formative decades and nineteenth century. Bernard (1989:255) writes that syntactically, Australians are “for practical purposes almost completely unmarked by region…. AusE is quite unusually uniform throughout its wide domain.” He recognises that variation exists “when the power of the microscope is increased”, but that the effect is not great. (256). Crystal (1995:352) is more blunt, writing, “There are no clear examples of distinctive regional usage in AusE grammar”. More recently, Leitner (2004) has noted that an American influence has introduced the use of the simple past tense instead of the present perfect with yet, as in Did you put the rubbish out yet, as well as the use of the definite article in such phrases as to the university (119).
    In respect of NZE, Woods (2000)quotes (Trudgill and Hannah 1994): “NZE speakers’ avoidance of shall in preference for will … is considered as a retention from Scottish English”; and she quotes Bauer (1994:401) as noting a possible innovative tendency in syntax in the use of she as a neutral or non-referring pronoun in expressions such as she’ll be right. As a subjective opinion, these features occur also in AusE. Bauer and Bauer (2002:170) note this shirt needs washed as another Scottishism in NZE. Bayard (2000) notes that “gotten” as the past participle is spreading in NZ, from AmE. Yet these AmE influences are all minor and isolated examples of how NZE and AusE are being changed in slightly different ways, or at a different rate.

    Conclusion
    This paper has given broad outline of the major theories of the origin of AusE and NZE with mention of some of the main proponents of those theories and some evidence for each. The matter is still contentious. Some of the more interesting and better-established examples of regional variation both between and within AusE and NZE have been illustrated and mention is made of where such variation adds evidence to theories of origin.





    Bibliography

    Australian Broadcasting Commission. (2002). Australian Word Map
    Australian Word Map [15/8/2008]
    Bauer, L. (1994). English in New Zealand. In R.W. Burchfield (ed.), The Cambridge
    history of the English language vol. 5: English in Britain and overseas – origins and
    development, 382–429. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press. cited in Trudgill
    (2008)
    Bauer, L. and Bauer, W. (2002). Can we watch regional dialects developing colonial
    English?: The case of New Zealand English. World-Wide, 23(2): 169–193.
    Bayard, D. (2000) New Zealand English: Origins, Relationships, and Prospects
    Moderna SprŚk 94(1): 8-14
    Bernard, J. R. (1989). Regional variation in Australian English: A survey. ch 20. In P.
    Collins and D. Blair (eds.) Australian English: The Language of a New Society. St
    Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press. 255-259.
    Blair, D. (1989). The development and current state of Australian English: A
    survery. ch.14. In P. Collins and D. Blair (eds.) Australian English: The
    Language of a New Society. St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press. 171-175.
    Bradley, D. (2003) Mixed Sources of Australian English, Australian Journal of
    Linguistics, 23(2): 143-150.
    Bradley, D. (1989). Regional Dialects in Australian English Phonology. ch 21. In
    P. Collins and D. Blair (eds.) Australian English: The Language of a New Society.
    St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press. 260-270.
    Britain, D. (2002). The British History of New Zealand English?
    Essex Research Reports in Linguistics 41: 1-41.
    Bryant, P. (1989). Regional variation in the Australian English lexicon. ch 24 in P.
    Collins and D. Blair (eds.) Australian English: The Language of a New Society. St
    Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 301-314.
    Burridge, K and Mulder, J (1998) English in Australia and New Zealand: An
    Introduction to its history, structure and use. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
    Cochrane, G, R (1989) Origins and Development of the Australian Accent, ch 15. in
    Collins, Peter and Blair, David (eds) (1989) Australian English: The Language of a
    New Society. St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press.
    Collins, P. and Blair, D. (eds). (1989). Australian English: The Language of a
    New Society. St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press.
    Crystal, D. (1995) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of The English Language.
    Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
    Harrington, J, Cox, F. and Evans, Z. (1997). An Acoustic Phonetic Study of Broad,
    General and Cultivated Australian English Vowels. Australian Journal of Linguistics
    17: 155-184.
    Hay, J and Bresnan, J. (2006). Spoken syntax: The phonetics of giving a hand in New
    Zealand English. The Linguistic Review 23: 321–349.
    Horvath, B. and Horvath, R. (2002). The geolinguistics of /l/ vocalization
    in Australia and New Zealand. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 6 (3): 319-346.
    Hudson, R. A (2006) Sociolinguistics. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
    Langstrof, C. (2006). Acoustic evidence for a push-chain shift in the Intermediate
    Period of New Zealand English. Language Variation and change, 18: 141-164.
    Leitner, G. (2004). Beyond Mitchell’s Views on the History of Australian
    English. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 24 (1): 99-126.

    Macquarie Dictionary (2008)Introduction to the Fourth Edition: Regionalisms.
    http://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/anonymous@9c9B528863968/-
    /p/dict/intro4_4.html[30/8/2008]
    Mitchell, A. G. (2003) The Story of Australian English: Users and Environment
    Australian Journal of Linguistics, 23(2): 111-128.
    Newbrook, M. (1995). ALMX413 Language in Society: Lecture Notes Monash
    University, Melbourne.
    Newman, John. (2002). New Zealand English
    http://www.ualberta.ca/~johnnewm/NZEnglish/ [12/8/2008]
    Schreier, D, Gordon, E, Hay, J and Maclagan, M. (2003). The regional and
    sociolinguistic dimension of /hw/ maintenance and loss in early 20th century New
    Zealand English. English World-Wide 24 (2): 245–269.
    Trudgill, P. (1986). Dialects in Contact. Oxford, Basil Blackwell.
    Trudgill, P (2001). On the irrelevance of prestige, stigma and identity in the development of
    New Zealand English phonology. New Zealand English Journal 15: 42-46
    Trudgill, P. (2008) Colonial dialect contact in the history of European languages: On the
    irrelevance of identity to new-dialect formation. Language in Society, 37: 241-254
    Tuten, D. (2006) review of New Dialect Formation: The inevitability of colonial
    Englishes by P. Trudgill.(2004) Diachronica 23(1): 223-229.
    Wardhaugh, R. (2002) And Introduction to Sociolinguistics 4th ed. Malden, Mass,
    Blackwell Publishing.
    Watson, C, Harrington J and Evans Z. (1998) An Acoustic Comparison between New
    Zealand and Australian English Vowels. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 18(2): 185-
    207
    Wikipedia, (2008a) Australian English Australian English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    [25/7/2008]
    Wikipedia (2008b) New Zealand English
    New Zealand English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [25/7/2008]
    Woods, N. (2000) Archaism and Innovation in New Zealand English.
    English World-Wide 21 (1): 109-150.
    Woods, N. (2001) Internal and external dimensions of language change: the great
    divide? Evidence from New Zealand English. Linguistics 39 (5): 973–1007.


    [Yes I did get docked marks for referencing Wikipedia!]
    Last edited by Raymott; 21-Oct-2009 at 05:55.

  9. #9
    seba_870701 is offline Member
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    Re: Australian English

    Man thanks to all of you!
    I'll definitely think of narrowing down the topic. I'll post the examples you were asking for tomorrow, as soon as I find the full article in which I found them originally.

    If you couls be so kind, I'd love to have your essay, Raymott! <he's fallen on his knees and is making Shrek-like, pleading eyes>

    My e-mail adress is: seba_870707[at]o2.pl

    PS

    Do you think I could find some of your reference books on the Internet? Especially, the most recent ones? I've noticed that there are not too many easily accessible books on the topic, and the major ones are mainly from 1990s..

    Again, many thanks for all of you for your contribution!

  10. #10
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: Australian English

    Quote Originally Posted by seba_870701 View Post
    Man thanks to all of you!
    I'll definitely think of narrowing down the topic. I'll post the examples you were asking for tomorrow, as soon as I find the full article in which I found them originally.

    If you couls be so kind, I'd love to have your essay, Raymott! <he's fallen on his knees and is making Shrek-like, pleading eyes>

    My e-mail adress is: seba_870707[at]o2.pl

    PS

    Do you think I could find some of your reference books on the Internet? Especially, the most recent ones? I've noticed that there are not too many easily accessible books on the topic, and the major ones are mainly from 1990s..

    Again, many thanks for all of you for your contribution!
    OK, I've sent you the essay.
    No, you probably won't find the books free on the web, and to buy them would be far too expensive, though sometimes Amazon gives you the opportunity to read a page at a time.
    Your university should have the more common journals listed.

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