The origin of Australian English
The Anglophone Australia and New Zealand are two of the youngest nations in the world. The first Europeans who took their residence in Australia came 205 years ago. They did not come because they wanted to. Australia was founded as a penal colony.
They were eventually followed by voluntary immigrants. Until now, the Australian with British ancestor are thepredominant part of the population. Among them, the area where a nowadays Australian most probably can find their ancestors is the region around London. The second important group of immigrants were Irish, mainly responsible for the huge number of Catholics in Australia compared with Britain (30.4% in 1851; Turner, 1972: 5).
Most of the Australian specialties in vocabulary derivefrom 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." (Crystal, 1988: 240). Few aboriginal words were borrowed, though a third of the place names is taken from their languages, with in increasing number in our days (Bähr, 1974: 274).A short excerpt from Aussie vocabulary (including slang words, which are more accepted than in Mother England; Bähr, 1974; Crystal, 1988; Baker, 1978):
Australian English | British English |
thisarvo | This afternoon |
footpath | pavement |
weekender | holidaycottage |
sheila | girl |
lolly | sweet |
Educated and BroadAustralian
Regional variation is practically absent in Australia.However, in opposition to the situation in America, Australian English knows are a great social range of different speeches.
There are some unsystematic peculiarities of Australian pronunciation that should be quoted (Bähr, 1974: 277; Wells, 1982b: 597):
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The main peculiarity that makes an Australian be recognized as such is theparticular intonation pattern (Wells, 1982b: 604). 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.
How to recognize a New Zealander
New Zealand has been settledby English-speaking people since about 1840, thus even more recent than the Australian settlement. As most of its immigrants came from Australia, it is not striking that it shares almost the exact speech habits with the latter:
"Native speakers of NZ can distinguish an Australian pronunciation quite readily, though the converse is not always true: Australians tend to classify a NZ accent ascoming from a distant and unfamiliar part of Australia, such as Tasmania. Native speakers of English from other parts of the world, on the other hand, can usually not distinguish an NZ from an Australian pronunciation." (Hawkins, n.d.)
Hence, the differences are very slight. They are "... mainly a matter of slight changes in vowel quality." (Crystal, 1988: 240). Different sounds can be found in thelacking of the æ-sound in dance, words like ultimate produced as , and ea as in New Zealand pronounced short:  (Bähr, 1974: 284). In some areas, Scots influx is to be felt: in parts of the Southern Island, e.g., one can sometimes hear the r rolled (Crystal, 1988: 241). As expected, also the voiceless wh () is common in NZ.
In vocabulary, Maori influx is greater than the Aboriginal one inAustralia, but still quite small. In NZ, however, the Maoris have most of the time been an accepted minority who are left a lot of space for caring for their culture and language.
In any case, the Kiwis (as NZers call themselves) have their own slang, too. Official words as benzine instead of petrol, gas, though, are relatively small in number. As in Aussie and Yankee languages slang is more...
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