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Is Australia about to descend into civil struggle over whether a deep-fried potato snack is rightfully known as a “potato cake” or a “potato scallop”? From some latest headlines, you might be forgiven for thinking so.
A sequence of maps showing variations in phrases used across Australia sparked fierce debates on-line over the virtues of calling a barbecued sausage served in a single slice of bread a “sausage in bread” or a “sausage sandwich”.
Given that these maps had been put together as a part of an academic exercise for college kids participating within the Linguistics Roadshow, the huge interest in the best way Australian English is used across the country took us abruptly. But, perhaps it shouldn’t have.
It’s typically mentioned that Australian English doesn’t vary much geographically – and it’s true that we don’t discover the same putting linguistic differences throughout the country as in another corners of the English-speaking world.
However, previous and ongoing research has shown that there are some regional differences. Among the most obvious are the words folks use for the same factor, similar to swimwear – preferences for “togs”, “swimmers”, “cossie” or “bathers” vary markedly throughout the states and territories.
Words for swimwear round Australia Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping words around Australia'
Where do these linguistic differences stem from?
Australian English developed from the speech of colonists from numerous elements of the British Isles, so generally the word used in a particular Australian area is the results of one possibility winning out amongst folks from completely different British backgrounds.
Others might be derived from the names of individuals or manufacturers, or borrowed from native Indigenous languages.
Each word has its own historical past, however many words throughout the nation have a shared history - that’s what makes these exceptions stand out.
What’s fascinating is simply how neatly some of this variation lines up with state traces, which means that there is something extra than simply the historical decisions made by colonists or the distance between different areas contributing to these differences.
Striking examples of this phenomenon can be seen for border towns such as Albury-Wodonga, where a short walk throughout the bridge means you’ll hear a majority of individuals utilizing a special word for swimwear.
More ‘bathers’ on the Victorian facet of the border, more ‘swimmers’ on the New South Wales facet. Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping words around Australia' Whether you name your swimwear, togs, bathers, swimsuit, budgie smugglers doesn’t matter, the very fact is you must purchase quality Australian Made chlorine resistant swimwear, if you want your swimwear to be comfy and final.
This is as a result of sure words turn out to be strongly associated with a regional identification.
When there is a couple of option to select from, individuals may use a particular word as a result of it’s the most common term of their neighborhood, but in addition because that word indexes a broader group id, similar to Victorian versus New South Wales.
Words are significantly good at doing this sort of work: they very easily turn out to be id markers that people orient to.
Pronunciation variations can also operate in this way: does “dance” rhyme with “aunts” or “pants” for you?
Other sorts of variation can fly beneath the radar because they’re more refined, or part of a change in progress.
Many Australians are not aware, for instance, that in components of Victoria “celery” is pronounced more like “wage” – hear out for it subsequent time you’re in “Malbourne”!
When we communicate we tend to make use of the words, pronunciations and linguistic patterns that we hear most frequently in the communities we reside in.
Identity is a dynamic and ongoing process that all of us actively participate in, and we use the variation inherent in language to specific who we're at any given moment.
What is Australian English?
Australian English is really a broad cowl term for several types of English used across the country, including the varieties used by completely different Indigenous and ethnocultural groups.
This is cross-cut by the linguistic preferences of people representing totally different age groups, gender identities, and social and cultural backgrounds, with totally different vocations, interests and networks.
We are a part of many communities concurrently and might specific our belonging in varied ways.
Someone may be an Australian, a Thai descendent, a soccer participant, a girl, a scholar of medicine, and a Tumblr consumer, and be very adept at gauging the totally different areas they participate in and choosing how they wish to determine inside them.
This is a vital a part of what languages do – they permit us to speak not simply data, but one thing about who we are.
‘Sausage sandwiches’ are most well-liked in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping phrases round Australia'So, next time you find yourself arguing about sausage sandwiches versus sausages in bread, keep in mind that whichever time period you employ, you’re contributing to the dynamic linguistic diversity of Australia.