Regional variation in Australian English

Regional variation in Australian English

It is sometimes claimed that regional variations in pronunciation and accent of Australian English exist, but if present at all they are very small compared to those of British, Irish and North American English – sufficiently so that linguists are divided on the question. Overall, pronunciation is determined less by region than by social and educational influences.

Regional vocabulary

There is, however, some variation in Australian English vocabulary between different regions. An example often cited by linguists is the given by Australians to bland, processed pork products – known in other countries as pork luncheon meat or baloney – is so great, that these words are used by linguists to ascertain not only which Australian state or territory a person is from, but also regional origin within states in some casesFact|date=January 2008.

Regional variation does not respect state borders, and this is shown, for example, by the fact that both Queenslanders and people from northern New South Wales say "port" (short for portmanteau) while people in the other states say "case", "school bag", "backpack", "rucksack" and/or "knapsack". In the past variation was so strong that the residents of the NSW town of Maitland would use the word port where Newcastle, some 20 kilometres away, would prefer the latter term. Using the word "knapsack" to refer to a "port" is quite incorrect, as a "knapsack" is a specific type of "port" that is worn with a shoulder strap across the chest or the side of the body, and consists of a flap that opens to access the inside.

Queenslanders also use the term "nikko pen" to refer to a permanent marking pen. In other states it is referred to as a "texta" or "permanent marker". "Texta" is a trade name for a thick colouring in artwork pen; its use is a genericised trademark.

There is also great variety in the names of beer glasses from one area to another. For example, a standard 285ml (10 fl.oz.) glass, in different states or regions, is known as a "middy" (NSW/WA/ACT), "pot" (Vic/Qld/Tas), "handle" (NT/SA), "ten" (SA/Tas) or "schooner" (SA) and a "ten ouncer" (Tas). Such variation causes great confusion, especially since a schooner is a 425 ml (15 fl.oz.) glass in every state that uses the word except SA.

In NSW is known as "swimmers" or "cossie" and in Queensland it is "togs". In most other areas the term "bathers" is preferred.

Another example is the word "tuckshop" which is used in Queensland and NSW to describe a food outlet on school premises; the word "canteen" is now more common in other areas of Australia, although tuckshop may occasionally be used in those areas as well.Fact|date=February 2007

There are many regional variations for describing social classes or subcultures. One example is probably "bogan" , which is also referred to as "bevan" or "yobbo" in Queensland, "westie" in NSW, and "booner" in the ACT.

The differences are not restricted to words. For example, it is often said that people from some parts of Queensland end sentences with the interrogative "eh"?" (or "hay?", "hey"). This is also common in both New Zealand English and Canadian English. However, in Australian English, this form has also spread into some parts of New South Wales.Fact|date=February 2007

The steadily increasing centralisation of film, TV and radio production, however, may be spreading new words more rapidly and blurring such distinctions.

port variations

Many regional variations are as a result of the Australian passion for sport and the differences in non-linguistic traditions from one state to another: the word "football" refers to the most popular code of football in different States or regions, or even ethnic groups within them. Victorians start a game of Australian rules football with a "ball up", Western Australians with a "bounce down"; New South Welsh people and Queenslanders start a game of rugby league football or rugby union football with a "kick off", as do soccer players across Australia.

From 2004, the national governing body for soccer (the Football Federation Australia), has promoted use of "football" in place of "soccer". Several media outlets have adopted this use [ [ Foxsports] ] [ [ Sydney Morning Herald] ] , while others have stuck with "soccer" [ [ Daily Telegraph] ] [ [ Herald Sun] ] [ [ The Courier-Mail] ] [ [ West Australian] ] [ [ The Advertiser] ] . However, use of the word "football" to mean either Australian football or rugby league, depending on the major code of the state, is still more common in Australia. In all places, the specific name or nickname of the code ("soccer", "league", "union" or "Aussie rules") can often be heard used for disambiguation - vital when there are four competing major codes of football.

The slang word "footy" has been traditionally associated with either Australian rules football (Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania) or rugby league football (New South Wales, Queensland). A prominent examples in popular culture is The Footy Show; also FootyTAB, a betting wing of the NSW TAB. The use of "footy" in Australia parallels its use in other countries: New Zealand usage to refer to rugby union.

For many Australian rules followers, the verb "barrack" (or the accompanying noun form "barracker"), is used to describe following a team or club. Barrack has its origins in British English, although in the UK it now usually means to jeer or denigrate an opposing team or players. The expression "root (or rooting) for a team", as used in the United States, is not generally used in Australia as "root" (or rooting) is slang for sexual intercourse.

pecific Regional Dialects

outh Australian English

South Australian English is the collective name given to the varieties of English spoken in South Australia. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Macquarie Dictionary there are three localised varieties: "Adelaide English", "Eyre and Yorke Peninsula English" and "Northern South Australia English".

It is sometimes claimed that South Australians have a distinct regional accent. However there is no hard evidence for this. The more significant distinguishing feature of South Australian English is vocabulary which has been strongly influenced by early settlers to the state. Of particular interest here are the German and Cornish immigrants. South Australian dialects also preserve some British English usages which do not occur elsewhere in Australia.

Western Australian English

Western Australian English, or West Australian English, is the collective name given to the variety or varieties of English spoken in Western Australia. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Macquarie Dictionary there are three localised, regional varieties of English in WA: "Perth English"; "Central West Australian English" and "Northern West Australian English".

While there is no well-known "West Australian accent", as it sounds quite similar to the Queensland accent, some linguists have suggested that Western Australians tend to pronounce words such as beer with two syllables (IPA|/biː.ə/), in cases where other Australians use one syllable.

It is in vocabulary where Western Australian English is most distinct from other regional varieties. Some common British usages, which are rare in other parts of Australia, have survived. Some US terms have found a niche in WA. Many words from Aboriginal languages have found their way into West Australian English, such as the term "boondy" for a rock, boulder, or small stone. There are also many unique, invented slang words.

Tasmanian English

In Tasmania, "cobber" (an old Australian word for friend) is still widely used whereas it is gradually dying out in other parts of AustraliaFact|date=January 2008.

ee also

*Australian English
*Australian English vocabulary
*Australian English phonology
*Regional accents of English speakers


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