Australian English without audio

Australian English
Gday Mate! Lets chuck some prawns and snags on the
barbie. Wanna a VB Tommo/scotty/Robbo/Micky/Gunny?
• Australian English is one of many varieties
used around the world. Therefore it is called
a Pluricentric language; one that functions as
a national language in several countries with
its own national dialect.
• Think about what is Australian to you?
• This pod cast we will look at Lexical features
and Grammatical features of Australian
What is Australian
• Lexicon has taken little from the Indigenous Australian
language but has been rather borrowed from other
variations of English (American/British)
• Those words taken from the Indigenous Australians are
usually referred to in cultural terms, ir boomerang,
corroboree, kookaburra, mallee, jarrah.
• Idiomatic/Colloquial expressions are also indicative of
our lexicon.
Lexical features of
Australian English
• Activity: Pause
this podcast and
brainstorm any
lexical items, that
you believe to be
apart of the
• I reckon. This is an efficient way of saying ‘I have calculated the
likelihood of various possibilities and settled on this as the most
likely. You may disagree if you wish, but that will simply expose you
as the intellectual fraud that you are.’ It implies that you have
carefully thought about this in the past and that you have already
moved on to other, more interesting topics.
• Arvo. Afternoon (e.g. let’s meet in the arvo). Not to be mistaken for a
name of a place. You will get strange looks if you ask someone to
direct you to the arvo.
Mate. Wide applications. Friend. Good friend. VERY good friend
(wink wink nudge nudge). Person that bumped into you on the bus.
• G’day mate. Aka Hello. This phrase was used much more frequently
by Australians before it was co-opted in 1988 by the writers of
Crocodile Dundee II.
• How ya Goin? How are you today? This is basically used to see how
some one is feeling. Going should not be mistaken for How am I
going somewhere. This is not for directions.
Do they look Like this?
• Also embedded on the wiki 
• From these lexical items, what can we
deduct about Australians?
• Many lexical items offer insight into the
values Australians hold close to them ie,
fairness, community, egalitarianism. Sayings
are the quintessential Aussie lexical items
indicative of these values.
• Obviously some sayings are not as common
as others however from a foreign perspective
these are the common Aussie sayings.
• Perhaps it is right to say that the Australian
lexicon is a mixture of local and foreign
Lexical features of AE
• Particularly in focus here is the
vernacular (non standard)
varieties and features of AE.
Here you will link in the
terminology and meta language
you have learnt over the past
year and apply it to a social
Grammatical Features of
• Colloquial Australian English has the plural second person
pronoun forms that have become ubiquitous/universal. Ie Yous
and You guys.
• A striking feature is to attribute gender with animate and
inanimate nouns. Ie She can refer to a car or boat. ‘er (her) can
refer to a leg of lamb (chuck ‘er on the barbie)
• The use of whom is almost non existent. Most tend to favour
• The use of me instead of I or my. ‘Me, Jim and Leah’ or ‘Jim,
Leah and me’.
‘He was angry at me scoring a goal’ instead of ‘He was angry
at my scoring a goal.’
Grammatical Features of
Nouns and noun Phrases
• A common feature is to use ‘old’ otherwise pronounced as ‘ol’ in front of a noun or
noun phrase. Ie went down to the ol river yesterday.
Verbs and Verb Phrases
• Frequent use of –ing as a progressive indicator of something. ‘I am enjoying this
latest book I bought.’ ‘I am enjoying my yoga classes. Top stuff that!’
• The frequent deletion of have as ‘Ive’. ‘I only been there a couple of times’
• Mandative subjunctive: The mandative (to command/order) subjunctive is a very
distinct kind of directive and it always takes the same form as a directive.
I insist [they get here at 11am sharp no later.]
I beg [that he return the money].
I demanded [that she give me her files].
We asked [that Bob tell the truth].
Grammatical features of
Verbs and Verb Phrases:
• The replacement of HAVE with OF after a modal verb. ‘I would of picked it up for
you!’ ‘I should of gone to that party I heard it of pretty good’
• The replacement of SHALL with modal WILL in particular in a first person
interrogative ‘Will I call a taxi?’ ‘Will I go get some milk?’ ‘Will I pick up Nan on the
way home?’
• Omission of auxiliary HAVE. ie. ‘I gotta go’ (I have got to go), ‘I better get going’ (I
have to get going), ‘I gotta go do some work’ (I have to go and do some work)
• Using WAS instead of were when referring to past tense sentences. ‘You was there!’,
‘Course they was’. This is also indicative of British English and most likely derived
from there.
• Increased use of GOTTEN in intransitive constructions (describes verbs and clauses
that do not need an object noun phase) ‘She’s gotten really angry’, ‘He’s gotten the
beer and headin over to Thommos’
Grammatical features of
• The use of DON’T instead of DOESN’T. ‘He don’t
wanna come to the party’
• Double Negation in vernacular speech ‘I never said
nothing to them cops!’. ‘You never said nothing about
• The use of NEVER as a general negator in place of
auxiliary NOT. ‘You never got it?’ ‘You did not
get/receive it?’
Grammatical Features of
When interlocutors pose yes-no questions by using rising
intonation. Ie, ‘It’s a nice day outside, isn’t it? ‘You’re
gunna be home soon, arent ya?’
construction that often ends a sentence with the word BUT.
‘Yeh I know her. Her Im not gunna invite but.’’ It was a
good try but’
Grammatical Features of
• Whilst these are common usages throughout Australian
English, it is important to recognise that variations do
occur and do so in relation to region, ethnicity, social
status. All factors we discussed in our first PP.
• It is also important to not that variation may also occur
due to the derivation of sayings from trends. As the world
gets more Americanised many saying work their way into
our lexicon.
• Grammar is extremely variant within Australia and must
be taken into consideration when assessing Australian
• Check out this funny vid on Aussie accents.

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