Australian English

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Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Proseminar “Accents of English”
SS 2011
Dozentin: Véronique Lacoste

Australian English
02.09.2011

Simon Braun
Matrikelnummer: 2506223
Studiengang: Lehramt an Gymnasien
1. HF: Englisch, 2.HF: Biologie, Erweiterungshauptfach: Spanisch E-Mail: Simon-Braun@hotmail.com
Table of Contents

1| Introduction| 3|
2| Historical overview| 3|
3| Phonetics & Phonology| 5|
3.1| Consonants in AusE| 5|
3.2| Vowels in AusE| 6|
3.3| Suprasegmental features| 7|
3.4| Three Sociolects: Broad, General and Cultivated| 7| 3.5| Regional variation| 10|
3.6| High Rising Terminals in Declarative Statements (AQI)| 11| 4| Analysis| 14|
5| Conclusion| 15|
6| Bibliography| 17|

1 Introduction
As the variety of one of the largest English-speaking countries in the world, Australian English is fascinating in many respects. With its roots in the British penal colonies in the late 18th and early 19th century, it was coined and influenced by a rich diversity of dialects. Until today, Australian English (henceforth referred to as AusE) has developed into a variety of English with unique linguistic characteristics. The aim of this paper is to impart an overview of the peculiarities of AusE and to give the reader an idea of where they might have originated from. To do so, I will shortly review the historical development of Australia and the language of its inhabitants. The second chapter aims to impart a general survey of the phonetic and phonological aspects of Australian English and includes both differences within the sound system and suprasegmental differences. It shall by no means be a complete list of phonetic distinctive features, as this alone would go beyond the scope of this term paper. After an introduction concerning phonetic and phonological aspects of Australian English in general, I will give an outline of social and regional variation and introduce a specific suprasegmental feature of AusE, namely the AQI. In the third chapter, I will analyze utterances by three native speakers of AusE and thereby illustrate the findings of the previous chapters by means of concrete examples.

2 Historical overview
Australian English began to develop after the founding of the colony of New South Wales in 1788. The first generation of the colonists’ children born into the colony of Sydney was exposed to a wide range of dialects from all over Britain. It is widely accepted that dialects of South-East England were the most influential elements, yet another group of significant importance were the Irish, who constituted almost 25 percent of the convict body. The mixing of these dialects was called koiné-broad. Surrounded by many different influential elements of speech, the children of the colonists created a new dialect – proto-Broad was born. It showed a reduced variability compared to koiné-broad (cf. Fritz 2005: 15-29) and was used in order to express group membership and peer solidarity towards the peer group they represented (cf. Macquarie University, 2010a). A very first record which tells of the new dialect is Peter Miller Cunningham’s book “Two Years in New South Wales” in which the distinctive accent and vocabulary of the native born is described as well as the strong influence of Cockney (cf. Cunningham 1827). Another mentionable impact on the new dialect during this period was that the colonists had come into contact with an environment containing flora and fauna which was entirely different from that of their former homelands. As a result, a large number of words was borrowed from Aboriginal languages. When gold was discovered in the middle of the 19th century, a “Gold Rush” started, attracting a vast number of immigrants from both Britain and America. On the level of language, this was reflected in an increase of American features as well as in those features which had developed in Britain only recently. At the same time,...
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