Australian teenagers commonly complete secondary school without a firm grasp on how to construct a complex sentence, a Senate committee is believed to have found. (The Age, 13 September 2007)
Nothing unites a country more than its common language because from a language comes a history and a culture. (John Howard quoted in Migrants to sit English test, ABC Online, 11 December 2006)
Linguists suggest that some people deliberately choose a low status accent as a way of invoking prestige, although this is less common amongst women than men. The Australian-born children of migrants from Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands are asserting their respective cultural blends each time they open their mouths, leading to dozens of different ethnic dialects such as ‘wogspeak’, that much-parodied blend of Australian and various Mediterranean accents. (From ‘Strine feels the strain with Austrayan twang on the wane’ by Peter Munro, The Age, 27 January 2008)
‘Your use of language sends out lots of little messages, not just about your level of education and where you come from, but about how you would like to be perceived.’ Discuss with reference to at least two subsystems of language.
Despite the more obvious physical differences we share amongst society, it is often our use of language that separates us from each other. Our language can reveal many things about our identity and can disclose such aspects as our nationality, culture, age, gender and even our level of education. Often our nationality can become explicit through our accent but also through our lexical choices in which we choose to use and it may even become evident that English is not our primary language and that that we have actually grew up in another country and have spoken a different language in our past. Our cultural heritage is a defining feature of our identity, contributing to how we see ourselves and how the groups we belong to identify us.
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