Is Australia about to descend into civil struggle over whether a deep-fried potato snack is rightfully called a “potato cake” or a “potato scallop”? From some latest headlines, you might be forgiven for thinking so.
A collection of maps displaying differences in words used throughout Australia sparked fierce debates online 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 have been put collectively as a part of an academic exercise for college students taking part in the Linguistics Roadshow, the huge curiosity in the best way Australian English is used across the nation took us unexpectedly. But, perhaps it shouldn’t have.
It’s typically said that Australian English doesn’t vary a lot geographically – and it’s true that we don’t discover the identical putting linguistic variations across the country as in some other corners of the English-talking world.
However, previous and ongoing analysis has shown that there are some regional differences. Among the most obvious are the words individuals use for a similar thing, corresponding to swimwear – preferences for “togs”, “swimmers”, “cossie” or “bathers” range markedly across the states and territories.
Words for swimwear around Australia Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping words around Australia'
Where do these linguistic variations stem from?
Australian English developed from the speech of colonists from numerous elements of the British Isles, so sometimes the word used in a selected Australian area is the result of one choice successful out among folks from totally different British backgrounds.
Others may be derived from the names of people or brands, or borrowed from native Indigenous languages.
Each word has its own history, however many phrases across 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 strains up with state lines, which suggests that there is something more than simply the historical selections made by colonists or the gap between different locations contributing to those variations.
Striking examples of this phenomenon could be seen for border cities corresponding to Albury-Wodonga, where a brief walk across the bridge means you’ll hear a majority of individuals using a special word for swimwear.
More ‘bathers’ on the Victorian aspect of the border, extra ‘swimmers’ on the New South Wales aspect. Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping phrases around Australia' Whether you name your swimwear, togs, bathers, swimsuit, budgie smugglers doesn’t matter, the very fact is you must purchase high quality Australian Made chlorine resistant swimwear, if you want your swimwear to be comfortable and final.
This is as a result of sure phrases turn into strongly related to a regional id.
When there's multiple choice to choose from, people would possibly use a particular word as a result of it’s the most typical term in their group, but also because that word indexes a broader group id, similar to Victorian versus New South Wales.
Words are notably good at doing this sort of work: they very easily turn out to be id markers that folks orient to.
Pronunciation variations can also perform in this means: does “dance” rhyme with “aunts” or “pants” for you?
Other sorts of variation can fly under the radar as a result of they’re extra refined, or part of a change in progress.
Many Australians usually are not conscious, for instance, that in elements of Victoria “celery” is pronounced more like “wage” – hear out for it subsequent time you’re in “Malbourne”!
When we communicate we tend to use the phrases, pronunciations and linguistic patterns that we hear most often within the communities we live in.
Identity is a dynamic and ongoing process that we all actively participate in, and we use the variation inherent in language to express who we're at any given moment.
What is Australian English?
Australian English is mostly a broad cowl time period for different types of English used across the nation, including the varieties used by different Indigenous and ethnocultural teams.
This is cross-reduce by the linguistic preferences of individuals representing different age groups, gender identities, and social and cultural backgrounds, with different vocations, interests and networks.
We are part of many communities concurrently and might categorical our belonging in varied ways.
Someone could be an Australian, a Thai descendent, a soccer participant, a girl, a pupil of medicine, and a Tumblr consumer, and be very adept at gauging the totally different spaces they take part in and choosing how they want to identify inside them.
This is a vital a part of what languages do – they permit us to speak not just information, but something about who we are.
‘Sausage sandwiches’ are most popular in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping phrases around Australia'So, subsequent time you end up arguing about sausage sandwiches versus sausages in bread, remember that whichever term you employ, you’re contributing to the dynamic linguistic range of Australia.
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