Attitudes to Australian English

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Throughout its relatively short history, attitudes to Australian English have often existed between two competing poles. On the one hand, Australians have revelled in their national variety, celebrating its unique accent and slang manifestations of a down-to-earth, relaxed, larrikin culture. But these same features can also lead to revulsion, with Australian English viewed as uneducated, uncouth and unworthy of use in formal settings. As this chapter explores, views on the national variety have oscillated between these two poles at different times in history and also differ markedly depending on whether one is discussing standard Australian English or more vernacular varieties. This chapter argues that there has been a growing acceptance of - and even pride in - the more standard elements of Australian English in the past 50 years, but many speakers maintain a love-hate relationship with more vernacular features; which relates to the “cultural cringe”. While much comment on attitudes to Australian English has focused on use by Anglo-Celtic native speakers, increasing ethnic diversity in Australian society invites us to consider if and how speakers from other backgrounds are viewed and the consequences of population mobility for wider perceptions of the variety.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian English Reimagined
Subtitle of host publicationStructure, Features and Developments
EditorsLouisa Willoughby, Howard Manns
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic) 9780429019692
ISBN (Print) 9780367029395
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in World Englishes

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