Prescription and taboo: Australia’s sensitivity towards American influence

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This chapter views popular perceptions of language (im)purity through the lens of taboo; it is argued that people’s concerns for the well-being of their language, and the activities flowing from these concerns, are the fall-out of tabooing behaviour generally. What shapes the undesirable will change with the changing social life of words, and a clear example is Australia’s response to the perceived threat of American influence in modern times. It is hoped this approach is a step towards a more constructive dialogue between linguists and the wider community — a dialogue that for too long has been stymied by the oversimplified prescription–description binary.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Prescriptivism
EditorsJoan C. Beal, Morana Lukač, Robin Straaijer
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781003095125
ISBN (Print)9780367557843, 9780367557867
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Linguistics


  • Australian English
  • Prescription
  • Taboo
  • American English
  • Americanisms

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