Talk:Australian English

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Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

Sciences humaines.svg This article is or was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Descumbie. Peer reviewers: Jeremyr55.

Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 15:01, 16 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I made a few changes to the History section. It placed too much importance on convict origins, vaguely suggesting that almost the entire Australian immigrant population was convicts, and making no reference to the other settlers who came along with the convicts.

I also think there is too much emphasis placed on "Cockney" origins. In terms of vocabulary there is very little in the way of genuine Cockneyisms in Australian English, in terms of pronunciation AuE uses intervocalic /d/ where Cockney uses a glottal stop, AuE does not drop initial /h/, no changing of /θ/ to /f/ (maths = mafs), or [ð] for /v/ (bother = bovver), the list goes on.

Finally, I also removed the sentence "Since that time, Australian English, has borrowed increasingly from external sources." The word "borrowed" seems to be referring only to vocabulary, rather than general influences that the previous paragraphs were attempting to cover. (Also, it ignores the fact that in terms of vocabulary AuE not only borrows from other Englishes (mostly North American), but also creates its own neologisms.) If this sentence was changed to "Since that time, Australian English, has been increasingly influenced from external sources" - well, that wouldn't be right either. Like all other Englishes, external influences are only of minor significance once the variety has a life of its own within its own culture.WikiLambo 20:40, 5 November 2006 (UTC)James LambertReply[reply]

I suspect that 19th century Broad AE speakers were a lot more like Cockney. Possibly the best example of this is C. J. Dennis's The Sentimental Bloke (1915), in which Dennis features phonetic representations of working class Melbourne dialogue, e.g.
This ev'nin' I was sittin' wiv Doreen,
Peaceful an' 'appy wiv the day's work done,
Watchin', be'ind the orchard's bonzer green,
The flamin' wonder of the settin' sun.
Even the /h/ in "behind" is dropped. Dennis was born and bred in Auburn, South Australia.
Grant | Talk 07:52, 18 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It might be appropriate to include a reference to the increasing influence which Australian English has had on UK usage in recent years. For example, I'm hearing "no worries" more often, usually substituting for "don't mention it" or "no problem". It would be interesting to speculate about the drivers for this - Australian media influences in the UK are strong, from Rupert Murdoch through Neighbours to Kath & Kim; and Australianisms may be seen as less culturally threatening than Americanisms. I suspect there may be some academic evidence worth considering before making an edit, however. Artq55 21:10, 28 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On that note, there has been a fierce debate at Talk:Football (word) about whether or not Australian usage has influenced UK rugby league fans, in referring to the game as "football". My feeling is that at least some English RL gans have always called it "football", but it's hard to prove one way or the other. (talk) 07:48, 31 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Survey of English Dialects recording; farmworker from Little Baddow, Essex (near Chelmsford) born in 1884. To my ears (UK speaker born 1979) he sounds almost pure Australian. I wonder how he sounds to native Australian English speakers? Walshie79 (talk) 03:41, 31 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An interesting find. I can see why you think it sounds Australian. To me, an Aussie of mature years, it sounds like an accent used by Australian country folk much older than me when I was a kid. Some bits don't really sound Australian. Near the start, "size" to me sounds like "soyz". HiLo48 (talk) 04:06, 31 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


To Jimp: May I suggest the removal of the Microsoft reference in this section
I feel the statement "especially Microsoft's spellchecker" may be unfounded. From my usage of the spell checker it provides the words commonly used in Australia. If the statement is founded it should also be noted that Microsoft has only had dominance for approximately 15 years. What about the other word processors such as WordPerfect and Multimate.
Could Jimp please explain the basis for the statement. (I tried to raise this thought with Jimp directly but currently my knowledge of using Wikipedia is not sufficient.) Audictionary 21:36, 30 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Only 15 years ... but a significant 15 years when it comes to word processors. Compare pre-1990s the use of word processors to the use since.
Anyhow ... Wikipedia policy is to only have included that which is varifiable. Therefore if the statement about Microsoft's spellchecker is unfounded then it should be removed. I don't know that I can adequately explain the basis for the statement ... but I'm not the one who made it.
I would note, however, that, as far as I'm aware, Word's default is US English even when the software was bought in Australia. Of course, the settings can be changed but will everyone be bothered or even know how? These are just my speculations though and nor do speculations have any place in articles.
One way of getting in contact with another user is to go to their user page. Usually you can get there by clicking on the person's name. My user page is User:Jimp. Leave a message on the person's talk page. Mine's User talk:Jimp.
Also it's usual to add new sections to the end of a talk page under an appropriate title ... otherwise your comment might be overlooked for several months (sorry about that). You can make the title by putting text between two pairs of equals signs (or more or fewer depending on the level of title you want). The easy way to add a new section, though, is to click on the plus sign between Edit this page and History at the top of the page. Jimp 08:15, 15 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This particular problem is not Word's default. It is the Windows operating system Regional settings that need to be set correctly. If set correctly Word's default for Australia will be the Australian English dictionary.
Is it Microsoft's fault the computer suppliers do not set the computers up correctly?
It doesn't hurt to speculate. There is always someone somewhere, who may be able to clarify.
I too think Microsoft could have done a better job. The user interface repeatedly displays American spelling. But can I blame them for American spelt words having used MS software for a few decades. I still can't find a concrete example where I can. Sorry.Audictionary 11:42, 15 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Australian English spell check files[edit]


I would like to suggest a link to JustLocal ( be added to the external links section.

This article is an example of why the work I do is important.

To quote from the "Spelling" section of the article, "In academia, as long as the spelling is consistent, the usage of various English variants is generally accepted."

Has anyone noticed "Americanism" and "Americanizm" both used in the article.

To my knowledge only the dictionary files I produce for Australian users in the form of the "kelvin" version of the files, and the Microsoft Exclude file, helps Australian's avoid this very common issue.

The Australian English dictionary spell check files can be accessed via the links at the bottom of the JustLocal page for, Firefox/Thunderbird, Microsoft Word.

The files now provide writers with invaluable tools to not only spell check when using Desktop programs, but also when using browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox 2 and Opera.

I hope my work is of assistance to others.

Regards - Kelvin Eldridge Audictionary 21:21, 30 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is an interesting development in the Microsoft Office 2007 package regarding the Australian English spell check. Previously, setting the language of a word to Aust. English only applied to that letter or word. The next letter reverts to the previous setting unless specifically selected. All templates needed to be set to Aust.English or else the US English default would take precedence. The other issue was that "-izm" and other US English words were not flagged for correction even under Australian English default setting. The current version addresses these two issues. Regards - Mark Vincent Andmark 06:28, 31 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Yeah - No"[edit]

Does anyone have sources on the use of this new Australianism - I hear it alllllll the time. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Just nigel (talkcontribs) 11:20, 21 November 2006.

The Macquarie dictionary. No Australianism, just the words used by more Australians.
Thank you for the comment - Kelvin. Audictionary 21:20, 30 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To Just nigel: I don't notice hearing "Yeah - no" very much in person. I notice on television that Jim Richards says it, but he's a New Zealander who just lives in Australia. Not sure if that proves it's local to only some regions. --Scott Davis Talk 11:48, 26 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have heard many AFL coaches and players use the 'yeah-nah' utterance. I suspect it might be used as a "may be, may be not" phrase. It infuriates me nonetheless.Proberton (talk) 16:19, 7 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It depends where you come from. It is exceptionally popular in Queensland, and it is infiltrating W.A. and S.A., and not having been much to Vic, can't say. It is definitely around. I'm not sure if it's a kiwi thing in its entirety, but I do hear kiwis saying it a fair bit over here in W.A.. And it spreads easily. Yeah, nah. is probably more the correct pronunciation in my opinion.Rolinator 23:31, 26 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have heard it being said by country Queenslanders, but I've never heard it in Sydney (don't know about western sydney).Volantares 16:05, 2 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I hear it a fair bit in WA and strangely have even caught myself on using it unintentionally. The usage is less confusing than it looks when verbalised, as the "no" is attached to the next sentence while the "yeah" is a distinctly separate filler word. Orderinchaos 23:03, 6 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I HATE "yeahhhh no"!!

I'm sure I used it a lot as a kid (western Syndey) and still on occassion. I interpret it to mean "Yeah- I heard what you said and understand, but no- I disagree."--DrHacky 15:02, 9 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unique to Australia? I have heard "yeah - no" in US tv series such as 24 (TV series). Format 05:18, 12 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is used usually at the start of your answer of a question asked by someone, and I agree with DrHack's explanation. Noteably, it can often be heard by AFL players when they are interviewed after a game. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:29, 21 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I hear this very commonly in Melbourne, usually meaning no. The yeah is comparable to an ummm. Davo499 (talk) 03:16, 13 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

People do this in the United States all the time. My brother does. I don't do it because I think it's annoying and pointless as hell. Thegryseone (talk) 04:35, 13 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Yeah-nah" can be used in a variety of situations, all of them very low-brow. It is akin to the Scottish "Ach", whereby it can mean one the following, depending on the situation:

- I agree or disagree, but qualified to some extent;
- I agree or disagree, but not because of the same reasons;
- I agree or disagree, but I do not care as to the result;
- I neither agree nor disagree;
- I do not care enough about the subject to give an opinion;

I have found it to be most prevalent in Queensland and Northern New South Wales, however, there is some occurrence within Melbourne, but virtually unknown outside of the Metropolitan area. It is sometimes used as a perceived stereotype of male footballers; a stereotype whose aim is to belittle the intelligence or education of such people.

As with most colloquial sayings, it is difficult to provide hard evidence that will satisfy some of the Wikipedia requirements for inclusion. In any case, it is an undesirable trait within the language; a trait that I can see Australians parodied as in the UK in the near future. The Red Threat (talk) 16:56, 9 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The meaning of "Waltzing Matilda"[edit]

I thought that "Waltzing Matilda" could mean "go travelling" or "hang", and in several lines of the song it was referring to hanging (the sentence for stealing sheep), which is why the song is sung with a sad air. Sad mouse 15:45, 6 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As with most folk songs, the meanings are either unknown, or distorted from the original as they are passed down. A common meaning, which I am not going to provide links to (but could be found with little effort), is that Matilda was a common name in Germany at the time when many Central Europeans were migrating to Australia, and as a result of being lonely in the bush, many swagmen (being German or not) would name their swag "Matilda" and dance around the fire in the absence of a female partner.

I am not going to provide examples, because for every one that I do, someone else will provide something to the contrary. Such is the case with folk stories and their origins. The Red Threat (talk) 17:01, 9 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

/aː/ and /æ/[edit]

I don't think it is fair to say /aː/ is preferred in New South Wales, where in my experience (and that of at others I know, including linguists) there is quite a clear distinction between different words. I am a bit sceptical about the Crystal 1995 figures for Sydney, but even the Crystal figures show that the th eplace where /aː/ is most preferred is Adelaide. Would anyone object to changing "New South Wales" to "South Australia"? JPD (talk) 17:14, 6 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Received Pronunciation style Chahnce, plahnt et al. is famously associated with South Australia and Adelaide rather than New South Wales. While I suspect there are some cultivated speakers in most regions that favour this pronunciation, Adeliade is the place where it is the norm. Asa01 01:38, 10 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I totally agree with the two editors above. i have lived in Sydney all my life and have always prounounced such words as chance, advance and branch with the æ sound. There is, however, a difference between the New South Wales and Victorian pronunciation of "castle". Hence the contrasting vowels used for Newcastle in New South Wales and Castlemaine in Victoria.Michael Glass 07:58, 11 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is definitely the case. And Tasmania has been shown to have the greatest use of /æ/. The Victorian "a" and "e" merger is a slightly different issue and is also well-known. Grant | Talk 08:46, 11 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Having lived in WA almost all my life, hearing "chaance", "daance" or "traansport" (almost always from Adelaideans) sounds almost jarring. I think it's a North vs South England thing personally. Orderinchaos 23:11, 6 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not a linguist, but in my experience you could cut regional accents into NSW+WA, SA, VIC, and QLD.. with TAS is a cross between VIC and NSW. But that's just my personal experience. No real discussion of QLD, but I've heard many QLDers, both from Brisbane and country areas, say orf for off, and many other idiosyncracies that do not exist anywhere else, but are otherwise similar to NSW. I concur with the conclusion that "received pronounciation" is far far more common in Adelaide. It would be interesting to see whether we can relate accents with colony history; i.e. Perth+Sydney+Hobart were older penal colonies, Brisbane was a latter penal colony, Adelaide was absolutely free settler only, and Melbourne was also effectively free-settler with a more significant lower class.. I'd have to check that). But that's original research ;). What do people think about colony background + accent though? 02:26, 2 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perth wasn't actually an "old penal colony" by the way - founded in 1829 by free settlers, the convicts actually started arriving here in 1850 after they'd stopped going everywhere else, and the numbers were far less. Most ended up in Victoria after time served as that was where the money was at that time, until the 1890s gold rush WA was a pretty dismal place to be. BTW by the time of federation the population on the goldfields almost equalled that of Perth, although it dissipated later - a lot into agricultural areas which sprung up from about 1898 onwards. Orderinchaos 23:11, 6 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There aren't really enough consistent differences to talk about regional accents. There is some evidence for diffrences if we look at the history of settlement, Victoria was heavily settled by Tasmanians and NSW people, especially during the goldrushes of the 1850s. (Thereafter Victoria developed its own strong identity, based on its big population.) Compared to Victoria, WA had less immigration from other colonies/states and more direct immigration from the UK and Ireland, and not much of that until the importation of convicts in 1850-68. I'm not sure about Queensland, but the same is probably true there, possibly to a lesser extent, considering the common border with NSW. SA, as we know, never had its own convicts and also had heavy free immigration from the UK, which may explain the stronger similarities to received pronounciation. But this is all original research and we need good sources to back it up. Grant | Talk 03:40, 2 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think some Queenslanders have a unique accent, far more significant that WA's. You are probably right in regards to VIC = NSW + TAS, I had always seen tasmania as having a stronger accent similar to victoria's. I think it would be an interesting idea to discuss if there ever WAS research/analysis on it.Volantares 16:15, 2 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WA does not have a significant accent, but the way in which it is colloquially spoken does differ. i.e. a lazy NSW speaker and a lazy WA speaker sound very different, but the same people when speaking to be understood sound similarish. The similarity is strongest with areas outside Sydney, as I do pick a slightly 1960s accent in Sydney itself (get a Sydneysider to pronounce "Strathfield" or "Ashfield" and you'll see it right there.) Some speech patterns in Perth and southwestern WA definitely reflect some Southern European influence in word ordering, and the use of the Scots "eh?" (normally associated with Canada) is common as dirt here whereas it doesn't appear to be so in many other places. Rural WA people also have very different tones and accent to rural people in other states, and my friends from Mukinbudin, Merredin and Manjimup all sound about the same. Orderinchaos 23:11, 6 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why is this here?[edit]

I feel that this paragraph should not be in this article:

An important aspect of Australian English usage, inherited in large part from Britain and Ireland, is the use of deadpan humour, in which a person will make extravagant, outrageous and/or ridiculous statements in a neutral tone, and without explicitly indicating they are joking. Tourists seen to be gullible and/or lacking a sense of humour may be subjected to tales of kangaroos hopping across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, "drop bears" and similar tall tales.

It has nothing to do with linguistics, the use of words, terminology or accent, which is what this article is about. Trying to shoehorn it into this article by claiming it is an "important aspect of Australian English usage" seems pretty dodgy. In any event, the para itself then says the same thing also happens in Britain in Ireland (though I suspect that this sort of thing occurs in many nations to varying extents.) Asa01 07:36, 9 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I put back part of the para you deleted ie An important aspect of Australian English usage, inherited in large part from Britain and Ireland, is the use of deadpan humour, in which a person will make extravagant, outrageous and/or ridiculous statements in a neutral tone, and without explicitly indicating they are joking. which seems to me to be entirely relevant to the section. Albatross2147 12:15, 4 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK then. I didn't think it was really a language issue myself, more cultural. I was going to move the whole thing to the deadpan humour article but on reading that I felt such a move would just add redundancy to it. Asa01 19:42, 4 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Is "youse" as the plural second person really an Irish influence? I hear it most from 2nd-3rd generation Australians of Italian and Greek descent. Any ideas how to find an appropriate reference? --Scott Davis Talk 04:46, 23 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

i'd say yes mostly they don't youse, per se, they say yas rather than youse, more anglo saxon people would use it rather than italians and greeks... well at least in melbourne haha...Australian Jezza 14:22, 15 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How common is the word youse? I use it all the time, although at the moment i'm not living in australia, so I find myself writing it quite often. Also about how it would be spelt; i initially spelt it as you'se just because it didn't look as strange in context (maybe as a contraction of 'you guys' or something like that) but now tend to spell it as youse. Also, does it appear in any dictionaries, australian or otherwise? 03:24, 22 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Considering that you guys is a relatively recent American import and that yous (I'm just spelling it as if it were a regular plural of some singular you, I'm not actually fussed how it's spelt since I never use yous) has been around for some time, the latter would not be a contraction of the former. Jɪmp 17:15, 24 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As a former highschool English teacher in Victoria, I can tell you that 'yous' ( and its usage makes my teeth ache) and its prevalence is largely due to the lack of enthusiasm of teachers in stamping out the practice.Proberton (talk) 16:25, 7 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Victor Harbor[edit]

The Victor Harbour station has historically been spelt with the U in harbour. Harbour with out the U is the official current spelling according to the SA government. The spelling with the U reflects official SA Railways policy of using 'correct' spelling. I have an ammonia transfer plan of the station dating from the 1950's. This is spelt with the U. I also have plans of the railway yards etc from the 1920's and earlier also spelt with the U. Personal photographs of the station from the early 80's alos show the U in the name. If you drive around Victor Harbor you will find many older buildings with the U in the name. It seems the dropping of the U is a more modern phenomenon. The article wrongly suggests the addition of the U back into harbour is a modern idea, this is wrong. Ozdaren 11:21, 15 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I suppose that the mapmaker referred to in the council snippet thought the place was pretty non-U Albatross2147 08:47, 16 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Haha, that's quite amusing. I'd never heard of that before. I'm mostly non-U. Ozdaren 12:47, 16 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
well most australians i know would use the U form anyway alos i am aussie too... so it doesn't matter lol —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Australian Jezza (talkcontribs) 14:24, 15 April 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]
I have to say I find the whole "Australians often don't use the U" bit quite unlikely. I never knew anyone who spelled words like "Color, Humor, Harbor" etc. 34 years in Australia and the only place I have ever seen such a thing is in the Australian Labor Party's name 15:52, 26 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have seen it in a local newspaper but it always seemed very out of place to me. Jimp 00:22, 27 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Print media has propensity for it, I would suggest. I once read a letter to a magazine questioning the practice, the magazine claimed it was a "style"

ALP was named by an American, King O'Malley with a zeal for spelling reform. A lot of American things have been adopted by media which are actually not consistent with Australian style and usage (eg the use of American dates). As for Victor Harbor and Outer Harbor, they are not examples of Australian English as they were actually named by Americans in the early days of the colony. Orderinchaos 23:01, 6 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have quite a bit of research in government records from the late 1860s and I can tell you that some very well-educated British people used spellings like "labor" and "harbor" at that time. The idea that these spellings are "American" is a myth. Grant | Talk 01:15, 12 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hey fellas, did somebody accidentally move the Victor Harbo(u)r discussion into the References section? Im pretty sure it doesnt belong there. Strewth. --Andmark 16:17, 9 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've come in very late on this, but the Harbor/Harbour thing in South Australia sheds some light on the way the spelling of Australian English was still in flux as recently as the late nineteenth-early twentieth centuries. South Australia had a Harbors Board, later the Department of Marine and Harbors - you can still read the name on their former offices in Victoria Square. Every other Australian colony spelled the equivalent department with a u. I don't know why. As a result there are several ports in SA with names like Victor Harbor, Franklin Harbor, Outer Harbor. That is the only context in which the spelling occurs - the name of the gazetted port, which then became written on maps as the name of the town alongside. However, South Australian Railways rejected this spelling, and as a result to this day we have the town and Post Office of Victor Harbor (which is no longer a port) but the Victor Harbour railway station. I don't know whether the spelling of Australian Labor Party has anything to do with King O'Malley. I think in 1910 people were still free to choose the spelling they preferred, and the shorter version was seen as more progressive. Something like most Australians shortening the Anglo-French programme to program. Peter Bell (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 07:59, 25 July 2009 (UTC).Reply[reply]


I have a serious concern over this statement "In academia, as long as the spelling is consistent, the usage of various English variants is generally accepted".

As a Tertiary Lecturer at NMIT and representative Lecturer for LaTrobe University in China for 15 years, I would classify myself as an academic. My peers and I are in agreement that spelling is an indicator of the quality of foundation study that the student displays in their written submissions. At no time are reports accepted in any form other than Australian English. It is a requirement for submission and exists as a student advisory in their campus diary.

Would it be appropriate to remove the statement or amend it to reflect the trend away from Americanisation by academia?

Mark Vincent Andmark 01:55, 10 May 2007 (UTC) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Andmark (talkcontribs) 01:54, 10 May 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

And yet at the university where I am currently studying my masters, Harvard style is encouraged more than Oxford... How are we trending AWAY from American influence?? Proberton (talk) 16:28, 7 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dubious unsourced claims are always fair game for deletion. According to Wikipedia policy,

"The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is whether material is attributable to a reliable published source, not whether we think it is true. ...

"Editors should provide attribution for quotations and for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, or it may be removed. The burden of evidence lies with the editor wishing to add or retain the material."

Go ahead I say. Jimp 02:53, 10 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Change completed 31/5/2007. Thank you for the comments Jimp. - Mark Vincent Andmark 07:44, 31 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Variation in pronunciation[edit]

There is an unusual variation in the way that Australians pronounce the word kilometre. Sports commentators and travel program reporters have adopted the awkward pronounciation with the stress on the second syllable (ki-LOM-etre) -, whilst the more articulate as well as the scientific community have adopted the the pronunciation (kill- O -metre) (consistent with SI units kilogram and kilowatt). Does this warrant inclusion in the main text ? Discussion invited

Cheers - Mark Vincent - Andmark 07:41, 31 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"the more articulate"? The only people I've heard using "kill-oh-metre" are working class or foreign. Orderinchaos 22:56, 6 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This issue is discussed in the article Kilometre. The original pronunciation is kill- O -metre; the ki-LOM-etre pronunciation apparently developed amongst some English speakers after the term was transplanted into English-speaking countries. Kilometre is not an English word, so evaluations of how "foreign" people say it seem pretty pointless. "The only people I've heard "-type evaluations are original research and are of no consequence to WP. Likewise evaluations of who is "articulate", and who isn't, seem very POV. Format 19:21, 7 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So then it is agreed that there is in fact a difference in the pronunciation amongst Australian English speakers. Since its introduction into Australia in the early 1970's and national changes to the road speed limits, the metric system and with it the word kilometre have become English words since at least that time, just as so many other words in the English language have been adopted from various sources. The fact that it exists currently as an Australian English word in common use with spoken variation is significant, not pointless. The fact that it represents a frequently used unit of the nation's system of measurement makes it even more significant. Andmark 00:01, 12 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What I described as "pointless", was the evaluation made by Orderinchaos of how "foreign" people pronounce the word. I never said the discussion itself was pointless, and in fact largely was agreeing with you. However the Kilometre article seems to imply that the kil-o-metre pronunciation is neither restricted to, nor unique to Australia. If you want to add something in to the article to say that it is unique to Australia, you'll need to quote a credible external reference that clearly and explicitly corroborates that fact. Format 22:00, 12 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good point. I concede that it would not be easy to identify this variation as a distinctly Australian phenomenon, and perhaps more difficult to find a credible external etymological article to that effect. The casual search (with suitably dampened interest) begins. Thank you for the healthy debate nonetheless. Cheers Mark Vincent Andmark 12:18, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Australian English?[edit]

I hate to be a wet blanket, but most of this article is complete tosh. There is no such thing as "Australian English." Most Australians speak standard English, identical to that spoken in London, apart from varying degrees of accent, a few minor variations in pronunciation and a small amount of local vocabulary (not nearly as much as Australians like to pretend, and much of it now falling out of use). Even these minor differences are now declining under the influence of global media. Indeed "Australian English" is much closer to standard English than are some of the varieties spoken in the UK, such as in Yorkshire, Tyneside or Liverpool. Intelligent Mr Toad 07:35, 20 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The fact that the accent is closer to standard English (whatever that is — RP? Cockney? Estuary English? East Midlandsese?) than other regional/class varieties in the UK is irrelevant; there are significant differences in vocabulary between the UK and Australia, and even significant differences in vocab from one region to another within Australia (try the Australian Word Map).
Perhaps you should contact Oxford University Press Australia and the Australian National University, who have collaborated on the Oxford Dictionary of Australian English since 1976, not to mention the publishers of the Macquarie Dictionary (first published 1981), the standard reference for the Australian Public Service. (A British person would call that the "civil service". That's one example of a difference with British English. "Public servant" originated as a euphemism for convicts. True story.) They all seem to be unaware that they they are producing fiction.
Don't worry, many born and bred Australians are just as unaware of the unique nature of our form of English. Thanks for stopping by. Grant | Talk 17:35, 20 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All dialects in continual state of flux. Though the accent used by the actors in BBC sitcoms of the 1970s might not be too different to the Received Pronunciation of many Australian newreaders today, a listen to a sample of contemporary UK speakers reveals a large range in accents and slang ("I was just sat there waiting", "You div", "Dodgy barnet", "She's fit!"), much of which is very different to what is heard in Australia. Format 21:15, 20 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. The usual definition of standard English is "English as spoken by an educated person in the Home Counties of England" - that is, spoken in that form, though not necessarily with that accent.
  2. Most Australians speak a form of English identical or nearly identical to that form.
  3. The fact that there is an industry devoted to the promotion of "Australian English" doesn't prove that such a thing exists.
  4. The range of slang used in the UK is not relevant.
  5. I am Australian. I am as fond of Australian speech as anyone, but to argue that it constitutes a distinct dialect of English is just false. Intelligent Mr Toad 22:54, 20 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've taken the liberty of numbering Mr Toad's points for ease of reference.
  1. I dispute that this is the "usual definition of standard English"—moreover I dispute the existance of any such thing.
  2. This is simply false. Australian English differs markedly from English as spoken by an educated person in the Home Counties of England.
  3. Nope; you're right there Mr Toad; no, it doesn't. However, there are reliable sources which do.
  4. The range of slang used in the UK is very relevant if you're arguing that there is no such thing as an Australian English distinct from your "standard English" ... unless you want to claim that educated people in the Home Counties of England don't use slang.
  5. You're Australian ... so am I. Now we're getting to that which is irrelevant.
Anyway, Toad, if this is what you reckon, why don't you put the article up for deletion? ... That should be fun. Jɪmp 03:35, 21 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. What Jim said. You can even hear a multitude of dialects among BBC announcers these days. English English is the Tower of Babel compared to Australian English, which is remarkably uniform, considering the land mass it covers
  2. It's a well-known phenomenon that a child has some qualities which are unlike either parent and AusE has several "parents" among the British dialects, which makes its even more prone to "genetic drift". You might as well say that American English is merely an offshoot of 17th Century East Anglian and West Country dialects, which is pretty much how it started.
  3. Let me get this straight — OUP, ANU, Macquarie University and Uni of Sydney (which is where the Macq Dic now lives) are part of an evil conspiracy to concoct a fictitious variety of English, for the purposes of rorting Dictionary buyers of their hard-earned. What a dag I've been! the garbo's getting my copy of the Macquarie tomorrow.
  4. Not true. The slang used in both countries in highly relevant. Today's slang is tomorrow's standard English, by which I mean the standard form that is used in a particular region of the world and/or by a particular social class in a particular country. If an Australian Prime Minister used the terms smoko, furphy or grog, I think at least 75% of Australians would know exactly what he meant. I doubt that 0.75% of English people would.
  5. How can you be "fond of Australian speech", when you maintain it does not exist? Language is in the dynamics of writing and speech, not in some set of unchanging rules that refer to some set of ideals which has never had any material existence and never will. Grant | Talk 13:06, 21 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You're quite the apologist there my friend... kudos for your treatise in the defence of our tongue!! Proberton (talk) 16:33, 7 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why does this article have so much on Unparliamentary language/bold phrases used in parliament. It is not like this sort of thing is unique to Australia. And shouldn't the article be about the everyday language used by normal people. Why so much time focusing on a small and exclusive part of society where all sorts of unusual jargon and etiquette is observed? It is not really relevant to Australia as a whole. Format 20:10, 21 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Australian Parliament does gain a lot of media attention, both local and international. Their creative use of words (Paul Keating is a good example) has often been the subject of headlines and their use of the world media has often become the public face of Australia here and overseas for good and bad reasons. Phrases, terms and vocabulary that they use and even invent will occasionally filter through to Australian society and into common use - hence the relevance to Australia on the whole I guess. Whether this justifies the amount of coverage that is presented here, that is a tough call. Cheers Mark Vincent - Andmark 12:51, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your argument makes sense. Problem with the article is that all this is used to try and coroborate the articles claims that "For instance, spoken Australian English is generally more tolerant of offensive and/or abusive language than other variants [citation needed]. Many politicians are exponents of this style in Parliament. ..." I do not dispute that the section of Unparliamentary language exists, but to claim that it is connected with abusive language in general usage across Australia, by Australian is seriously dodgy. Format 11:18, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Victorians and "castle"[edit]

In NSW, "castle" and derivatives are pronounced with the /aː/ whereas in Victoria, the word is commonly pronounced with the /æ/.

Was this written by someone from Sydney? I have rarely heard /æ/ used for "castle" in Victoria, and I live there. We are not all bogans. By the way, I see there is no reference, probably indicating the author made it up. RedRabbit1983 15:05, 26 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know about "castle" as such, but isn't it the case that Castlemaine (which I will be visiting next week, as it happens) is usually pronounced "Cæsselmain"? I have definitely heard Victorians refer to "Næw-cassel", which isn't the way that Novocastrians say it. Grant | Talk 06:32, 29 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Cæssel" is said in Victoria, but not all Victorians say this. Those in the Castlemaine region apparently do, affecting the name of that town. In Melbourne the long-A "castle" pronunciation is very common. Like Albany in WA, the vowell sound used in one place name can not necesarily be extrapolated to apply all and every pronunciation of similar phenomes spoken in that state. Accent and pronunciation does not necesarily concur to state boundaries. Format 22:36, 29 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Further to Format's point, the lack of consistency in the pronunciation would be enough to render the generalisation untrue. The lack of a credible external source for the information would also cast doubt on its accuracy. Change it if you want RedRabbit1983. Cheers Mark Vincent - Andmark 12:33, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Grant, my sister lives there, and neither she nor her friends and acquitances pronounce Castlemaine with a /æ/. I have been to Castlemaine many times, and not once have I heard it pronounced as stated in the article. Even among the working class, people living in the south-eastern and inner-city suburbs of Melbourne pronounce "castle" with a long "a". I therefore have good reason to doubt the accuracy of the statement. RedRabbit1983 08:50, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just adding that I do not think I've ever actually heard anyone from Castlemaine say "Cæsselmain"? Another myth? In any event, it would need a credible external reference before making its way into the article. Format 09:25, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In my experience, the 'cassel' pronunciation is usually from people with an Irish/Northern UK (Scouse, Mancs, Scots) background, or from people from a place with a significant Irish/NUK influence. For eg/ growing up in Canberra only my Queenslander rellies said 'cassel' but they were originally from the Mornington Peninsula; yet an acquaintance from rural Queensland (near Warwick) thought only people from NSW said cassel. The only common element we could identify was an Irish history (and the Irish/NUK pronunciation is generally cassel). Natgoo 20:09, 6 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that people are forgetting that there are no documented regional accents as such, and we are talking about preferences and tendencies in pronunciation among speakers of General/Broad Australian in some areas, not hard and fast rules like "people in Victoria use x sound when pronouncing z".

Format, based on my visit there last week, I have to disagree about Castlemaine. My host said: "if you say "C/aː/sel-main, that's how they pick you as a blow-in". And while there are exceptions to every rule — possibly Victorian speakers of Cultivated Australian — when I was catching the train there, the announcer said "Cæsselmain". The ticket puncher said "Cæsselmain". Two fellow passengers, one from Bendigo and one from Kerang, said "Cæsselmain". People in the town said "Cæsselmain".

While the pronunciation of some words, using /æ/ is noticeable in Victoria, the strong preference for /æ/ in Tasmania is well-known; see Australian_English_phonology#Variation_between_.2Fa.CB.90.2F_and_.2F.C3.A6.2F (source: D. Crystal, 1995, Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, Cambridge University Press).

Further to this, my real name is Grant and one South Australian speaker of General Australian English actually said to me: "we say "gr/aː/nt in SA". This is also documented by Crystal.

At the same time, it isn't possible to generalise about the other states/territories.

I have adjusted the text to reflect Crystal's findings. Grant | Talk 07:31, 8 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oh dear. All I said was I do not think I've ever actually heard anyone from Castlemaine say "Cæsselmain"? Which means, "I've never spoken to anyone there in depth, and can't recall if/how they said the name of the town". You seem to assume I am claiming that I have heard people from there say the name of the town, and they said it different from how the article says. But I never claimed that. Format 07:37, 8 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"Because of a backlash to the perceived "Americanisation" of Australian English, there is now a trend to reinsert the "u" in words such as harbour."

I'm sorry but what trend? I was ALWAYS taught to use the letter "u" in words such as "colour" or "harbour", as were my parents and my grandparents. If there was a trend to reinsert the letter "u" into words, surely it was many years ago, shortly after the apparent "Americanisation" of Australian English.

I think the line should be deleted or should read "Because of a backlash to the perceived "Americanisation" of Australian English, there was a trend to reinsert the "u" in words such as harbour." JWPJ 15:33, 26 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If there even was a trend at all. There is no documented evidence of such a trend, and grammatical and spelling using Australian English has always been preferred in formal contexts. Any variation toward American spelling would be more out of a relaxing of the Australian English standards than a trend. Either way, current focus on Education [1] and literacy in schools initiatives have had the effect of tightening those standards. Go ahead and change it, I say. Cheers - Mark Vincent Andmark 00:03, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Article states: Nonetheless, even with technical borrowings, Australian retain a distinctive lexicon: for example, they use TV alongside telly as a shortening for television, SMS alongside text for text messaging, mobile or mobile phone instead of cell or cellphone for a mobile telephone, and lift instead of elevator. In many cases — as in telly versus TV and SMS versus text, freeway and motorway — regional, social and ethnic variation within Australia itself is an important factor in word usage.

However, how distinctive is this? Words like "lift", "telly" are from the UK. They are not distinctive Australian words. And even in the UK, both "telly" and "TV" are spoken of alongside each other. People in the UK and many other nations say "mobile" for "mobile phone" don't they. I didn't think "mobile" was "distinctive" or "Australian"?? I think the main thrust of this can stay, but maybe moved up to where article speaks of terms like "truck"? Format 20:53, 28 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with Format ('Formie'?) on this one, "bonnet" "boot" "lift" "telly" "TV" and "mobile" are not distinctly Australian. Nor is the ease with which we add "-ie" to make a nickname. Strewth, change it I say. Cheers Mark "Vinnie" Vincent - Andmark 13:08, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank . Changed. I particularly question the claim about SMS and the popular term for them in US as opposed to UK and Aust; apparently texting is not even popular or widespread in the US. (Lay odds with your bookie) Format 00:12, 1 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
'Strewth' - this is not Australian either, from what I've heard. Strewth='struth=God's truth (a mild oath originating from England)
Given the above discussions, I wonder just how accurate this article is. RedRabbit1983 08:55, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have heard "strewth" in at least two UK films: documentary Dont Look Back (1966) where a journalist says it, and in fiction film A Canterbury Tale (1944). No, it wasn't said by an Australian either time! Format 11:13, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think Australian English is unique for the specific combination of lexical borrowings (I think other newish colonial lexicons would have similar 'unique combinations', Canadian or Indian English, for eg), more than for the uniqueness of the words themselves. The truck drove into the lift, but I was watching the program 'Neighbours' whilst wearing my sneakers. Some words are British English, some US, all Australian. Natgoo 20:35, 6 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about The truck drove into the lift, I didnt see it but. Andmark 02:16, 7 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd have to say that runners is far more common than sneaker, when talking about running shoes, or casual shoes in general. This may just be in Victoria though —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:19, 9 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've seen "'S'Truth" in 'Summer of the Seventeenth Doll' (written around the late 40's/early 50's), but never "strewth". Should the spelling be changed? Hell, everything from the unref tag down is unreferenced, (there's 2 other sections after that, both lacking sources, but without the tag - not sure if they technically fall under the same section) although generally true. Random Incarnate (talk) 07:44, 3 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No Mention of an American style twang in some East-coast city (maybe beach) suburbs.[edit]

There seems to be an increasing American-style "softer" Aussie accent. There's no mention of this in the article... All I have to say is: "like", "what's up with that"? What's the deal? Like, I have so many like good buddies from like the beach and stuff, and they are sooo into like surfing. It's sooo cool!

That's an exaggeration, but there does seem to be an American influence, a softer accent people are using that doesn't sound like Steve Irwin, Geoffrey Rush or Nicole Kidman.

You could be right but you'll need sources & a precise discription of what's going on (soft really doesn't mean anything—no offence intended, it just doesn't). Jɪmp 01:37, 4 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe you are referring to Valspeak. It's so totally cool! RedRabbit1983 14:44, 5 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Can someone rewrite this - it is an eyesore:

Since the 1950s, increasing availability and importation of US English via pop culture, the mass media, such as books and magazines, television programs, computer software and the world wide web, have raised concerns of a new wave of Americanisation, though in a global context, such concerns are shared by users of other varieties of English: words such as freeway and truck have been naturalised so completely that few Australians would recognise them as borrowings.

Can we also minimise the emdash? It really gets on my nerves when overused. RedRabbit1983 04:08, 6 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Australian English is a non-rhotic dialect. It is most similar to New Zealand English and bears some resemblance to accents from the South-East of England, particularly those of Cockney and Received Pronunciation. Like most dialects of English...

Is anyone else starting to feel sick? RedRabbit1983 11:42, 6 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is specifically making you sick? Do you believe dialect and accent are used too often? Do you have any suggestion on what to use alternatively? GizzaDiscuss © 01:53, 13 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Though I wasn't the original commenter, "concerns" has got to be the biggest, most nauseating weasel word of all time. Format 02:49, 15 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
DaGizza, it is the use of "English", "dialect", and "accent" interchangeably that makes me sick; there is no, or little, concern for consistency or precision. RedRabbit1983 05:28, 15 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Only okay, you guys, and, in some circumstances, gee have persisted.

In some circumstances gee has persisted? This doesn't make any sense. RedRabbit1983 01:21, 13 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use of words by Australians[edit]

The first three paragraphs of Use of words by Australians look suspiciously like trivia. RedRabbit1983 14:54, 19 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've cut them. RedRabbit1983 04:53, 20 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


There is a widely held belief in Australia that "American spellings" are a modern intrusion, but the debate over spelling is much older and has little to do with the influence of North American English. For example, a pamphlet entitled The So-Called "American Spelling.", published in Sydney some time before 1900, argued that "there is no valid etymological reason for the preservation of the u in such words as honor, labor, etc." The pamphlet noted, correctly, that "the tendency of people in Australasia is to excise the u, and one of the Sydney morning papers habitually does this, while the other generally follows the older form".

The tone is inappropriate and negates even the pretence of impartiality. It is not good enough to hide behind a pamphlet. RedRabbit1983 15:19, 19 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know what you mean; what is the passage "partial" to? Grant | Talk 12:22, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Read the last sentence again. If "noted" is not enough, "correctly" will point you in the right direction. RedRabbit1983 08:11, 1 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One-sentence paragraphs[edit]

Does anyone have an opinion on the one-sentence paragraphs? RedRabbit1983 08:13, 20 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I like them in some circumstances, especially in encylopedias. Grant | Talk 12:22, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure, sure. We should add some more, then. RedRabbit1983 08:13, 1 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Introduction needs expanding[edit]

This article is lacking an introduction. No, just one sentence doesn't count. RedRabbit1983 11:05, 20 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why not? Grant | Talk 12:22, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:LEAD RedRabbit1983 23:54, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree. Needs expanding. Nurg (talk) 03:50, 24 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is anyone still active?[edit]

Although I am glad that no one is around to disagree with me—who wouldn't be?—without other people's input the article will remain static. Sections needing attention are the introduction and Irish influences. How can I wake the dead? Is there a spellbook to invoke on talk pages? RedRabbit1983 14:50, 24 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

---Red Rabbitt's plea is quite amusing. The spectacular and censored (see Archives) fact in this Article is that Spoken as opposed to Written English generated by native Australian whites (the Indigenous are a separate matter)is inferior ie inarticulate. There is a noticeable decade-long lack of ability to speak the native language. To realise this, leave the UK-USA-Canada-Aust. language ghetto, learn another language fluently and realise how even illiterates in other languages speak 1.faster 2. more appropriately to what they want to say than highly-placed Australian public speakers, eg politicians. Keating and Mick Young were exceptions to this rule, Ruddock is the norm. ABC radio announcers who get jobs with the ABC would not get in the door elsewhere. The origin of this inarticulacy is the historical and thus class-cultural origins of the Aust. white population: research in the UK would show the roots. The gap between the thought and the inarticulacy is bridged by alcohol or tranquilisers.

Although I agree that Australian English is generally quite bad, I find your rant very silly. First, it is lacking in information—for example, spoken Australian English is inferior to what exactly? Some of it is incomprehesible: for example, There is a noticeable decade-long lack of ability to speak the native language. How can the native population not speak its own language? Some of it is strange: [illiterates speak better than] highly-placed Australian public speakers, eg politicians. It is generally well-known that people in these positions, especially politicians, best serve their ends by distorting language—so what is the significance here? The origin of this inarticulacy is the historical and thus class-cultural origins of the Aust. white population... The gap between the thought and the inarticulacy is bridged by alcohol or tranquilisers. You would do better to look at education and the media. Please reserve the talk page for serious discussions, not this nonsense. I don't care to look at the archives if the above even resembles a sample of them. RedRabbit1983 11:16, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Strange" hardly covers this person's issues. Maybe its the same one who was saying that there is no such thing as AusE. Grant | Talk 12:22, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

1. @Red Rabbitt: The epithet "rant" is a pejorative applied in UK-Aus. Anglo culture for any position with which one disagrees. As the only other persons interested in Oz English appear to be the self-congratulatory back-scratching Ockers on this page,I rest my case. 2. I have already adequately defined my terms: "to speak well" = to speak fast/at reasonable speed and matching utterances to the underlying thought. Reasonable woudl be 50th percentile, or near-average for other national languages. But count the ums and ers in an Ocker sentence, revealing the big thought-verbalisation gap.Then put a stop watch on an average Vietnamese or Frenchman talking on an everyday topic he knows all about before clocking the Ocker. Words or phrases per unit time, know what I mean? Does Red Rabbitt have experience of non-English speakers at all? Unlikely. 3. Your comment about politicians is utterly misleading, as "distortion" as a category of Rhetoric is not related to my point, which is that of LOW ARTICULACY, as defined above.That John Howard distorts is irrelevant to his inarticulacy. 4. I see that it you believe in "generally quite bad Australian English " (your words, but which; oral or written or both? define your terms! I have nothing but praise for the level of English in Letters to the Editor of eg The Australian) So why should I turn to Education and the Media? People learn to talk and form speech habits BEFORE THEY GO TO SCHOOL OR CAN READ. Culture is passd down in families. Ever read Oz poet James McCauley: "..we took in distrust/like a coating behind the eye" ? 5. Since ca 1990 Settler Nationalism (Howard, etc) in Oz has been challenged by Indigenising Nationalism (Keating, etc.)But they have the resentful attitudes in this Wiki article in common. 6. No, I am not the person who was saying there is no such thing as Aus English. But it is true that when amateurs come out to play,lexis ie Aust. vocab. always gets overemphasised at the expense of the grammar similarities over and against the UK. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) August 2, 2007

Ha. You complain about "ums and ers" in speech, and yet demonstrate in writing a multitude of sins, including SHOUTING, over-use of abbreviations, failure to use punctuation and a lack of gaps between words. Remove the rough-hewn 4x2 from your own eye before you complain about the specks in other people's eyes. Or is it counter-balancing the chip on your shoulder? And please sign your posts. Grant | Talk 04:35, 2 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply], please make your writing readable before troubling others with it. RedRabbit 12:49, 2 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Red Rabbitt and Grant: the pair of you are clearly seafood lovers given the number of red herrings you introduce. I have stated a case in regard of low articulacy, ie low spoken word rate per unit time plus low ability, by international comparison, in formulating spoken utterances on everyday topics familiar to the speaker. As neither of you apparently know diddly-squat of any other language than English, more or less, and appear not ever to have left Oz to experience native speakers of other tongues, , there is a prima facie case for saying that you are de facto incompetent to judge upon this matter. Not to mention that you do not even try. In closing, it is fascinating that Red Rabbitt has suddenly fallen silent on his own words: "generally quite bad Australian English." So what do you think of those words, Grant? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) August 2, 2007

Not much. You are clearly the expert on red herrings. Please come up with some concrete suggestions on how the page can be improved, rather than half-baked, unverified and probably unverifiable theories about AusE speakers. And please sign your posts. Grant | Talk 14:19, 2 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Anonymous editor, whether or not I am "incompetent to judge on this matter", the talk page is not the place to pontificate on Australian English. There is nothing in your posts of possible benefit to the article. Please read over WP:TALK before spewing out another rant. RedRabbit 16:42, 2 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Back ... to ... Red ... Rabbitt's ... initial ... point ... ... ... (sorry ... for ... speaking ... so ... slowly ... ... I'm ... only ... an ... Aussie ... ... ma~te). ... ... I ... s'pose ... you ... could ... look ... through ... the ... page ... history ... y'know ... and ... mate ... look ... at ... this ... talk ... page ... and ... its ... archives ... and ... do ... the ... same ... for ... related ... pages ... and ... thereby ... (Can ... an ... Aussie ... use ... such ... a ... swanky ... word ... as ... thereby?) ... ... yeah, ... mate, ... where ... was ... I ... ... Oh! ... Yeah, ... thereby ... gather ... list ... of ... users ... who've ... constructively ... contributed ... in ... the ... past ... and ... try ... drum ... interest ... up ... by ... leaving ... notes ... on ... their ... talk ... pages. Jɪmp 18:02, 4 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Slow down. I can't understand you. RedRabbit 14:36, 5 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
S...o...r...r...y ... ... ... ... m...a...t...e..., I...'...m ... ... ... ... f...r...o...m ... ... ... ... t....h...e ... ... ... ... b...i...g ... ... ... ... s...m...o...k...e.... ... ... ... ... Jɪmp 16:25, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nw spk rly qkly so tht anonms persn cn undastnd yu. Quik quik quik! Ok, curtain call for the humourists; this joke is over now. RedRabbit

Most Australians unable to say "drawing"[edit]

How do I access the Phonetic alphabet for a Wikipedia edit? I would like to put in a quick note about the inability of most Australians (Including nearly all newsreaders and educated adults) to pronounce "Drawing". Nearly every Australian inserts an extra 'r' and the word comes out as "Dro-Ring", "The Dro-Rings of Vincent Van Goch", "pass me a Dro-Ring pin" (thumbtack) etc. I think this is an interesting foible and whilst not a major issue I'd like to illustrate the point with some proper phonetic spelling. (I'm originally English, we and Americans say "Draw-Wing" with a fairly weak W. When I try to get my Aussie friends and family to deliberately say "Draw" followed by "Wing" they say, "yes Draw Wing, that's what I said ... Dro-Ring" and just cant 'see' that they are putting an extra R in the word!!. 01:10, 4 September 2007 (UTC)Sorry forgot to log in, above comments from MichaelGG 01:12, 4 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There's a list of special IPA characters below the edit box. Make sure you enclose special characters in {{IPA}} or a similar template (you could use <span> but that's a whole other story).
What you're talking about is the intrusive-r ... no, it's not any sort of inability, it's just how we talk. This feature is not explicitely noted but since it is not a universal feature of non-rhotic accents, it probably should be. However, the place for it would not be here but at Australian English phonology#Consonants.
Jɪmp 01:48, 4 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have added the statement "Linking- and intrusive-R are also features of Australian English." to the aforementioned section. Jɪmp 01:55, 4 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have noticed this myself. It's kind of like the way English people say "yez" and "uz" instead of yes and us, and usually pronounce Michelle as "mee-shell" (to rhyme with sea shell) ;-) Grant | Talk 02:47, 4 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks Jimp, on further reflection you also get the intrusive r in announcements on the tv such as the show "Law and Order" which comes out as "Coming up next the new season of Law Ran Order".--MichaelGG 11:36, 4 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or "Laura Norder." Why, the eye dear of it... ---The user formerly known as JackLumber 21:52, 4 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just attempted to pronounce drawing in the way you implied and find that it soundsout of place in the Australian lexicon. I also think that "Most Australians unable to say "drawing" is a racist comment! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:21, 9 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wait a minute - this is not documented, referenced or given citation. It therefore constitutes original research.
According to Wikipedia policy, "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is whether material is attributable to a reliable published source, not whether we think it is true. ...
"Editors should provide attribution for quotations and for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, or it may be removed. The burden of evidence lies with the editor wishing to add or retain the material." --Andmark 16:11, 9 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This article needs improvement[edit]

First of all, the silly legend that Australian is similar to (or derived from) Cockney should be demolished. Australian is a unique accent that is most definitely unlike Cockney, Irish, or any other English-based language.

I am an Australian, and get the impression that much of this article has been written by Americans or Britishers, who have an agenda to minimize the uniqueness of Australian. Please reference the many fine research articles written by Australian experts in this field.

It would also be good to have a proper section on Australian vocabulary; we use many words that other English-speakers don't use or understand. Logicman1966 02:58, 11 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Australian is similar to Cockney (and at least partially derived from Cockney). Don't you know your own history? That's not a "silly story." You, like countless others on Wikipedia, obviously have the agenda of making your dialect sound more unique than it really is. My "agenda" is to make the article as accurate as possible. Thanks. (talk) 04:06, 22 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why don't you both cite your sources instead of posting some rant about how good or bad the language/dialect is?
I've heard that the Australian accent makes vowels flat, unlike the Cockney accent, or any other English accent. There is probably some influence from Cockney, as well as from other English dialects. English actors sometimes incorrectly make the Australian accent sound Cockney, which sounds very fake.
As to uniqueness or lack of it, I'm undecided and don't care.
I'll leave it to you two to find and to insert sources. RedRabbit (talk) 05:34, 21 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What the hell are you talking about? I never said anything about how good or bad the Australian dialect is. How can you not notice the similarities between your own dialect and Cockney? I guess that is easier for non-Aussies. Don't you guys know that you used to be a penal colony for the British Empire? A lot of the English criminals back in the eighteenth century happened to have Cockney accents. So it only makes sense that the Australian dialect would have some Cockney influence. (talk) 23:30, 28 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While (to an untrained ear) there may be a few vowel sounds somewhat similar in both Australian and Cockney, the two dialects have many more differences than similarities. For example, the following defining traits of Cockney are completely absent from Australian - (1) dropping the 'H' (2) 'T' glottalisation (3) missing dental fricatives. And of course, Australians do not use rhyming slang.... The old 'used to be a penal colony for the British Empire' story is so cliche now, give it a rest mate. Of course we all know it, however its importance and relevance is MUCH less so than you might like to believe. It sounds like you need to read up on the 200+ years of Australian history since colonization. Logicman1966 (talk) 06:19, 29 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Err, what?! I agree about glottals and dental frictaives. But dropping aitches is very common in Broad AusE, as is rhyming slang!
As I said above, I suspect that 19th century Broad AusE speakers were a lot more like Cockney. Possibly the best example of this is C. J. Dennis's The Sentimental Bloke (1915), which features phonetic representations of working class Melbourne dialogue, e.g.
This ev'nin' I was sittin' wiv Doreen,
Peaceful an' 'appy wiv the day's work done,
Watchin', be'ind the orchard's bonzer green,
The flamin' wonder of the settin' sun.
Note that even the /h/ in "behind" is dropped. Dennis was born and bred in South Australia.
There are so many examples of rhyming slang that the whole practice used to be known in America as "Australian rhyming slang"! It seems that even pommy is rhyming slang. There are also new examples all the time, like "Barry Crocker" for shocker. Grant | Talk 06:44, 29 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The word cliché is quite cliché as well. Try "hackneyed" (a word that probably originated from a borough of London where Cockney is spoken funny enough). I don't care about Australian history. I just thought I would mention that. I wouldn't ever bother to read up on it. Anyway, I am way more concerned about the vowels than the consonants in this case. I am well aware that Australian English doesn't have dropped "h's", glottal stops, and missing dental fricatives (you forgot to mention that L-vocalisation is not as common in Aussie English as it is in Cockney). That's a moot issue for me. The point is that Cockney and Australian English are far more similar to one another than Cockney and Canadian English are, for example. Cockney and Aussie English use the same diphthong in words like "day" and "joy", the same vowel sound in words like "thought" and "boot", and a similar diphthong in words like "price"; not to mention both are non-rhotic dialects (even though I said I didn't care about consonants). Both possess a linking and intrusive R as well. Both distinguish between "cot" and "caught" on one hand, and "father" and "bother" on another. Both have the Trap-bath split and the Bad-lad split. Both have far more pre-r distinctions than some dialects of English (particularly those in North America). The lexicon (including slang of course) of Australian English is far more similar to that of English English than the lexicon of Canadian English is to that of many forms of English English. Maybe now you understand how it is easier for a resident of North America to appreciate the similarity between Cockney (and other dialects of English English) and Australian English than someone from Mile End or Perth. Please don't insult my ears by calling them "untrained". By the way, thank you, Grant. P.S. Who the hell says "Britisher" anyway? (talk) 00:06, 1 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As someone with a London area accent who moved to the North of england on a few occasions in my first few years there I was asked if I was Australian, I was mistified by this but after many years in the north of England I understand what they meant as on a number of occasions when I've been speaking to someone from the South east of england (Essex, London etc) I've thought they were Australian too only for it gradually dawning on me that they were merely speaking in a broad Estuary/essex/London accent.Similarly as my years up in the north have made my own accent less broad its been years since anyone has said "are you Australian?" so I'm very persuaded that the Australian accent has much in common with Cockney/un-standard/uneducated English of London and the Home Counties.

PS And to completely change the subject the article mentions the word "ta" as in "thank you" as Irish as far as I know this is about as English as you can get (or if it is Irish must have come into the English dialect a very very long time ago).Come to think of it I can't imagine a broad Irish speaking person using it! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 22 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One Australian English or many?[edit]

Before some pompous fool (there seems to be a few of them watching this talk page) pounces on me as an easy target, let me first say I know little about this subject. However I have heard it said that, uniquely among English speaking countries, the English spoken in any particular part of Australia is the same as the English spoken anywhere else in the country. That Australian English is very standard right across the country. I have never been to America or the United Kingdom but I understand that both the UK and US are very different in this regard. If the phenomenon I refer to does really exist I would love to see a section in the article that refers to this phenomenon (and explains it) of great uniformity in the Australian English. Ryan Albrey (talk) 04:44, 27 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, it is correct that Australian is much more uniform than other English languages (eg. the English spoken in US or UK). This is especially noteworthy because Australia is so large geographically. There are however subtle differences, in both vocabulary and accent, between different parts of the country. Logicman1966 (talk) 11:18, 28 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Does this section- Australian English#Varieties_of_Australian_English- cover what you are talking about? Or does it need some work to make it clearer? --DrHacky (talk) 13:40, 28 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh yah! I didn't see that on my first read through! Thanks. However, do linguistic experts have any theories as to why this is the case in Australia and not the case in Northern America or the UK? Why is it that someone from inner city Brisbane sounds the same as someone who is otherwise of the same demographic but from inner city Perth? The same comparison between New Jersey and Boston I am sure would be very different. Or am I wrong? Ryan Albrey (talk) 09:05, 29 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Condescending and Quaint.[edit]

I found this article quaint because it appears to be based on many long superceded arguments and misconceptions, for example the suggestion that there are roots in Cockney. Unfortunately I am at present unable to reference the following but I have heard several 'experts' make a highly convincing argument that realistically it is only the 'rhyming slang' aspect of Australia's cunning linguistics that underscores this dubious argument. Moreover, it may well have been similar needs that created this parallel rather than 'dialectic transportation'. Thus having come about simply as an effective tool when these cultures found themselves in need of 'Coded Speech' between like minded groups (ie. Barrowmen, stall holders and such in front of the establishment of London and convicts in front of their guards in the colonies). Just a thought but perhaps a very elegant one. Also I'd like to mention how important this article is to any true blue Aussie and how it desperately needs a lot more effort put into it. At best this could be called an early draft I feel. Yeah, no, but... Outofthewoods, who couldn't log in because I wrote this via my Nokia N95 and Wiki won't let me whenever I access this site from my phone. Grrr! All other sites I access will, why not the wonderful Wiki? My all time favourite site- I used to Google- now I just Wiki! PS. No one so far has mentioned the 'Rising Terminal 'BUT as in displaying severe insecurity by a person about what they themselves have just uttered. Now THAT is uniquely strayn! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:35, 17 December 2007 (UTC) Reply[reply]

Like, Ride, Side, etc.[edit]

How does the vowel sound in words like "like", "ride", and "side" in Australian English differ from the sound of those words in Cockney or Estuary English? (talk) 04:10, 22 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The template is up for deletion on the grounds that it contains errors and it is not referenced. Can it be saved? Jɪmp 15:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Varieties of Australian English[edit]

Varieties of Australian English has been nominated for deletion on the grounds of being mostly original research. Do we have any sources for the claims made in the article (including the claims about who speaks what)? Of that which we can support is there enough to warrent an article? Jɪmp 00:14, 5 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think the varieties should be better explained. I would be interested to know more about them. (talk) 16:27, 26 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Common Australian phrases[edit]

Would a table of common Australian phrases benefit this article? ie: Raw Prawn = Bullshit, Spit the Dummy = get upset at something

I can see the validity of both arguments that Australian English is "complete tosh", and yet it is distinct from the Queens English in many ways. It would be nice if the article would reflect that. There is also some deep academic bullshit in here that I cannot understand, such as "/dj/, /sj/ and /tj/ into /dʒ/, /ʃ/ and /tʃ/." It must mean something, but I don't think it belongs.

Mr. Welsh (talk) 15:32, 18 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Common words/expressions, that's what wikt:Appendix:Australian English vocabulary is for. That deep academic bullshit is the International Phonetic Alphabet. The /j/ stands for the sound of "y" in "you"; the /ʒ/ is the "ge" sound in "beige" (/dʒ/ is the "j" sound in "jump"); the /ʃ/ is the "sh" sound in "fish" (/tʃ/ is the "ch" sound in "chips"); the /ʉː/ is the "oo" sound in "roo"; and /s/, /d/ and /t/ are as they usually are. The section talks about how certain sounds join with the "y" sound to produce something different. Say "lightyear", compare it to "lie-cheer". Do you pronounce "jew" and "due" the same? It's an important aspect of the accent, it does belong. Of course, we could adjust how it's expressed if need be. JIMp talk·cont 17:04, 18 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Would you find the phonetic alphabet in standard encyclopedias? Mr. Welsh (talk) 12:11, 30 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't have one at hand but it is common in standard non-US dictionaries e.g. Cambridge. Have you got a better method in mind? JIMp talk·cont 23:14, 30 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

<Part> short of a <whole>[edit]

I know what you're on about but I'm a AusE speaker. A non-Aussie mightn't have the foggiest. Could this perhaps be reworded, maybe labelling them "short of a expressions" and giving a couple of examples? JIMp talk·cont 03:28, 9 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pork Products?[edit]

There is significant variation in Australian English vocabulary between different regions; perhaps the most prominent example being the many names for processed pork products, generally known in other countries as "bologna sausage" or "luncheon meat". It is known as strassberg - or alternatively Strasbourg - (or strass in its shortened form) in Melbourne and parts of rural Victoria, pork German in other parts of that state, Devon or Spam in New South Wales, German veal in Queensland, Fritz in South Australia and Polony in Western Australia.[specify]

I've lived in various capital cities throughout Australia all my life and this is a new one on me! Is there a source for this? I've never heard of "Pork German" or "German Veal" in this contect, Devon and Spam are commercial, not generic names, and I've never heard of "Fritz". It might be true, it's just kind of an out of left field choice to include as an example of vocabulary variations. Maybe something about "bathers", "swimmers" and "cossies" would be better. Sadiemonster (talk) 13:58, 29 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It has always bothered me too. Such a big claim... no reference! I have heard of the term Fritz - used only in Adelaide - as explained to me from people from that city. But I am not so certain Strasburg is congruent with Fritz - I thought Strasburg was a particular type of sausage - among dozens available and spoken of. Fritz refers to general sausage from the supermarket deli sections and the term was at least still in use up to 2001. The word 'stras', as far as I know, is not used generically for just any type of processed meat here in Melbourne, it refers to actual strasburg sausage. Maybe 'stras' was used generically in the past, but it does not seem to be a commonly-used term today. Format (talk) 19:48, 29 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds like baloney :-)
"pork German" makes no sense to me and is not supported, so I'm removing it. And the others do sound as if they could refer rather to specific varieties of different products. Personally I know Strasburg as a particular variety of cold luncheon meat (I am from Melbourne). If no-one can support the remainder, it should be removed.
Examples of "bathers", "swimmers", "cossies", and "togs" would be better, and/or perhaps "pots", "schooners", etc..
I'd quite like to see more sophisticated examples too, such as the South Australian phrase "heaps good".
—DIV ( (talk) 00:36, 13 October 2008 (UTC))Reply[reply]

I'm not Australian and have no idea if the claim is true or not, but have problems about the idea of the claim being 'significant'. Significant variation in vocabulary is the difference between German and Dutch, not between an Australian variant of English that refers to a specific pork product in one way and another one that calls it something else. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:05, 2 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Volume of speech[edit]

I'm aware this might be taken as an insult, but it's not meant that way. Is there any particular reason why australians talk at a louder volume than other English speakers, and is this a known phenomenon? I've lived with six Australians, had two Australian workmates and have an uncle, aunt, two cousins and three second cousins who are Australian. And all of them had much louder voices than British people. Other people I know have commented on this too.... (talk) 20:14, 13 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think we are less loud than people from the USA? maybe Brits are unusually quiet? Irtapil (talk) 16:19, 23 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This isn't meant to be an insult either, but I've noticed that Australians are always talking about either Foster's, Vegemite, didgeridoos, boomerangs, dingos, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, Redback spiders ("They'll nip ya down unda while your on the dunny!"), crocodiles, or how "them Kiwis aa shipe luvas". I've met a few Australians; these are just a few things I've observed. (talk) 22:30, 13 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Both of these comments are nothing more than stereotypes / generalizations. They have no basis in fact, and therefore have no place in Wikipedia. Logicman1966 (talk) 02:39, 14 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i'm pretty sure the Fosters bloke is joking?

well we do like to live up to our sterotypes however innacurate —Preceding unsigned comment added by 5349U11 (talkcontribs) 14:02, 24 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Australian Metaphors[edit]

There is an article on this subject at

Nercat (talk) 12:35, 18 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Swag = items of value in Australian English?[edit]

As Swag (disambiguation) makes clear the above meaning is not "Australian" English. Format (talk) 05:30, 7 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

However, is "swagman" ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 8 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Swag is used only rarely in modern Australian English. Most people would only know it from that song. Sometimes it's used when quoting phrases from the USA, but we'd not regard this as Australian English. When used in Australian English it doesn't tend to denote stuff being particularly valuable, if anything it's more akin to junk or bits and pieces. I think i might have heard people refer to getting swag at an event meaning an assortment of branded promo junk like hats and pens. I think i might have also heard it used to mean personal possessions. Irtapil (talk) 16:18, 23 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The Phonology section of the article states the following:

The below following features of Australian English are typically employed by the lower classes of Australian society (i.e. poor socio-economic background, low levels of education etc) whereas people with higher economic and/or educational standards speak in a manner which does not compress, shorten or remove these linguistic features.

This suggests that there is a class distinction in the uses of various Australian accents as there sometimes are in other parts of the English-speaking world. This comment has been flagged with both the {{Fact}} and {{Dubious}} templates.

Can this claim be substantiated? I have some reference material that I will be consulting later this afternoon and will report back if I find anything. — SpikeToronto (talk) 21:12, 7 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm sorry I removed that earlier. I honestly don't understand the meaning of that statement now that I've thought more about it. It doesn't make any sense to me. Can you explain it to me? Thegryseone (talk) 21:44, 7 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I’m kind of with you there, Thegryseone. I’m just trying to follow established wikiprocess, which is that we flag unsourced, suspect statements with one of the templates found at {{Fact}} until either the editor that inserted it fixes it, or one of us can come up with support for it. If neither approach yields any results, then it is justifiable to delete it, and not fear receiving a delete warning (e.g., {{uw-delete2}}). As for what this disputed statement is saying, the nearest I can figure is that, as in the U.K., U.S., and Canada, accents vary not only regionally, but socio-economically within regions. In this part of the world, this is well-documented by linguists. I imagine that it is there too, we just need to find support for the statement or remove it. What I don’t understand is, what are “below features?” :) — SpikeToronto (talk) 01:01, 8 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It refers to the list of linguistic features which immediately follows (the three points). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:05, 8 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, since you’re the person who put it in (possibly false assumption based on IP address), do you have a reliable source/citation for the statement? Something verifiable? You might also want to have a look at the following Wikipedia policies/guidelines: WP:V, WP:RS, WP:CITE, WP:REFBEGIN. Thanks! — SpikeToronto (talk) 02:33, 8 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am the original poster of the statement and the person who clarified the meaning. The differing IP address is because of using the internet at different locations and with systems that utilise dynamic IP. I have tried to find some piece of academia that substantiates my claims (I can evidence the factuality of what I wrote as I live in Sydney and it is easily noticeable), however I have little time at the moment, and little access to works in such a field. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:39, 16 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You know what takes very little time, can be totally anonymous, prevents people tracking you through your IP addresses, and obviates the need for having to tell people who you are each time? Why not register for a full-fledged account? You get much greater functionality plus all the things I just mentioned! — Spike (talk) 19:57, 16 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I am rather concerned about misconception drawn from parts of this article, specifically two examples. The first is located under the phonology header, and could even be deemed offesive: 'The following linguistic features of Australian English are generally employed by people with lower standards of education and socio-economic background, and those with higher economic and/or educational standards speak in a manner which does not compress, shorten or remove these features.' This seems to imply that the following speech (which refers to coalescence, alveolar flapping in the stead of alveolar plosives, and dropping /t/ from /nt/ in words like winter) is inferior. It probably should be altered to state that Cultivated Australian English lacks these features. The second is located under the Vocabulary header: 'Australian English and several British English dialects (for example, Cockney, Scouse, Glaswegian and Geordie) use the word mate.' Here it should be noted that Cultivated and occasionally General Australian English speaker do not use the word mate, as the article refers to specific dialects. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Enauspeaker (talkcontribs) 12:06, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pints of beer[edit]

Article says:

Some imperial measurements persist in popular usage, such as feet and inches for people's height, along with pounds and ounces for newborn babies and pints for beer

A pint of beer is not a unit of fluid measure, its a size of glass. Is the schooner, the midi or the pot a unit of measure? No, then neither is the pint or half-pint in this case. Australians don't use pints as a unit of measure, just as a glass size. --SJK (talk) 01:08, 16 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's true that we don't refer to pints of beer in Australia, even though some of the glasses might be very close to the old pint in volume. The only exception might be at English or Irish themed pubs. Michael Glass (talk) 02:05, 16 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's not quite true... in Victoria pint and pot are the usual glass sizes. But even in those English/Irish pubs which sell beer by pint and half-pint, the point remains, using a unit of measure as a glass size is not the same thing as actually using it as a unit of measure. --SJK (talk) 00:44, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What a load of rubbish. Beer in WA is universally sold by the pint in almost all pubs. Making a distinction between a pint being the glass size vs a unit of measure makes absolutely no sense. It is one pint of beer, it is both the unit of measure and the glass size.
When I arrange to meet my mates at a pub, we'll often "go for a few pints". It is very well established.HappyGod (talk) 01:45, 23 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
but we don't use pints to measure anything other than beer, and we only use it to measure beer in some parts of the country. It's a beer glass size, but not a unit of measure. Irtapil (talk) 16:08, 23 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's regionally variable. Pints of beer are a standard size in Brisbane, Queensland, but not in some other places. I think Melbourne might be dull and just call it "small, medium, large"? There's a table elsewhere on wiki with Australian beer sizes Irtapil (talk) 16:06, 23 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
though that alleges pint is "common" everywhere, i've found it's ubiquitous in Brisbane Qld. and rare in Melbourne, and i've only ever had coffee in Sydney... Irtapil (talk) 16:10, 23 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First sentence[edit]

Australian English (AusE, AuE, AusEng, en-AU[1]) is the form of the English language spoken in Australia.

I might be wrong, but wouldn't the reader, of whatever nationality, be surprised if Australian English weren't the form of English language spoken in Australia? Therefore I ask, how does this sentence have any value? Giving due charity to the intelligence of the general reader, perhaps a less trivial opening sentence is called for; the present one seems to be there as a matter of form, not because it tells the reader anything. And its standing alone draws attention to its vapidity. RedRabbit (talk) 15:38, 24 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Poor Examples[edit]

"Some words, such as freeway and truck, have even been naturalised so completely that few Australians recognise their origin."

Bah! I've never heard anyone refer to any sort of road as a freeway, or a motorway for that matter. I've only ever heard them referred to as a highway. Some people may use freeway, but I think a better example should be put in that sentence, or at least remove that one.

As for truck, it hasn't completely transferred, as few Australians will call their ute a truck. Perhaps this should also be changed? Not as important as that blantant lie about freeway being used! ozkidzez91 (talk) 16:13, 25 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

i thought "truck" seemed Australian, till i realised you meant ute, a ute is a ute. Truck would only refer to a garbage truck, furniture delivery truck, concrete mixer truck etc. Irtapil (talk) 16:02, 23 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In Melbourne "Freeway" has been commonly and routinely used in official naming, and amongst the general public, for decades. A freeway is a particular type of roadway, and it is not the same as a highway. See Eastern Freeway, Tullamarine Freeway. Format (talk) 20:27, 25 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And in Perth, Mitchell Freeway, Kwinana Freeway, Graham Farmer Freeway. I notice that our article Freeways in Australia includes some "Highways", even though we have a separate article for Highways in Australia. From personal experience, I know that people sometimes refer to Roe Highway and Tonkin Highway as "freeways", even though they are not (they both have traffic lights). Mitch Ames (talk) 03:51, 26 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just some observations[edit]

"Australia adopted decimal currency in 1966 and the metric system in the 1970s. Australians have measured temperatures in degrees Celsius since 1972, road signs were metricated in 1974, and goods of all kinds have been measured in litres and kilograms ever since that time. While the older measures are usually used and understood by those born before 1960, younger Australians rarely use pounds, ounces, stones, degrees Fahrenheit, yards or miles[citation needed]. Some imperial measurements persist in popular usage, such as feet and inches for people's height, along with pounds and ounces for newborn babies and pints for beer[citation needed]."

Ok, first of all, I've change kilograms to grams, since that is the base measurement. I What also changed that to very rarely use pounds etc. as rarely doesn't seem to emphasize how rarely it is used.

No, Kg is the base SI unit, not grams. Irtapil (talk) 16:00, 23 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If someone could change the last sentence that would be great. At the moment it sounds like those measurements are used by the majority of Australians, but I know that especially with Generation Y they are disappearing quickly. I'm 18 and no one I know of my approximate age tells people their height in feet and inches.

Last thing, maybe a line should be added telling of the gradual loss of knowledge of the imperial system in younger generations? I'm forever looking up how many kg's a pound is, or converting someone's height to centimetres. Just saying, I don't think it's really common knowledge anymore. And don't get me started on the conversion between units in the metric system! How the hell is anyone supposed to remember how many yards in a mile?

Definitely think this should be reworded to remove assumptions that the general public in Australia is familiar with the imperial measurements system.

EDIT: Darn, forgot to sign. ozkidzez91 (talk) 16:38, 25 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have deleted the paragraph about obsolete measurements. This is not relevant to an article about Australian English. It is the actual, official, measurements that changed, not simply the words used to describe them. If Australia used particular measurements but had unique names for them, maybe that could be listed here, but that is not the case. An inch is only ever called an inch, a milimeter is only ever called a milimeter. (American talk of 35mm: but that does not mean it is added to the American English article.) Format (talk) 20:39, 25 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
... or a "millimetre" ... no, it doesn't belong. P.S. the kilogram is the base unit in the SI. JIMp talk·cont 22:41, 25 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Programme vs Program[edit]

I dispute the phrase in this article that 'program' is more common than 'programme'. While it is officially endorsed by the gov to use 'program', this is almost universally ignored when referring to a programme of events, or an agenda. 'Program' is always used to refer to a computer program however.

Simply do a Google search for the word 'programme' on Australian sites and you'll see what I mean. I'm Australian and I was taught to use 'programme' over 'program', except when referring to a computer program.

Examples from the Australian government and Universities:
—Preceding unsigned comment added by HappyGod (talkcontribs) 03:29, 26 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've removed the statement that Australian English prefers 'program' over 'programme'. I initially decided to simply a sideline that said: "(although programme is also used)". But as I was adding the citations to support this, I realised that there were so many examples of 'programme' being used over 'program' that the main thrust of the statement didn't hold up. HappyGod (talk) 02:03, 23 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Of course both forms remain, at least for the moment, technically "correct" Australian English - but "program" clearly continues to displace "programme" in several departments. Many years, I trow, since anyone would write about a "computer programme" - it just looks silly - but a radio or television program is usually just that nowadays - "programme" in this context is becoming increasingly quaint. The only situation where "programme" actually still feels more natural is, perhaps, a theatrical programme (especially an operatic one?) although even in this context most Australians (and I am elderly and in many ways a bit old-fashioned myself) would be at least quite accepting of the shorter form. On the whole I think the original text should stand, although a mild qualification may be in order. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 02:47, 23 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Soundofmusicals on this matter. In my experience "program" is now the standard Australian spelling and is much more frequently used than "programme". In any case the article is referring to what the Macquarrie Dictionary says on this. Afterwriting (talk) 02:59, 23 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Was going to chime in here about the reference in the original text to "our" standard dictionary myself. While I wouldn't always endorse everything Macquarie says the fact is that the article itself simply mentions that the dictionary prefers "program". Which is technically exactly 100% true, even if you think (legitimately) that Macquarie is incorrect on this point. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 03:12, 23 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Until John Howard became Prime Minister, the preferred recent spelling in the APS was 'program', he was clear in his preference for the frenchified version, and where he was able forced its use. Tony Abbott followed suit. It is discussed here Macquarie Dictionary (3 October 2013), From the Editor: Programme or program?, looking at the Australian Government website finds both. The Australian Government Style Manual 5th edition only uses 'program'. Recent discussion in The Canberra Times on this at Malcolm Turnbull sticks with the 'programme' ... or does he?, (2 February 2016), THE PUBLIC SECTOR INFORMANT). Paul foord (talk) 03:36, 23 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm happy to change it just to include the original text with a qualification, but there are a *lot* of examples of programme being used out there! They almost always government websites, and they're often quite schizophrenic, the 'Graduate Programs' government website also includes a section on 'ICT entry-level Programmes'. It seems to me that government program(mes) are usually be spelt with the the double m. Happy to go with the consensus. Just going over my past wiki contribs, and following through on my edit promises :-) HappyGod (talk) 05:22, 23 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Paul's comment that a reversion to the use of programme on (current) government websites might be political seems plausible enough. That mob wants us to go back to God Save the Queen, the Union Jack, and Pounds Shillings and Pence. As for that filthy French republican system of weights and measures! I think they have fundamental objections to Magna Carta for that matter. I exaggerate but little, alas. In any case, to repeat - the statement in the article is that the Macquarie dictionary prefers "program" - not that it has absolutely replaced "programme". So there is no need or justification in changing it really. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 08:55, 24 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think programme has become increasingly rare. I am from a younger generation but I have almost never seen program used with the possible exception of a classical music or theatre program. I am sure I have looked at Australian English corpus data as well which showed program being by far the dominant spelling. Anyway just as the courts, universities and statutes federally and in all states use the macquarie dictionary as their reference on preferred spellings, so do we in this article. The only headword that exists for this word is 'program' from memory in the Macquarie with a note after the definition saying that programme is an alternative spelling
  • I correct the Abbott–British "programme" to normal Australian usage every time I see it. Tony (talk) 11:59, 6 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Idiom - could [not] care less[edit]

I've removed "couldn't care less" as an example of an Australian variation of the American "could care less", on the grounds that the American version is actually the variation of the (literally correct) "couldn't care less". Mitch Ames (talk) 12:24, 9 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have changed the examples here. I wasn't saying that one was an Australian 'variation' on a 'standard' version, merely that in different English-speaking countries, there are slightly different forms of common idioms in use. I've used different examples and rewritten the sentence to make this clearer--Saruman-the-white (talk) 22:50, 9 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This wouldn't be a feature of Australian English. It's the Americans who stuffed the saying up. Put the info on the US English page. Jimp 08:01, 12 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have changed this to another idiom. Obviously 'could care less' is not a feature of Australian English. What the sentence (now deleted) said was that various popular idioms take slightly differing forms in different English speaking countries, such as "home away from home" in Australia vs "home from home" in UK, or "couldn't care less" in Australia vs "could care less" in the US. I have changed the example now but I'm not sure what the controversy was over saying that the not caring less idiom presents as 'couldn't care less' in Australia (as well as the UK, for that matter) and 'could care less' in the US (and Canada, for that matter). The fact that we might think that other versions of idioms are not correct doesn't mean that they do not present in that form in other dialects of English. For example, other English speaking countries will say that 'drink driving' (cf drunk driving) or 'public transport' (cf public transporation) are incorrect and 'stuffed up'. That doesn't change the fact that those are the forms these expressions take in Australia. Talking about variants doesn't imply there is one correct standard and everything else is merely some abberant feature of AusEng. For example we say truck, the Brits say lorry. We say tap, the Americans say faucet. These are just geographical variants. There is no implication that because we say 'truck' or 'tap' that this is any less equal than any other variant. Anyhow I've changed the examples to ones for which the foreign variants don't cause such a visceral negative reaction for even being included on the page --Saruman-the-white (talk) 00:09, 13 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My original objection was that the article said "... instances of idioms [taking] different forms in Australia than in other Anglophone nations" then quoted an example where the Australian idiom is the same as most other English-speaking countries (as far as I know, but admittedly based primarily on the Wiktionary articles). "Could care less" is a good example of the US differing from the rest of the Anglophones, but it is not a good example of Australia differing from the many other Anglophone nations that are not the US. Mitch Ames (talk) 05:25, 13 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah I see what you mean. I wasn't trying to imply by 'taking different forms in Australia than in other Anglophone nations' that necessarily we were in the minority, merely that in some other Anglophone nations regardless of the number, another form exists. Anyway I can see where you come coming from now. Thanks--Saruman-the-white (talk) 01:58, 14 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Any reason for the lack of mention of "cunt"?[edit]

Considering that most of the English speaking world considers the word one of the most offensives slurs in the whole language, while in only Australia it is allegedly used on television quite commonly, this would seem to deserve a mention. Grognard Extraordinaire Chess (talk) Ping when replying 10:29, 7 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To my knowledge as an Australian (admittedly one who doesn't watch much television), cunt is still considered to be too rude for TV (whereas fuck for example, is acceptable on evening TV). Mitch Ames (talk) 14:04, 7 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That seems about right. Tony (talk) 11:57, 6 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Plus it just varies by dialect more widely (e.g., in NAm, it's an insult almost exclusively against a woman, an intensified alternative to bitch; in the UK, it's mostly applied to men, and with an implication that varies by region and context: of being a mark or a pushover, a fool, a scumbag or evildoer, etc. It can even be used in an endearing way: "You lucky cunt!"). Better covered at the article on the word.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:12, 8 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Although it's not common I've certainly heard, on more than one occasion, one mature aged Australian male say to another "How are ya ya silly old cunt?" It's not offensive to the parties involved. HiLo48 (talk) 09:33, 8 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It depends on the person, it's highly variable. My mum and her brother (my uncle) both consider "cunt" extremely offensive, both were born in Australia in the late 1950s and have never lived anywhere other than Australia. My uncle called it the worst word in the world (but i consider that statement offensive, particularly given it was in a conversation about racial slurs). My friends and i are not very offended by it (born in the 1980s, most have degrees and a lot have doctorates) but we know others find it offensive, most of my friends would get angry at me if i said it in front of children in public or in front of their extended families, but only mildly annoyed, not horrified like my uncle. And yeah, it tends to be applied to men, or to refer to part of a woman, i think everyone i know would be either offended or just baffled if you used the term to refer to a whole woman. It can be offensive or friendly, but even when it's friendly it tends to be in that "friendly mockery" way. Kind of "i know you well enough that i can call you an obscenity without you being offended", or something like that. Irtapil (talk) 15:56, 23 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fix mangled English please[edit]

This paragraph is full of grammar errors, which make the intended meaning not quite 100% clear. I think I could fix it to be correct, but it would be better if someone who's a native Australian English speaker did it. Tony1, maybe?

In addition, a number of words in Australian English have different meanings from those ascribed in other varieties of English. Clothing-related examples are notable. Pants in Australian English follows American usage in refer to British English trousers but in British English refer to Australian English underpants; vest in Australian English pass also in American refers to British English waistcoat but in British English refers to Australian English singlet; thong in both American and British English refers to underwear (otherwise known as a G-string), while in Australian English it refers to British and American English flip-flop (footwear). There are numerous other examples, including biscuit which refers in Australian and British English to what in American English is cookie or cracker but to a savoury cake in American English; Asian, which in Australian and American English commonly refers to people of East Asian heritage, as opposed to British English, in which it commonly refers to people of South Asian descent; and (potato) chips which refers both to British English crisps (which is not commonly used in Australian English) and to American English French fries (which is used alongside hot chips).

 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:04, 6 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's gruesome. But I looked wider, and felt that so too is the whole section, which is completely bereft of sourcing. So is the next section. I would also disagree with a couple of the statements. "Thongs" is mentioned in the previous paragraph too. Large swags of the article need to be rewritten. I wouldn't be game to tackle that paragraph in isolation. Maybe one day, when I have a few hours to spare.....HiLo48 (talk) 06:18, 6 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's horrid. Tony (talk) 11:56, 6 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How come Australian english doesn't use Oxford spelling?[edit]

Australia shies away from Oxford English. (talk) 22:18, 21 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "Oxford", but Australian English uses UK English spelling. Bizarrely the USA seems to think we don't, everyone i know sets their spellchecking software to UK English because the "Australian English" setting tends to include USA spellings that we consider errors. In cases where we don't strictly follow UK English spelling it tends to be an acceptable option. e.g. "centre" and "center" are both ok, but "colour" is the only option and "color" is never ok. I can't think of any UK English spellings that we'd consider errors, though we'd probably consider "programme" a bit pretentious. Irtapil (talk) 15:41, 23 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

*considerably* different[edit]

An editor reverted a change I made here. While Australian English has unique characteristics, it is not considerably different from New Zealand English, the lede needs qualification, hence the addition of "most". See New_Zealand_English#cite_note-8, New Zealand Lexicography. New Zealand English "is a southern hemisphere variety of English, and the variety to which it is most similar is Australian English...speakers from the Northern Hemisphere have great difficulty telling the two varieties apart." (New Zealand English By Jennifer Hay 2008, p.14) The point is not that Austrlian and New Zealand English are different, they are, but they are not *considerably* different. --Goldsztajn (talk) 09:11, 22 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Southern Hemisphere accents"[edit]

What other "Southern Hemisphere accents" is this talking about? "It shares most similarity with other Southern Hemisphere accents, in particular New Zealand English." And does Australian English actually have much in common with them? I have heard people claim South African and Zimbabwean English speakers sound like us, but i think this is just a lack of familiarity with those accents rather than any real resemblance. To me they sound indistinguishable from native speakers of Afrikaans, and i cannot see how there is any similarity? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Irtapil (talkcontribs) 15:34, 23 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Irtapil: Southern Hemisphere English accents are distinct in the following: Fiji, Tonga, PNG, New Zealand, Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, Falklands. FWIW, there are very distinct differences within South Africans English, both in comparison to those with non-English mother tongues (compare and contrast Zulu to Afrikaans!) and those (of all backgrounds) schooled during the apartheid era (where Afrikaans was compulsory in some form) and those schooled in a later period. --Goldsztajn (talk) 20:53, 25 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Goldsztajn: what do you mean by distinct? distinct from each other or distinct from the North as a group? What do they have in common? Irtapil (talk) 05:43, 26 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Irtapil:What do I mean by distinct? Well, between South Africa and Tanzania, someone who has Swahili as a mother tongue and who speaks English as a second language will have a different accent to a person with Zulu .... not to mention the contrasting historical/colonial legacies/influences of Arabic, German, English and Cape Dutch/Afrikaans. In Aeteroa/New Zealand there is recognition that there are differences within English: Māori English. I'm not a linguist or ethnographer, I'm not using distinct in any particular technical sense other than a generalised usage - discernibly and commonly different. I'm not aware of Southern Hemisphere English being anything other than a grouping for geographic purposes. Although, in case you have not seen it before, this table is of interest: Regional_accents_of_English#Overview - which does indicate the greater influence of Irish English on North America in contrast to Australia/South Africa/New Zealand which had greater Scottish-English and Regional England English influences (I'd also add that Yiddish had far more profound effect on US English than anywhere else!). --Goldsztajn (talk) 11:08, 26 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Goldsztajn Ah! I would call Tanzania east Africa. I thought we were talking about just SA and Zimbabwe. I didn't think there were many people using English as their primary language between Zimbabwe and Nigeria? They would often speak English, but as a secondary / foreign language? That's different to the accent that comes with a dialect of English. Angela Merkel speaks perfect English, but i'd not count Germany as a meaningful comparison for dialects of English. Irtapil (talk) 15:57, 1 March 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
the USA certainly sounds different, but Australia and NZ sound more like the UK than USA, so north/south seems like a strange divide. Irtapil (talk) 15:57, 1 March 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I was rather confused by this section giving jail as the Australian spelling and contrasting it with supposedly British gaol. I thought it was the other way around, and after verifying that gaol was indeed rather dated in British English, I changed the entry to make gaol the typical Australian spelling. However, the Wiktionary entry (which, I know, is ineligible to be used as a source) claims gaol is dated everywhere in the Commonwealth. About Australia, it contains the rather vague statement that "Most Australian newspapers use jail rather than gaol". So, does the spelling gaol still retain some currency, apart from proper names of specific er... prisons? If so, the article should mention both alternatives for AU. If not, that means it is now jail in the entire English-speaking world and the entry should be removed from the table altogether. Steinbach (talk) 12:00, 8 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to Macquarie Dictionary, "In general the spelling of this word has shifted in Australian English from gaol to jail. However, gaol remains fossilised in the names of jails, as Parramatta Gaol, and in some government usage." This seems to match the situation in British English. My sixth edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary says, "In Britain, gaol is used in some official contexts, but otherwise is restricted to literary use, jail being the usual form. In American English, jail is the usual spelling."
Given this, I would support removing the entry on "jail" altogether, as it seems this is the dominant spelling across all varieties of English. Wcp07 (talk) 01:36, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This older person still uses "gaol". I won't insist on younger people using it. They've all had too much American media impacting their lives from birth. But to act as if the older spelling simply no longer exists would be wrong. As noted above, it still exists in the names of older gaols. HiLo48 (talk) 01:48, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Wcp07 actually, gaol seems to be outdated in all national English varieties listed in the table, so it may be best to omit it altogether. Does anyone know whether the Australian Oxford Dictionary spells jail as jail or gaol? If it favours gaol, we may include both spellings in the table under Australian English and keep that row, otherwise I vote we scrap that row. HiLo48, I'm afraid English evolves throughout the ages with new words being formed and different spellings becoming dominant. In the 19th century, when those jails were named, gaol may have been the dominant spelling, but our language has evolved since then and jail is now the dominant spelling. Fuse809 (contribs · email · talk · uploads) 03:58, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A bit of a straw man argument there. I'm pretty sure I acknowledged that language evolves, so there's no need to be afraid. I also at no point argued that "gaol" is the dominant spelling today. But is that what we're talking about here? Do we simply pretend that less common but perfectly valid variants exist? HiLo48 (talk) 04:14, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My apologies, I may have misread your reply a little. The table shows dominant spellings mate favoured by the Macquarie Dictionary, e.g. encyclopaedia is still a spelling used in Australia, especially in older texts, and it's a perfectly valid spelling, but because it is less used we do not list it in the table. I'm sure in Canada it has been used too, but because it's not the dominant variety we omit it due to space constraints. Likewise, I've seen people spell yoghurt as yogurt in Australia, and while it's a perfectly acceptable spelling variant etymologically, because it's not the dominant one it's not listed in the table. Just like how we omit the spelling analogue from the table because while it has been used in Oz, and is perfectly valid, it is not favoured by the Macquarie Dictionary. Likewise, I've read product information sheets (sheets that list drug info from the manufacturer) and they often favour the foetus spelling instead of fetus, despite being Australian, but we omitted the foetus spelling because fetus is favoured in Australia. Fuse809 (contribs · email · talk · uploads) 05:06, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That seems a very narrow way to describe a language. HiLo48 (talk) 05:13, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What you've identified there mate is the limitation of using a table to summarize a language and its differences from other closely related languages. The reality is that even if we list all spelling variants used in each country, we still won't have a fair comparison, because doesn't the popularity of the spellings and the main context in which each variant predominantly appears also relevant? We won't be able to fit that info into the table, so the table will never be a truly fair comparison. My guess is if we list all spelling variants used in each country the Australian, Canadian and British columns will look almost identical (assuming we omit context and frequency info), and the only one that'll look even a little different will be the American column. Fuse809 (contribs · email · talk · uploads) 05:18, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that the table should only list the most common spellings. Given that a table of this kind can only provide a limited overview of the spelling differences in each variety of English, it would make sense to remove a word that appears to be the less used variant in all varieties. We can always note at the top of the table that variants to these spellings are still nevertheless accepted in each language. Wcp07 (talk) 07:31, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
...or not. A single word in a table entry could mean that it's the only spelling that's ever used, or the one that's mostly used, or maybe used 60% of the time. Is such a table really very useful at all? HiLo48 (talk) 07:36, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It has its limitations, of course, but some people don't want a big, bulky section to get a basic idea of the spelling differences, what they want is a quick summary of the differences in spelling and a table can be helpful there. We're not picking spellings out at random to put them into the table, we're choosing the variants that each nation's leading dictionary favours. Fuse809 (contribs · email · talk · uploads) 07:57, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, the discussion has flourished quite a bit in my absence... I think we reached a consensus that the spelling gaol is unusual today even in Australia. The fact that Wikipedia users still use it is of course anecdotal evidence and therefore unusable. The fact that the spelling gaol is still used in the name of some prisons is also irrelevant: proper names don't have to conform to changing spelling conventions. There are loads of English pubs with the combination ye olde ... in their name, that doesn't mean ye and olde are still common variants of the and old. I think we can safely remove the entry from the table for reasons given above. If someone wants to add nuance to the question, s/he may consider amending the Wiktionary lemma. Steinbach (talk) 23:18, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The table doesn't have the word "common" in its title. Nobody is arguing that "gaol" is the most common anyway. Just that it still exists. Which it does. The table is problematic because it ignores anything but the most common spelling. Your standard would ignore a word used by 49% of the population. That's just dumb. HiLo48 (talk) 23:26
Thanks for the compliment. No, it has been argued extensively that authoritative dictionaries favour jail rather than gaol. And no, my standard would not ignore a big minority. But if a particular spelling is no longer stereotypically Australian, it doesn't belong here. For your information, the spelling centre does in fact occur in the US. But that doesn't mean it should be included as a possible variant in tables like these, for it would give the wrong impression. Steinbach (talk) 23:58, 9 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The vowel chart seems wildly off the mark[edit]

The chart seems to resemble Estuary English phonetics more than actual Australian phonetics, which may or may not be due to it being outdated, or perhaps because of its describing particularly the cultivation variation of the Australian accent, instead of the general variation. However, it's pretty clear that almost all entries in the chart do not represent the phonology of general Australian accent accurately.

Let's analyse an archetypal example of the modern Australian accent in a sample of Australian astrophysicist Matt O'Dowd's presentation for PBS Spacetime: [2], and go through some entries in the chart one by one:

  • At 0:15, we hear the "i" in "big" pronounced as i and clearly not ɪ, as in the chart
  • At 0:44, we hear the "e" in "Penrose" pronounced as ɪ (with the letter "e" being previously pronounced as e in "end" at 0:39, seemingly due to it being at the start of a word) and clearly not ɛ, as in the chart
  • At 1:49, we hear the "er" in "rubber" pronounced as ɑ and not ə, as in the chart (although the "ure" in "future" was previously pronounced as ə at 0:47, but this seems to be an exception rather than the rule)
  • At 0:55, we hear the "aye" in "decayed" pronounced as ɐɪ and not æɪ, as in the chart
  • At 0:17, we hear the "i" in "like" pronounced as ɒə (with the ə being very short) and not ɑɪ, as in the chart

And these are only some examples. Can anyone find better sources and correct the chart, please? Because, as we've already seen from the sample presented, the current chart is very misleading. YourAverageMax (talk) 13:40, 26 July 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • That's incorrect. He is is pronouncing it as [ɪ]
  • That's incorrect. He is pronouncing it as [e], I think you are confusing [ɛ] for [e]
  • [ɑ], [a] or [ɐ] are some realisations of /ə/ in open or bare syllables in General Australian English. This is mentioned in the article Australian English phonology. But /ə/ is still the phoneme, and [ɑ] is just a phonetic realisation in this environment. Perhaps the environment of this sound change does not include the /ə/ after /j/ as in "failure" for this individual speaker.
  • He is clearly saying /æɪ/, although his [æ] is not exact, as per the fronting diphthong chart in the Australian English phonology article. "[ɐɪ]" is the diphthong in "mine" and not "main".
  • This is wrong. To me he is pronouncing it exactly as /ɑɪ/. You can't even see his lips round as he says it.
Jimydog000 (talk) 14:19, 21 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The final section of the article, on keyboard layout, has got me wondering whether Aussies use the British “different from” or the American “different than”. Anyone? Mr Larrington (talk) 08:51, 24 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't think I've ever seen a survey on that. I say "different from", and I've definitely heard "different than", but you might find "different to" is more common. HiLo48 (talk) 09:30, 24 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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