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Australian English: an historical study of the vocabulary 1788-1898.

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Australian English: an historical study of the vocabulary 1788-1898.
Author(s): Ramson, W. S.
Date published: 1966
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
Australian English has been variously received: English visitors have called it barbarous and corrupt; Australians have seen it as a unique and distinctive national language. Dr Ramson{u2019}s study places it in the context of other branches of the English language, of which it is a natural extension. He examines the main sources and character of the vocabulary the nineteenth-century settlers brought to Australia, the histories of the words they borrowed or adapted to meet the needs of their new environment: words such as billy, dinkum, and larrikin, from the regional dialects of the British Isles, muster and station, put to new use in Australia, or new words such as stockman and stockyard, borrowings from Aboriginal languages, from American English (whence bush and bushranger), and from immigrant minorities. Earlier attempts to record and describe Australian English have aroused popular interest and also certain partisan and polemical attitudes. Dr Ramson demonstrates the need for restraint and care in making such claims, and argues that Australian English is neither barbarous nor uniquely national; basically it is Standard English, its extensions occasioned by a new environment but fed by the settlers{u2019} existing vocabulary and controlled by their link with the mother country.


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