Is Australia about to descend into civil warfare over whether a deep-fried potato snack is rightfully called a “potato cake” or a “potato scallop”? From some current headlines, you may be forgiven for thinking so.
A sequence of maps showing differences in phrases used throughout Australia sparked fierce debates on-line over the virtues of calling a barbecued sausage served in a single slice of bread a “sausage in bread” or a “sausage sandwich”.
Given that these maps had been put together as a part of an educational exercise for college students collaborating within the Linguistics Roadshow, the huge curiosity in the way in which Australian English is used across the country took us abruptly. But, perhaps it shouldn’t have.
It’s usually said that Australian English doesn’t vary much geographically – and it’s true that we don’t find the identical striking linguistic differences across the nation as in some other corners of the English-talking world.
However, previous and ongoing analysis has shown that there are some regional differences. Among the most obvious are the words people use for the same thing, corresponding to swimwear – preferences for “togs”, “swimmers”, “cossie” or “bathers” vary markedly across the states and territories.
Words for swimwear around Australia Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping phrases round Australia'
Where do these linguistic variations stem from?
Australian English developed from the speech of colonists from numerous parts of the British Isles, so typically the word used in a specific Australian area is the results of one option successful out amongst people from completely different British backgrounds.
Others might be derived from the names of people or manufacturers, or borrowed from native Indigenous languages.
Each word has its own historical past, however many words across the country have a shared historical past - that’s what makes these exceptions stand out.
What’s fascinating is simply how neatly some of this variation traces up with state strains, which suggests that there's something more than just the historic decisions made by colonists or the distance between completely different places contributing to these variations.
Striking examples of this phenomenon could be seen for border towns corresponding to Albury-Wodonga, the place a short walk across the bridge means you’ll hear a majority of individuals using a unique word for swimwear.
More ‘bathers’ on the Victorian facet of the border, extra ‘swimmers’ on the New South Wales aspect. Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping phrases around Australia' Whether you name your swimwear, togs, bathers, swimsuit, budgie smugglers doesn’t matter, the fact is you must buy high quality Australian Made chlorine resistant swimwear, if you'd like your swimwear to be comfy and final.
This is as a result of certain words turn into strongly related to a regional identification.
When there may be multiple option to choose from, people would possibly use a specific word because it’s the commonest term of their community, but in addition as a result of that word indexes a broader group id, such as Victorian versus New South Wales.
Words are particularly good at doing this type of work: they very easily become id markers that people orient to.
Pronunciation variations also can function in this means: does “dance” rhyme with “aunts” or “pants” for you?
Other sorts of variation can fly under the radar as a result of they’re more subtle, or part of a change in progress.
Many Australians usually are not aware, for example, that in elements of Victoria “celery” is pronounced extra like “wage” – listen out for it subsequent time you’re in “Malbourne”!
When we communicate we have a tendency to use the phrases, pronunciations and linguistic patterns that we hear most often within the communities we stay in.
Identity is a dynamic and ongoing process that we all actively participate in, and we use the variation inherent in language to precise who we're at any given second.
What is Australian English?
Australian English is mostly a broad cowl time period for several types of English used throughout the nation, together with the varieties utilized by completely different Indigenous and ethnocultural groups.
This is cross-reduce by the linguistic preferences of people representing completely different age teams, gender identities, and social and cultural backgrounds, with different vocations, interests and networks.
We are a part of many communities simultaneously and may express our belonging in various methods.
Someone could be an Australian, a Thai descendent, a soccer participant, a girl, a pupil of drugs, and a Tumblr user, and be very adept at gauging the completely different areas they participate in and choosing how they want to establish within them.
This is an important part of what languages do – they permit us to communicate not simply information, but something about who we are.
‘Sausage sandwiches’ are most popular in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping phrases around Australia'
So, subsequent time you end up arguing about sausage sandwiches versus sausages in bread, remember that whichever time period you employ, you’re contributing to the dynamic linguistic diversity of Australia.