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Department of Linguistics

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Play soundbites of Australian voices on Audio Illustrations . . .

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Do people from different places speak with different accents? Use our Regional Accents Map to find out . . .

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This website celebrates the many and varied Australian English voices.

aussie accents to be preserved for posterity

We are pleased to announce the launch of a national initiative to collect the accents of 1000 Australian English
speakers. Australian English accents from adults of all ages from various locations in all states and territories will be collected to represent the regional and social diversity of Australian English. To become involved visit (austalk.edu.au).

language

australian english

Australian English is the standard language spoken in Australia. It is the language used by people who are born
and raised in this country and also by those who immigrate during childhood or early adolescence. In addition to English, over 200 languages are spoken in Australia and more than 50,000 people speak an Australian indigenous language (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006).

Different faces of Australian people

Amongst native-born Australians, at least three categories of English exist: Standard Australian English, varieties of Aboriginal English, and various ethnocultural Australian English dialects. Australian English functions as a significant and extremely powerful symbol of national identity. It is one of the well-known World Englishes and is a mature dialect with its own internal norms and standards. All Australian English dialect types significantly reflect Australian identity but, in addition, reveal the cultural affiliation of the speaker, whether Australian, Lebanese, Greek, Indigenous, Vietnamese or the myriad of other cultural choices available to Australians in the 21st century. The label ‘Australian English’ should be considered a term that embraces all of these various dialectal types. Such a modification to the traditional concept of Australian English will help capture the linguistic landscape of the changing Australian culture.

Prominent Australian author, Tim Winton, in his 2009 Miles Franklin Award acceptance speech, acknowledged the important cultural value of embracing Australian stories and telling them with our own accent. "The cultural cringe died a long slow death while I was a kid. I was a beneficiary of a new optimism and confidence in Australia . . . Australian writers began to be honoured at home and to be treated as equals abroad. I feel incredibly lucky to have come of age in a country that honours its own stories and accents." A video of his speech can be found at http://breath.timwinton.com.au.

level of study

relevant information for your level of study

In addition to presenting an educational website, we have structured the site so that students and researchers can easily access the information most relevant to them.

If you have explored the introductory pages and are keen to learn more about the Australian accent, the STUDY BASICS section will equip you with a basic understanding of the relevant linguistics terms and approach to study so that you can better understand the ADVANCED STUDY information. On the Further Study page, you'll find a great deal of information about the way in which vowels and consonants are pronounced by speakers of Australian English, including many audio examples and interactive charts.

This site will be continually updated as new research information becomes available.

reference this site

Please acknowledge any reference to this site using the following:
Cox, F. and Palethorpe, S. (2010) Australian Voices, Macquarie University, http://clas.mq.edu.au/australian-voices

Warning: This site contains the images and voices of people who have passed away.