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Original Published Date: 
Thursday, October 15, 2020

A new research project led by Professor Kate Burridge from Monash University has been awarded $282,726 funding through the ARC's 2020 Special Research Initiative for Australian Society, History and Culture to investigate the uniqueness of Australian vernacular English from the late 1800s until today.

Australians have always regarded their colloquial language as an important indicator of their Australianness, but many also worry that Australian slang is under threat. The project team will develop a new understanding of Australia’s novel, often entertaining, use of words, which the researchers say has been largely ignored by formal study. This project seeks to understand the Australian vernacular has changed over time, the metaphors underlying Australian English expressions and what this language tells us about Australian culture and its embedded values.

By distinguishing Australian colloquial English from other varieties, such as British and American English, the project also seeks to uncover whether Australians really do live up to their popular image of having an unusually rich and creative slang — and if and how this language reflects Australian culture and identity.

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Image: Pixabay.