New study to examine Aussie English - Do we sound the same?

23 March 2015

A new study of Australian English is trying to find out if Australians all sound the same, or if people speak differently in the country compared to cities or across the states.

PhD researcher Sydney Kingstone from the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics is conducting a nation-wide survey to find out what Australians think about their English.

“Australians believe people in rural areas sound very different to those living in cities, and that people in Queensland, Adelaide, and Western Sydney sound different from each other,” Mrs Kingstone said.

“By looking at what people think about the language varieties they speak, linguists have better insight into what shapes language and culture.”

Mrs Kingstone is looking for volunteers to take part in the first national on-line survey exploring language attitudes to Australian English, an important part of understanding Australian culture and identity.

“By exploring where people identify dialect differences, and how people describe their neighbours and themselves, we can learn more about Australia’s current cultural and social landscape,” Mrs Kingstone said.

“Our attitudes to language help linguists better understand how languages form and change.

“Even with a variety like Australian English, which is seen as sounding very similar across Australia at the outset, people have strong opinions about how people talk.”

Many Australians recognise different words for bathing costumes depending on where you live, and different regional pronunciations of words such as ‘school’ and ‘dance’.

“We are hoping this survey captures a snapshot of Australian culture through the way Australians describe regional and social language variation.”

The national survey is open to all Australians and takes around 15 minutes to complete. The survey can be accessed here