Australian English

phonetics and phonology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Australian English differs from other Englishes of the world in its syntax, lexicon and idiom, but it is the constellation of phonetic and phonological features that immediately signal ‘Australian’ to a listener. The phonetic and phonological features determine the characteristics of an individual’s accent and include the fine phonetic detail of voice quality and pitch variation, the precise articulatory and acoustic characteristics of the consonant and vowel sounds and how these are combined and overlap to form words and larger utterances. The Australian accent is one of the most potent symbols of Australian national identity. But what is the nature of the Australian accent today and how has it evolved in response to the rapidly changing society in which we live? Extraordinary sociocultural change in Australia in recent decades has led to increased linguistic variation in the community, necessitating a re-evaluation of ideas about the Australian accent and its various forms. In this chapter I will explore the origins and evolution of the Australian English accent with reference to acoustic analyses of both archival and current speech data to illustrate where the accent has come from, how it got to where it is now and where it may be headed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian English reimagined
Subtitle of host publicationstructure, features and developments
EditorsLouisa Willoughby, Howard Manns
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780429019692
ISBN (Print)9780367029395
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge studies in world Englishes


  • Australian English
  • phonetics
  • phonology

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    Cite this

    Cox, F. (2020). Australian English: phonetics and phonology. In L. Willoughby, & H. Manns (Eds.), Australian English reimagined: structure, features and developments (pp. 15-33). (Routledge studies in world Englishes). London: Routledge.