Australian narrative voices and the colloquial element in nineteenth century written registers

Pam Peters*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper analyses the colloquial elements used in the narratives of three Australian writers of the later nineteenth century-Marcus Clarke, AJ Boyd and Henry Lawson-to investigate whether their narrative styles can be traced back to nineteenth century journalism. A set of four reference corpora were created out of the COOEE corpus data (its narrative and newspaper categories) for the last two quartiles of the century, and one for each of the three writers. Six linguistic variables from Biber's multidimensional analysis representing interactive speech were used for four-way comparisons among the reference corpora, showing contrasting shifts in style. The later narratives proved increasingly colloquial in style, and the later news reporting increasingly impersonal. The use of colloquial elements intensifies from Clarke to Boyd to Lawson, and is always more marked than in the reference corpora. Their narrative voices are their own, not simply derived from contemporary narrative or news writing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)100-117
    Number of pages18
    JournalAustralian Journal of Linguistics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • colloquial style
    • narrative
    • Australian English
    • nineteenth century journalism


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