Register change in the British and Australian Hansard (1901-2015)

Haidee Kruger*, Bertus van Rooy, Adam Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    “Colloquialization,” and anti-colloquial effects such as “densification,” have been shown to shape register change in English, with Australian English showing stronger effects of colloquiality than British English. Parliamentary Hansard records are at the intersection of writing and speech and are subject to various influencing factors possibly leading to change in this register, which we represent in a conceptual model. We apply Biber’s (1988) method of multidimensional analysis to examine the co-occurrence of linguistic features in the British and Australian Hansard over five consecutive time periods. The data provide evidence of shared as well as differentiated effects of colloquialization and densification across the two varieties. The evidence also points to a new type of anti-colloquial trend observed in the parliamentary register, whereby presentation of information appears to be taking the place of a more interactive and interpersonally oriented style, a trend we term “monologization.”

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)183-220
    Number of pages38
    JournalJournal of English Linguistics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


    • colloquialization
    • densification
    • Hansard
    • multidimensional analysis
    • parliamentary discourse
    • register
    • diachronic corpus


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