Shape shift: Australian English vowel change

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Australian English is one of our most powerful symbols of national identity. It differs from other world Englishes in its grammar, lexicon and idiom, but it is pronunciation that immediately signals "Australian" to a listener. In the 21st century, Australian English is considered the standard dialect of this country but this was not always the case. Throughout much of the 20th century, Received Pronunciation of British English was regarded as the form to which Australians should aspire. Post WWII, however, saw a sociocultural shift away from Britain with increasing political and economic self-reliance, greater emphasis on establishing new global relationships, and multiculturalism. Parallel linguistic evolution also occurred in the community at this time including significant changes in pronunciation. The Australian English accent, like all spoken language, can be considered organic in the way it responds to external sociocultural influences. Such external pressures lead to internal self organisational fluctuation in the language and these two forces contribute to a system that is constantly changing. The evolution of the Australian English accent has been the subject of much research over the past 10 years as we attempt to establish the phonetic processes by which sound change occurs. In this paper, I will examine some of the recent research into Australian English pronunciation, focusing on accent shift and the changing shape of the vowel system over the past 100 years.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    EventAustralian Linguistic Society Annual Conference - Brisbane
    Duration: 7 Jul 20069 Jul 2006


    ConferenceAustralian Linguistic Society Annual Conference


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