The codification of Australian English

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The evolution of Australian English has taken place over 200 years, largely in line with the key phases of Schneider’s (2007) evolutionary model for postcolonial Englishes - with codification at a late stage. It was anticipated publications such as Morris’s dictionary (1898), and in Baker’s more discursive The Australian Language (1945). But only after World War II were the phonology, orthography, style and lexicogrammar of Australian English fully described. The phonetics and sociolinguistics of the Australian accent were scoped in Mitchell and Delbridge’s large research survey (1965), and Australian orthographic style was set in successive editions of the Australian Government Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers from 1966 on. The everyday Australian lexicon has been codified in successive editions of the Macquarie Dictionary (1981 on), while the Australian National Dictionary (1988) contains a historical record of distinctively Australian words and phrases. Usage guides such as Murray-Smith’s Right Words (1987/1989) and others provide wider discussion of Australian usage norms. But the evolutionary process often tangled with contrary trends in Australian social history, making the path to codification less clearly marked than Schneider’s reference dates. The directions for Australian English in the post-codification present (differentiation) and future are also less predictable.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian English reimagined
Subtitle of host publicationstructure, features and developments
EditorsLouisa Willoughby, Howard Manns
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429019692
ISBN (Print)9780367029395
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge studies in world Englishes

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