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Description of Australian English. Not all of Australian English is informal, let alone ragged-trousered. Generally, only some elements of the Broad and General accents

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Introduction

ENGLISH LANGUAGE: ESSAY "A ragged-trousered informality; a laconically expressed desire for independence; an irremovable parochialism; a prolific power to create both euphemisms and expressions that go beyond normal profanity." - Dr Robert Burchfield, chief editor of the Oxford English dictionary, discussing Australians and their speech. IS THIS AN ACCURATE DESCRIPTION OF AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH? This quote by Dr. Robert Burchfield is a partly correct description of Australian English, though at times can be misaligned. First of all, the formality of Australian English is not ragged-trousered, despite our tendency to alter the morphology or phonology of words. It is also invalid to say Australian English has an irremovable parochialism and that our great number of euphemisms and expressions go beyond normal profanity. However, we are, in a way, laconically expressing our desire for independence through our language, through our use of rich expressions and wealth of expressive and original idioms. Our language is different from other varieties of English, as one would logically expect, but that does not mean our language is more informal, more profane or more parochial than any other English, be it British or American. Not all of Australian English is informal, let alone "ragged-trousered". Generally, only some elements of the Broad and General accents (and the lexicon and syntax, etc.) ...read more.

Middle

This difference in opinion is often why people find Australian English very informal: the slang and colloquialisms and foreign accents sound very deliberate and distinctive. Thus, when viewed from the perspectives of speakers of different varieties of English, such as the British and American speakers, Australian English may seem quite informal by specific comparisons, even though the opposite can be true, when the Australian does the listening. It is quite clear that Australian English has a similar degree of variation in formality and informality as any other English, even any other language; it is simply the perspective of the listener (foreigner) which tends to emphasise informalities. Australians are, in a way, laconically expressing their independence through Australian English. Our wealth of expressions and idioms are able to express a multitude of meanings in very few words, and their uniqueness expresses our national identity, confidence and pride. Examples of such bald as a bandicoot and you've got Buckley's, which are so much more effective at describing the extremity of each adjective than using normal adverbs. Our language is simply a way of differentiating Australians from Britons, Americans or any other English-speaking peoples, and perhaps is richer and more laconic as British or American English. Our unique phrases, original idioms, and some very special discourse particles (like, y'know - and even bloody at times) ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, the expressions bastard or bugger do not carry as hefty a meaning as its counterparts in British English. Many supposed dysphemistic expressions also are not considered so by most Australians, with examples like "bite your bum", for they have been in such common use in society that their negative connotations have been mostly removed. Thus Burchfield's use of "expressions that go beyond normal profanity" is a little flawed and needs to be re-evaluated in terms of perspective: an Australian perspective, a British perspective, or a worldwide perspective. There are informalities in Australian English as in any other English, but it cannot be said that there is a "ragged-trousered" informality. This is shown in the fact that, when perspective and the social climate are taken into account, Australian English is just as informal as other varieties of English. Australians also do not have an irremovably parochial language; as we are quite open to change and influence, from other varieties of English as well as foreign languages. Also, our power at creating euphemisms and expressions is great, but the degree to which they can be considered profane is very debatable, as the perspective of the listener/reader is of utmost importance. However, Dr. Robert Burchfield is quite right in saying that Australian English laconically expresses our desire for independence, for we have a many expressive expressions and idioms and a vast lexicon. ...read more.

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