Volume title: The Ethnopragmatics of Australian English
This is the first issue of Griffith Working Papers in Pragmatics and Intercultural Communication. This publication features select work by undergraduate and Honours students in the School of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University enrolled in courses on pragmatics and intercultural communication. We believe that this work deserves a wider audience as it involves original data collection and analysis. Indeed, many of these topics have received scant attention in the literature so far.
In this issue, the focus is on the ethnopragmatics of Australian English, in particular, cultural keywords, speech patterns and norms of interaction. Although English is the most widely studied second/foreign language in the world and is regularly used by more than a billion speakers, the study of differences in the ways varieties of English are used is only just emerging. This issue makes a modest contribution in that direction.
Dr Michael Haugh
Michael Haugh is a Senior Lecturer convening the International English program in the School of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. His main research interests include pragmatics and intercultural communication. He has published work in the Journal of Pragmatics, Intercultural Pragmatics, Pragmatics, Multilingua, Journal of Politeness Research, and Discourse, and is co-editing a forthcoming bookFace, Communication and Social Interaction (Equinox), as well as editing a special issue on 'Intention in pragmatics' for Intercultural Pragmatics (2008).
Dr Susana Eisenchlas
Susana Eisenchlas is a Senior Lecturer convening the Linguistics program in the School of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Her Doctoral Dissertation was in the area of syntactic theory and first language acquisition. She also conducts research and publishes in the area of internationalisation of the curriculum and the teaching of intercultural communication from a linguistic perspective. She is co-editor of the book Australian Perspectives on Internationalising Education (2003).
Author: Michael Haugh and Susana Eisenchlas
Some lexical variations of Australian Aboriginal English
Author: Troy Vinson
Troy Vinson is of Australian Aboriginal and Anglo Australian descent. He is a mature age student currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics at Griffith University Brisbane.
His academic interests include Australian Aboriginal languages, the Chinese language, pragmatics and intercultural communication, and general linguistics.
This report explores the variety of English known as Australian Aboriginal English. It analyses some lexical variations uncovered through studying realistic Aboriginal English language usage from two films; Blackfellas and Rabbit Proof Fence. It confirms that Aboriginal English has its own grammatical and semantic systems enabling its users to express things that can be expressed with Standard English alongside things that can not be expressed with Standard English.
The report points out that for many Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginal English is a link to tradition and community and that it is often used as a solidarity marker and an expression of Aboriginal identity. It shows that almost all lexical variations in Aboriginal English mark solidarity and that Aboriginal English is a symbol of cultural maintenance. It explains that for many Aboriginal people, gestures and vocal articulations are interchangeable within Aboriginal English.
The report describes how Aboriginal English has arisen. It posits that, due to either linguistic imperialism or the unwillingness of the British colonisers to adopt any of the 250 Aboriginal languages or approximately 600 dialects as a common language, the indigenous population over generations grafted their grammatical and semantic systems onto British Standard English.
'Bogan': Polite or not? Cultural implications of a term in Australian slang
Author: Kay Bartolo
Kay Frances Bartolo has recently completed a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. Kay is furthering her studies this year at The Australian National University in Canberra, where she hopes to attain a Master of Translation Studies.
Although changes in the usage of words in English are emerging through globalisation and travel, Australian slang has kept its strong ties to Australian culture. The main aim of this research was to look at the term ‘bogan’, whether it is used in a derogatory way in Australian English, and what effects culture can have on its use and acceptance.
Research was conducted using a small corpus built of Australian slang and data taken from ethno‐pragmatic interviews with Australian‐born native speakers of English. It was concluded from the research that the term can be used both negatively, as a negative comment or impolite projection of a social identity onto a person who does not identify themselves within that classification by the older generation, and positively, as a sign of solidarity or a compliment amongst members of the same in‐group by the younger generation. The factors found to affect the result of the use of this term are the cultural stereotype that the user attaches to the meaning and the cultural understanding of the listener.
Aussie 'battler' as a cultural keyword in Australian English
Author: Noriko Sekiya
Noriko Sekiya is an international student from Japan, currently in her third year studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics at Griffith University. Noriko is interested in learning and teaching languages, and is planning to complete a Graduate Diploma of Education after her Bachelor degree, and become a teacher.
The purpose of this research project was to examine the cultural term battler in Australian English. During the development of this paper, it was discovered that the use of this term is reflective of culture. Despite there being many meaning choices for the word, Australians use the term battler with particular meaning related to their cultural attitudes, such as toughness, informality, modesty and egalitarianism. It is vital to understand what people mean by particular words in their culture, and the values behind the word, in order to accurately understand their culture.
To expand the analysis, a corpus was made to target the word battler in written texts. The fifty‐four data entries collected through the newspaper article database were analysed according to their usage tendency. The paper also compares the different Australian usages of battler in with those in American English and British English. This paper supports the view that the entrenchment of specific meanings of battler is reflective of the Australian identity manifested through Australians’ use of the word.
"Where the bloody hell are you?": Bloody hell and (im)politeness in Australian English
Author: Minha Hong
Minha Hong was born in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea. She is a candidate for the Bachelor of Arts at the Korea University, Seoul, Korea, studying English literature, linguistics, translation and interpretation. She studied at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia for a year in 2007, on the KU‐Griffith Study Abroad Program.
Controversy surrounds the Tourism Australia campaign catch phrase “Where the bloody hell are you?” Some think that the catch phrase shows light‐hearted play on stereotypical characteristics of Australia such as “informality”, “casualness” and “friendliness”. Others say that, since the ad represents Australia, it should show more politeness and courtesy in standing for the country.
This research first analysed based on corpus data how Australians use “bloody hell” in their casual conversation. Using ethnographic interviewing of Australian and non‐Australian English speakers, the research then sought to uncover perceptions of the level of (im)politeness of these words. Lastly, the results of this analysis were used to explored how this phrase is used between speakers of different varieties of English.
The research indicates that from an intercultural point of view, saying “bloody hell” is perceived differently when it comes to (im)politeness. It may be considered to be impolite in other cultures; however, it has been part of the ordinary discourse of Australian English speakers for a long time. Therefore, it should be respected as a common and casual Australian phrase used in their everyday life to show their characteristics of casualness and friendliness.
"Keepin' it real, mate": A study of identity in Australian Hip Hop
Author: Zachariah Dominello
Zachariah Dominello is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics at Griffith University. Majoring in Spanish, Linguistics and also studying Italian, Zachariah intends to graduate in semester 1, 2008.
This paper examines identity construction among Australian hip hop (AHH) artists. Data was gathered by comparing phonological differences between artists’ performance speech and regular speech. After examining the gathered information, a pattern became clear where the AHH artists tended to use a Broad Australian English (AusE) accent whent performing, while using Standard AusE in regular speech. The use of Broad AusE is argued to be used by the artists to differentiate themselves from their US hip hop counterparts, and to show unity in the Australian hip hop community.
Foreign-trained versus British-trained: Exploring the identity of non-Australian trained medical professionals in the Australian print media
Author: Alina Sullivan
Alina Sullivan is a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics. Her interests lie in the areas of discourse analysis and intercultural communication studies. Her linguistic repertoire includes Russian, Romanian, English, French and Spanish languages and she shares a great interest in learning about different cultures and different languages around the world.
In view of an escalating need for foreign‐trained health professionals in Australia today, social issues related to migrant doctors have become salient in the Australian media. The aim of this paper was to analyse the ways in which the identity of a medical professional is constructed in the context of news reports in the Australian print media. Moreover, it was sought to contrast the media representation of a foreign doctor from a non‐western background with that of one from a British background.
Ten newspaper articles from the Courier Mail, dating from 2005 to 2007, were analysed using narrative theory and critical discourse analysis. This analysis indicated that within the social category of oversees‐trained doctors there is a good–evil opposition being created between foreign‐trained and British‐trained doctors. In addition it was observed that the constructed identities of foreign‐trained doctors tend to have a dual nature. They are portrayed as the desired addition to the society through government programs on one hand and as the villain that the same‐said society should be wary of on the other. The targeted audience is being presented with issues of ethnicity, religion, social heritage and country of origin as the main components of the identity of a migrant doctor.