Aboriginal english(es)

Greg Dickson*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Around 650, 000 Australians are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, but only a small proportion are fluent in an Indigenous language. Instead, most use English in daily life - varieties that often distinguishable from those used by non-Indigenous Australians, yet still largely comprehensible (unlike contact languages such as Kriol which are largely indecipherable to most Australians). Aboriginal ways of using English are often clustered under the moniker Aboriginal English. This chapter tracks some of the research that has been conducted on Aboriginal English(es) and discusses some distinctive phonological, grammatical and lexical features. Pragmatic aspects are discussed, as these have also been widely noted as features that distinguish Aboriginal English(es) from other Australian English varieties. Sociolinguistic aspects are mentioned, including sociolinguistic variation as well as diglossic aspects and communication issues that researchers have found affect Aboriginal English speakers in education and legal domains. This chapter adds to this by considering the use of Aboriginal English in popular culture. Film, television and social media now contribute to Aboriginal English varieties’ growing visibility in Australia. Features demonstrated in these media reflect findings in linguistic research that have been taking place for the past half-century.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAustralian English Reimagined
    Subtitle of host publicationStructure, Features and Developments
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Number of pages21
    ISBN (Electronic)9780429672606
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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