The bush in Australian English

Helen Bromhead*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    The Englishes of British settlers in different parts of the world reflect the history and culture of their respective societies. In expanding to distant lands, colonists encountered natural environments very different from those of Britain. As a consequence, the English of British settlers in different countries has changed in response to new landscapes. Individual landscape terms in various languages do not always have exact equivalents in other languages, or even in different varieties of the same language. One example is the term the bush in Australian English. The bush denotes an Australian landscape zone, but the word has developed additional senses related to culture and human geography. This study delineates the semantics of the bush in Australian English in relation to Australian culture. These meanings of the bush are described using the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach to linguistic analysis. The study finds that the bush is a keyword in Australian culture. Overall the study shows that in Australian English and other settler Englishes the meanings of national landscape terms can shed light on the relationship between settlers' cultures, and their new environments and ways of life.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)445-471
    Number of pages27
    JournalAustralian Journal of Linguistics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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