What does Australian English look and sound like today, and how does it reflect our identity as a nation? Language use in Australia constantly and rapidly changes to reflect the ever-evolving Australian national identity. It is being influenced by American culture, through its pervasive media, and altered to create a unique identity that addresses the needs of the younger Australians. Technology, the loss and gain of expressions, changing perception of taboo words and political correctness also attribute to the way that language has evolved to fabricate our national identity.
American culture is increasingly affecting the way Australians use language. The dominance and omnipresence of the US entertainment industry, be it film, television, music or media, plays an important role in modifying Australia’s national identity. From the wide array of Americanisms to the myriad of pronunciation and spelling differences, these American influences have targeted almost every subsystem of language. Australians are now sometimes at loss as to knowing how to correctly pronounce certain words, for example ‘Address’ and ‘Address’, ‘Territory’ and “Terri-tree”, “Labratory” and ‘Labora-tree’, and ‘Libary’ and “Libe-ree”. This has led to a mixture of different phonologies from both American and Australian/British pronunciations; a clear sign of an ever-evolving linguistic national identity as it shows Australia has yet to decide whether to sever our phonological ties with Britain and embrace American influence or not. The impact of American culture has also introduced many morphological changes in which, as a nation, we have decided to embrace. A powerful example comes from an Australian political party, which, in anticipation of the possible domination of Americanisation across the globe, has decided to spell their party name as ‘Labor’, as opposed to the British and Standard Australian English ‘Labour’. Other common examples include the American use of ‘z’ versus the British...
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