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Title: Review of Graham Seal, 'The Lingo: Listening to Australian English'. University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2052: University of New South Wales Press, 1998. Paper. Pp.ix, 213. ISBN 0 86840 680 5. R.R.P. $29.95.
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S (author)
Publication Date: 2000
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Abstract: This dynamic book was a needed one and it has already become one of the half dozen classic volumes on (demotic) Australian English from the second half of the twentieth century, as the people of the southern continent have lurched awkwardly to a clearer sense of identity and so of their nationhood. Thus it must be read alongside 'The Macquarie Dictionary' (1981) and the work of the New Zealander, W. S. Ramson as inspirer and editor of 'The Australian National Dictionary' (1988), as well as S. J. Baker's 'The Australian Language' (Second-edition, 1966). The first two of these are lexical productions, the second concentrating on the historical evolution of English in Australia and illustrating this by copious quotations from various decades. Barker's fine expanded work (second edition) was a hugely sympathetic and sensitive account of a New Australian's experience of (social) English from his ultimate position as distinguished linguist-become newspaper editor. The present work complements these two approaches by a more earthy one by an Australian-born man of the people. While it acknowledges the influence of the 'mountainous works' (p.209) of Eric Partridge - like Baker and Rawson later, he was also a New Zealander - it is concerned, rightly, to stress the particular demotic significance of: GA Wilkes' work on colloquialisms; W. Hornage's 'The Australian Slanguage' (1980); M. Johansen's 'The Dinkum Dictionary' (1988, etc.) and the speech of the women and families as represented by Nancy Keesing's 'Lily on the Dustbin' (1982) and Gwenda Beed Davey's 'Snug as a Bug: Scenes from Australian Family Life' (1990). In all of these matters its touch is sure and its emphasis the correct one.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Australian Folklore, v.15, p. 241-242
Publisher: Australian Folklore Association
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISSN: 0819-0852
Field of Research (FOR): 160301 Family and Household Studies
200302 English Language
160403 Social and Cultural Geography
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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