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Title: Review of 'Australian English, An Historical Study of the Vocabulary 1788-1898'. By W. S. Ramson. Canberra, Australian National University Press. London, Oxford University Press. Pp. 195. $A.4.50 45s.
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S  (author)
Publication Date: 1967
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Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 199999 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified
200209 Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies
200206 Globalisation and Culture
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 950304 Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage
939901 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education
950503 Understanding Australias Past
Abstract: At first sight this book might appear to have little to offer to interest the folklorist, yet this is very far from being the case. The intention is a survey of the Australian vocabulary in the colonizing period and so a categorization of that lexis. This last process very speedily establishes that the Australian has not been so extraordinarily inventive in vocabulary nor yet has he had to depend so much on 'slang', both of which suppositions have been a matter of cultural dogma for several generations. Dr Ramson's personal contribution to linguistic studies is a demonstration that many of the nineteenth-century words, unfamiliar to past and present speakers of Standard British English, had long histories of use in less refined circles, in the slang of the lower class or in regional dialect vocabularies. His starting point has been the obvious one (hitherto not observed by any scholar) of assuming the speech community was derivative, of ascertaining the processes whereby a population almost exclusively of British descent varied an inherited language. Although the treatment is not exhaustive, and proceeds at the ambling pace of George H. McKnight's 'Modern English in the Making' (1928), the book is stimulating and serves as a most valuable corrective of perspective.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Folklore, 78(1), p. 72-74
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1469-8315
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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