Top 5 Facts to Know About the Official Language of Australia

Are you aware that Ethnologue identifies around 403 languages prevailing in the land of Australia? And that within them, over 226 are utilized by the present population of 25,110,756? Exciting in real-time, right?

However, such a scene also gives rise to a vital question – “What is the state’s official language, then?” Indeed, in a country having world’s 8th largest immigration population (160 million, avg, 2019), there dwells a prime need to have one particular de jure language – usable by all.

But, quite strikingly enough, the land’s constitution does not recognize any definite dialect as the official one, even though:

  • There prevails around 215 ‘active’ languages – acknowledged as indigenous
  • Country’s 10 most popular languages are non-indigenous (as of 2019)
  • Every 2 out of 5 residents spotted turns out to be a ‘foreign-born’ and convenient in communicating in a language other than these 215.

When such diverse is the country’s linguistic texture, how are all the government activities and professional works executed? In a multi-linguistic pattern? Doesn’t that make the official processes way too time-consuming and highly complex?

Well, as a country continually promoting good governance and ranking 3rd in the world’s Human Development Index(HDI), work deadlock is the last aspect Australia ‘entertains’. How then is the widely-prevalent linguistic diversity dealt with?

As a recognition to the real-time phenomenons like -

  • 83% of the population (natives and immigrants) resort to English as own chief medium of communication 
  • British settlers were the earliest of all immigrants to the land (nearly 230 years back),

nation’s federal government upholds English as not the de jure but the de facto language of the state.

All –

  • Legislative procedures
  • Certification works
  • Official documentations
  • The principal proportion of teaching at the secondary and higher secondary levels

are executed through the world’s ‘most influential language’.

As a consequence of this, emerges the indispensability for non-English immigrants and locals to maintain all of the own formal documents, from birth certificates to drivers’ license and from employment records to marriage validations in English.

Now, to this end, as a ground-rule, only NAATI-certified translation services are recognized by the government. And within such organizations active, australiantranslationservices.com.au tops the list.

Now, what is the exact characteristics of this Australian English - more popularly known as AusE? Does it exactly match with the language’s British texture or is AusE more inclined to English’s American version?

To give every prospective immigrant and linguistic enthusiast a crystal-clear idea about the inherent nature of Australia’s official language, this write-up accounts for its 5 exclusive traits right here.

5 ‘X-Factors’ Defining Aus E

# 1 A Heavy Influence of Aboriginal Languages

Sounding strange? But such is the reality. As recorded in the Australian National Dictionary in 2016, there prevail about 500 regularly used words in the Aus E vocabulary – derived from over 100 indigenous languages.

In day-to-day life, such words are mainly utilized to describe the national flora and fauna, certain geographical locations, and especially the colonial settlements. The most popular phrases include:

  • Gubba < A non-indigenous person
  • Tidda < Best friend/peer
  • Kangaroo
  • Wallaby
  • The Carbunup River
  • Jindalee < A colony
  • Moola < Money
  • Coee < A command to ‘Come Here’
  • Gunjies < Police
  • Mish < Any certain mission

The most striking indigenous influence is noticed in the pronunciation. Aus E speakers increasingly use complex diphthongs, laying more stress over nasal resonance than the oral one. Linguistic experts, in particular, credit these two features to the dialect native to Torres Island.

# 2 The Irish Touch

One of the earliest settlers in the land (around 1791), the Irish population today count up to 70,000. And the most prominent effect of Irish linguistics over AUS E is portrayed in style ‘Broad Australian’ accent is spoken.

Examples to this end include:

  • Contraction of syllables
  • Flat speech pitching
  • Pronunciation of ‘H’ as ‘Haitch’ 
  • Utilizing the term ‘Youse’ instead of ‘You’
  • Applying ‘Me’ to mean ‘My’ at informal and homely ambiances – like “That’s Me Boy”

To know more about this Irish impact over the official language of Australia, get in touch with our experts right now

# 3 Consonant Usage by Native Speakers

As depicts the expert interpreters at australiantranslationservices.com.au, to perfectly grasp Aus E on hearing, you require to understand how it is spoken not by a British or American settler – but by a native Australian.

And this is the very reason that brings forward this third feature – the way locals use consonants in Aus E - as that is what makes the major difference in listening.

By a fundamental style, the natives:

  • Drop the ‘r’ that is the last letter in the word after a vowel – making the accent highly non-rhotic
  • Either soften the ‘t’ in-between vowels making the very syllable sound like ‘a’ or'd’; Example- “Water” sounds like “Wader”
  • Make the ‘t’, when coming at the end of a word, sound more like a glottal stop (a consonant sound made by blocking airflow in the vocal tract) ; in words where this is done, it is symbolized by ⟨⟩. Example – Cat, Flight, Put, Report
  • While pronouncing words comprising 1 consonant syllable and ‘u’, use a “yod” or the phonetic sound of /j/; in effect you hear such a word with an increasing ‘y’ effect
  • Tend to miss the ‘L’ or ‘H’ in a word by a spontaneous fashion – like making ‘House’ sound as “ ‘Ouse”
  • Infuse a distinctive /r/ sound to connect two words where two vowels come in succession; known as the Intrusive or Epenthic /r/, such a practice often lets you hear a ‘r’ in a word where it is not present

# 4 Consistent Yet Different

Language scholars around the world acknowledge Aus E as the most regionally homogenous dialect spoken in the world. However, there does exist a fine-line difference between the accents residents speak. And this is not because of the geographical separation – but for the class difference.

  • Around 55% of the general population (comprising of professionals, businesspersons, government officials) speak the ‘General Australian’ that is known to be the first accent established within the first 50 years of British settlement in the country.
  • The working-class people and village folks (about 35% of nation’s total population) use the ‘Broad Australian’ as medium of communication; this is one variation of Aus E that emerged essentially in the first half of 20th century – more as a protest against the ‘artistic’ form of English spoken by nation’s elite society.

Broad Aus E lays particular stress upon –

  • Movement of Vowels and Diphthongs
  • Nasal tonality
  • Elimination of syllables
  • Subtle pitching
  • And against which it made the protest, i.e. the ‘artistic’ Aus E is utilized by a handful of 10% population and goes by the title of ‘Cultivated Australian’. It mainly developed between the 1890s and 1950s – given to the endeavor of the upper class native society to sound quite ‘Brit’ and much less ‘Aussie’.
  • Cultivated Aus E mainly spread through elocution lessons during those days and at present is essentially utilized by the artist and acting fraternities. Hear Cate Blanchet or Geoffrey Rush speak! The lingo follows all standard rules of British English and highlights the grammatical essence of British vowels and diphthongs.

If you desire to avail accurate service over each of the 3 varieties, then australiantranslationservices.com.au comes up as the ultimate platform to stop at.

# 5 Inclination towards Abbreviations

 This is one feature that got developed essentially for the ‘cool’ and ‘leisurely’ attitude of the Aussies. As proclaim demographic experts, the people of Australia tend to communicate by saying less and expressing more emotionally.

And this, in effect has given rise to a long list of abbreviations used in daily livelihood at every spectrum- ranging from government offices, corporate sectors, peer groups, etc.

Some of them that turn essential for a foreigner to know are –

  • Maccas < McDonalds
  • Sanger < Sandwich
  • Footy < Football
  • Barbie < Barbeque
  • Mozzie < Mosquito
  • Bizzo < Business
  • Cuppa < Cup of Tea

 So Aus E is just not a variation of English, right? It does cut own mark as one distinguished world lingo.

And to offer the best guidance to every foreigner over this exclusive language, australiantranslationservices.com.au stands all prepared.

Through a global-standard team of NAATI-approved translators and top-most professional work –culture, we make you not dread but fall in love with Aus E.

The translators are apt to fulfill your every official and non-formal translation and follow government-defined standards only. Mentioned must be our team of pro-interpreters, who make your initial days not doubtful but a delight to experience.

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