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May 12, 2023 | Guide to Language

Top 5 Facts To Know About The Official Language Of Australia

Are you aware that Ethnologue identifies around 403 languages, the Mandarin Language being the 2nd of them, 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,  Australian Translation Services tops the list. Here are some FAQ’s about languages in Australia that we have answered:

What is the official language of Australia?

One very commonly asked question is, “Is English the official language of Australia?” Although, on paper, Australia doesn’t have an official language; in practical terms, English is the main language of commerce, education, science, and administration. Thus, while not the de jure language (Australia does not have a specified national language), English is de facto the primary language, simply by virtue of being the first language of a majority of the population (approx. 73%).

Want to know how to say good morning in different languages? Stay tuned with our next blog.

Is Tamil an official language in Australia?

There is a misconception in Australia that Tamil was one of Australia’s national languages. Most people who know much about Australia will know that the country has no national language as such, but English has since the time of European settlement been adopted as the de facto national language. Though there have been calls in Australia’s parliament to include Tamil in the national curriculum, however no such decision has yet been taken. Thus Tamil is not an official language in Australia.There are many Interesting Facts About Australia!

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What are the 5 most common languages spoken in Australia?

The majority of Australians speak English only, making it the most commonly spoken language in Australia. Overall about 73% of the people speak English only. 18.2 % are non-English speakers. Of the non English languages, the most commonly spoken ones are

  • Mandarin (2.5%)
  • Arabic (1.4%)
  • Cantonese (1.2%)
  • Vietnamese (1.2%)
  • Italian (1.2%)
  • Greek (1.0%)
  • Hindi (0.7%)
  • Punjabi (0.6%) and
  • Spanish (0.6%). 

If you are interested in the Spanish language, learn some expert tips to say how are you in Spanish from our next blog.

Are you travelling to Australia then you need to know some Australian Slang words to communicate with the local people, then read this blog here

The South Australia Economy is influenced by 200 countries that inexplicably diversifies the languages spoken in Australia.

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.

Here is a blog you should also read to supplement your knowledge about the best language to learn in Australia

Language translation that we offer

Australia is the land of culture that brings languages of different spectrum under one roof. Therefore people who come to get their documents translated require professional experts. Here is a list of languages that we provide translational services to:

‘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.

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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: if you are unaware of the process of translation don’t forget to read this article.

  • 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.

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# 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 Australian Translation Services, 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

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# 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 NAATI translation service over each of the 3 varieties, then Australian Translation Services 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, Australian Translation Services 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. 

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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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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the official language of Australia?

As our everyday language, English is crucial in bringing Australian society together. Although Australia doesn’t have an official language, English is the language of business, administration, education, and science. As a result, English is the primary language in Australia even though there is no official national language because it is the first language of the vast majority of the country’s citizens.

2. Why doesn’t Australia have an official language?

In Australia, it’s a common misperception that Tamil is one of the country’s official languages. The majority of individuals who are familiar with Australia are aware that there is no official national language. Still, English has been used as the country’s primary language since European settlers first arrived.

3. Is English the official language of Australia?

Although it is not the country’s official language, English is commonly spoken in Australia.  Nevertheless, there are hundreds of Aboriginal languages, even if many have entirely vanished since 1950 and the majority of those that very few people still speak.

4. What are the top 5 languages spoken in Australia?

These are the top 5 languages spoken in Australia: English only – 72.7% (17,020,417)  Mandarin – 2.5% (596,711)  Arabic – 1.4% (321,728)  Cantonese – 1.2% (280,943)  Vietnamese – 1.2% (277,400)

5. How many languages are spoken in Australia?

Australians speak more than 400 languages. 

6. How do Australians greet each other?

Australians commonly say hi, hey, or hello to greet each other. 

7. How many Australians do not converse in English?

More than 22.3% of Australians do not converse in English. However, in Greater Capital Cities, almost 30% speak non-English languages. 

David Lee

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