Posted by: u4492462 | October 22, 2009

Men and women talk

Is it true that, among female conversation, females like to talk for half an hour or more on just one topic? Do women like to talk about themselves and their feelings? Do women tend to aware of other’s turns and apologize for talking too much? In regard to males’ conversation, do men rarely talk about themselves? Do men like to dominate the conversation and compete among themselves to show their superiority for being a better-informed on current affairs like sports and politics?

What do you think about the claim above made by Jennifer Coates (1986)?

Posted by: ellendahat | October 19, 2009

Is Politically Correct Language always a correct langauge ?


The man in the video shows his objection on the use of some Politically Correct language as he consider their meanings can be too broad or do not really correspond to the meaning of the words they represent.  He raises two examples. The first is disabled  and handicapped which he considers too broad to represent his current physical condition and these terms can create ambiguity or confusion as they represent more than one word. The second example is African American which he said to be inaccurate term by proposing that the term is only suitable for black American who has dual citizenship, Africa and America. The same notion is stated by the person in this link What do you think of their points?

The man in the video also points that “clearly, if people are offended over terms that are accurately describing themselves they are clearly in denial of who they are”

Do you agree with him?


Posted by: irmayasari | October 16, 2009

Annoyance hit list: Like, whatever, you know? (ABC News)

Last week when I read an online newspaper, I read the article about what people feel about particular language e.g. for the use of ‘whatever’. I reckoned when I read that article, it is about the language attitude, especially when you read what Bruce Moore, director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre at the Australian National University says. Here is the link.

Hope you enjoy it.

Posted by: Piers Kelly | October 14, 2009

Women, know your place!

Posted by: u4499075 | October 12, 2009

Power, language, media

In chapter 10 of the textbook, which discusses language and power, Fairclough argues that there is evidence of power over readers when newspaper reports constrain the content and favour certain interpretations and wordings of events above others (Mesthrie et al. 2009:319). I found two articles on Sunday 11 October, that when compared you can see two different interpretations of the same story, in two different media outlets: ABC and BBC. The articles are titled ‘Militants dead, arrested as army HQ siege ends’ and ‘Pakistan army raid frees hostages’, respectively. In the first article it seems that they focus on the ‘militants’, with a negative implication towards these ‘militants’, but a positive implication towards the action committed against them. Readers are drawn into this point of view from the title alone. In the second article there is a different focus, the ‘Pakistan army’ and their bravery, maybe, in freeing the ‘hostages’. In each case through the use of language each writer is trying to persuade their audience of a particular point of view. Perhaps to the untrained eye if a reader were to look at either article individually then it would seem that the story is being presented unbiasedly. However, John Downing (in Mesthrie et al. 2009:319) might argue that the writer is trying to shape its audience’s feelings, and thereby holding the power.

So, is language use in the media, particularly in newspaper reports always biased? And if it is, are readers aware of this bias? Are they easily overpowered or persuaded? Does this power stop at the report itself, or does it delve further into the biases of those responsible for the papers (for example the owners, not just the writers)? Is the power over the way we ‘should’ view society hidden behind linguistic tactics or manipulative language?

Check out the links below:

Posted by: jemma90 | September 28, 2009

Darwin English

Hi everybody! Piers asked me to write a short blog about the incorporation of Aboriginal words into Darwin English. So here it goes…

The incorporation of Aboriginal words is used mostly for teenage slang in the 13 – 18 age bracket. Being used by teenagers some of the words are rude, so if you are offended I apologise in advance!

Budju is a commonly used word for somebody who is good looking. Nuff can be used interchangeblywith budju  but can also mean ‘cool’ if describing inanimate objects: “There’s a nuff car, look.” The use of look at the end of the sentence provides emphasis, not actually indicating for the individual to look at the car. Yakka means ‘no’, differing from the Australian use of yakka to mean ‘hard work’.

Gumma means girl, budda can mean either brother or son, bruss can be used in a similar way to budda – but can also mean friend. Muligah means boyfriend and cudjak means sex. A noonga is a stupid person and is used both as an insult and in a joking way between friends. Like Papua New Guinea, the use of gammin is still prominant in the Northern Territory. The use of nglah is very interesting. Used more as an expression of sound, rather than a word, it’s used to indicate a joke and the sound can often replace laughter.

The use of Indigenous words into Australian English was first seen amongst half-caste Indigenous teenagers and is now in use by teenagers of varying ethnicities. It is very informal and is rarely used past the age of 18 as it can be viewed as rude by older generations.

Posted by: u4499075 | September 20, 2009

What did he say?

Kevin Rudd has recently been criticised for using “robust language” speaking to some of his back benchers, regarding the cut back of printing allowances for politicians – I’ll leave the opinions to you on that…

My point is that in a day and age when the expletives are used high and wide, in pretty much every corner, is this still a “politically correct” issue within the government?

On a separate instance – I actually watched one of the proceedings for the House of Representatives, during the weekend and on various occasions I heard “order” being called out from the speaker various times and someone remind the House of the rules and regulations of interjecting and inappropriate language.

Is it feasible to expect professionals, in the midst of discussions, arguments or debates, to avoid face threatening acts (as discussed by Brown and Levinson), when the very nature of debates indicates that opposition must take place – and goodness knows, elevated emotions. Do Australians in professional institutions such as the Government get more emotionally involved in debates than my understanding of cross-cultural language use would suggest? Are the structures of debates changing or being influenced by global practices, so that being polite comes below stating a point of view?

Have politicians, such as is the case with Mr Kevin Rudd, become more involved (emotionally? personally?) with political issues? Is the language structure used in parliamentary proceedings likely to change to a greater degree in the future, with much more use of language such as what Mr K Rudd is being criticised for? Or is this merely an emotionally-driven slip-of-the-tongue?

And in any case, what was the awful “robust language” that Mr Rudd has used??

Posted by: Piers Kelly | September 15, 2009

Australian English online resources

Remember the library training? Emily and Diane have now kindly linked Oxford’s Australian National Dictionary (AND) to the library homepage. To find it, go to the library’s e-Resources & Databases list under ‘A’.  It’s also listed under the subject heading for Linguistics in the ‘Select a Subject’ section of that page.

Note that the AND is limited in one significant way. Words only make it into the dictionary if they’ve appeared in print, so effectively it’s a record of written Australian English. As you’ll know from your own experience, there are plenty of words that you say but never write – let alone publish. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty amazing historical document. Oxford is famous for its ultra-descriptivist Hotel California policy – words can check out (ie, become obsolete) but never leave. They’ll just get an Obs tag. The AND mob produce an excellent newsletter than you can subscribe to for free. The back page has oz language related comps and prizes.

For our purposes I would say that the Macquarie Word Map (linked from Wattle) is a better bet, since it’s not limited to written language. Macquarie accepts contributions from people all around Australia who share their observations about language use in a particular area. An added bonus: Word Map definitions are fun and colourful. Take this one for bogan: “unsophisticated, flanno wearing afficionado of moccasins (moccas): Shazza is a bogan! Compare bevan, bog2, chigger, booner, boonie, feral, westie.”

Compare it to AND’s definition: “1. A person who is not “with it” in terms of behaviour and appearance, and hence perceived as not being “one of us”. 2. An uncultured and unsophisticated person’”.

Boring! For me this misses the fun and complex cultural dimensions of the term

Quick links from this post.

Posted by: u4499075 | September 15, 2009

UNESCO Language Articles

Check out this website:

There are a number of articles relating to language/s, as part of the United Nations 2008 launch of the International Year of Languages.

Here are the titles of the articles:

  • Preaching in the wilderness or banking on the future?
  • Strange language. Let’s say it’s a whale….
  • Languages and immigration: bilingualism is an asset
  • The secrets of Machaj Juyai-Kallawaya
  • The saga of the Ainu language
  • Kyrgyz: an “emerging” language
  • The Indian dilemma

Also, 21 February marked International Mother Language Day, apparently.


This question was asked in a commentary section of an ABC News article: ‘Bilingual debate rages in NT’. It is the debate of whether children in remote Aboriginal communities should be taught their first Aboriginal language (their ‘mother tongue’) as well or only English, specifically in terms of disadvantage to the literacy and numeracy skills that children already lack in such communities.

Check it out at

For me the argument for ‘interdependence hypothesis’ comes to mind, as I understand it, where the development of the first language assists the learner in the acquisition of the second language.

Also, another thing to think about is the fact that by incorporating a first language into education, a learner is being empowered within their own culture – their own identity. A language is not lost on dying generations, but carried on or developed.

In the main text, Mesthrie et al. there is also reference to a table by UNESCO, from the document: ‘The Use of Vernacular Languages in Education’… which refers to the choice of language in education in the classroom. This is in Chapter 11, pages 357-359. Also, it is interesting to note in this discussion, about what in the 1953 publication viewed as ‘vernacular’ – there is some argument regarding this view.

Check out also the related ABC News article: Bilingual education changes hit roadblock, at

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