Australian English
Native speakers
18.5 million in Australia (2021)[1]
5 million L2 speakers of English in Australia (approx. 2021)
Early forms
Latin (English alphabet)
Unified English Braille[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
The percentage of people who speak only the English language at home, 2021

Australian English (AusE, AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of varieties of the English language native to Australia. It is the country's common language and de facto national language; while Australia has no official language, English is the first language of the majority of the population, and has been entrenched as the de facto national language since British settlement, being the only language spoken in the home for 72% of Australians.[5] It is also the main language used in compulsory education, as well as federal, state and territorial legislatures and courts.

Australian English began to diverge from British and Hiberno-English after the First Fleet established the Colony of New South Wales in 1788. Australian English arose from a dialectal melting pot created by the intermingling of early settlers who were from a variety of dialectal regions of Great Britain and Ireland,[6] though its most significant influences were the dialects of Southeast England.[7] By the 1820s, the native-born colonists' speech was recognisably distinct from speakers in Britain and Ireland.[8]

Australian English differs from other varieties in its phonology, pronunciation, lexicon, idiom, grammar and spelling.[9] Australian English is relatively consistent across the continent, although it encompasses numerous regional and sociocultural varieties. "General Australian" describes the de facto standard dialect, which is perceived to be free of pronounced regional or sociocultural markers and is often used in the media.


The earliest Australian English was spoken by the first generation of native-born colonists in the Colony of New South Wales from the end of the 18th century. These native-born children were exposed to a wide range of dialects from across the British Isles.[7] Similar to early American English, the process of dialect levelling and koineisation which ensued produced a relatively homogeneous new variety of English which was easily understood by all.[6] Peter Miller Cunningham's 1827 book Two Years in New South Wales described the distinctive accent and vocabulary that had developed among the native-born colonists.[7]

The dialects of South East England, including most notably the traditional Cockney dialect of London, were particularly influential on the development of the new variety and constituted "the major input of the various sounds that went into constructing" Australian English.[7] All the other regions of England were represented among the early colonists. A large proportion of early convicts and colonists were from Ireland, and spoke Irish as a sole or first language. They were joined by other non-native speakers of English from Scotland and Wales.

The first of the Australian gold rushes in the 1850s began a large wave of immigration, during which about two percent of the population of the United Kingdom emigrated to the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria.[10] The Gold Rushes brought immigrants and linguistic influences from many parts of the world. An example was the introduction of vocabulary from American English, including some terms later considered to be typically Australian, such as bushwhacker and squatter.[11] This American influence was continued with the popularity of American films from the early 20th century and the influx of American military personnel during World War II; seen in the enduring persistence of such universally-accepted terms as okay and guys.[12]

The publication of Edward Ellis Morris's Austral English: A Dictionary Of Australasian Words, Phrases And Usages in 1898, which extensively catalogued Australian English vocabulary, started a wave of academic interest and codification during the 20th century which resulted in Australian English becoming established as an endonormative variety with its own internal norms and standards. This culminated in publications such as the 1981 first edition of the Macquarie Dictionary, a major English language dictionary based on Australian usage, and the 1988 first edition of The Australian National Dictionary, a historical dictionary documenting the history of Australian English vocabulary and idiom.

Phonology and pronunciation

Main article: Australian English phonology

The most obvious way in which Australian English is distinctive from other varieties of English is through its unique pronunciation. It shares most similarity with New Zealand English.[13] Like most dialects of English, it is distinguished primarily by the phonetic quality of its vowels.[14]


Australian English monophthongs[15]
Part 1 of Australian English diphthongs[15]
Part 2 of Australian English diphthongs[15]

The vowels of Australian English can be divided according to length. The long vowels, which include monophthongs and diphthongs, mostly correspond to the tense vowels used in analyses of Received Pronunciation (RP) as well as its centring diphthongs. The short vowels, consisting only of monophthongs, correspond to the RP lax vowels.

There exist pairs of long and short vowels with overlapping vowel quality giving Australian English phonemic length distinction, which is also present in some regional south-eastern dialects of the UK and eastern seaboard dialects in the US.[16] An example of this feature is the distinction between ferry /ˈfeɹiː/ and fairy /ˈfeːɹiː/.

As with New Zealand English and General American English, the weak-vowel merger is complete in Australian English: unstressed /ɪ/ is merged into /ə/ (schwa), unless it is followed by a velar consonant. Examples of this feature are the following pairings, which are pronounced identically in Australian English: Rosa's and roses, as well as Lennon and Lenin. Other examples are the following pairs, which rhyme in Australian English: abbott with rabbit, and dig it with bigot.

Most varieties of Australian English exhibit only a partial trap-bath split. The words bath, grass and can't are always pronounced with the "long" /aː/ of father. Throughout the majority of the country, the "flat" /æ/ of man is the dominant pronunciation for the a vowel in the following words: dance, advance, plant, example and answer. The exception is the state of South Australia, where a more advanced trap-bath split is found, and where the dominant pronunciation of all the preceding words incorporates the "long" /aː/ of father.

monophthongs diphthongs
short vowels long vowels
IPA examples IPA examples IPA examples
ʊ foot, hood, chook ʉː[nb 1] goose, boo, who'd ɪə near, beard, hear[nb 2]
ɪ kit, bid, hid, [nb 3] fleece, bead, heat æɔ mouth, bowed, how'd
e dress, led, head square, bared, haired əʉ goat, bode, hoed
ə comma, about, winter ɜː nurse, bird, heard æɪ face, bait, made
æ trap, lad, had æː bad, sad, mad ɑɪ price, bite, hide
a strut, bud, hud start, palm, bath choice, boy, oil
ɔ lot, cloth, hot thought, north, force
  1. ^ The vowel /ʉː/ is diphthongised in all the major Australian accents; in General Australian, the most widespread Australian accent, the vowel is pronounced as [ïɯ]. See Australian English phonology for a more detailed analysis.
  2. ^ The boundary between monophthongs and diphthongs is somewhat fluid: /ɪə/, for example, is commonly realised as [ɪː], particularly in closed syllables, though also found in open syllables such as we're, here, and so on. In open syllables particularly, the pronunciation varies from the bisyllabic [ɪːa], through the diphthong [ɪə], to the long vowel [ɪː].
  3. ^ The vowel /iː/ has an onset [ɪi̯], except before laterals. The onset is often lowered to [əi], so that "beat" is [bəit] for some speakers.


There is little variation in the sets of consonants used in different English dialects but there are variations in how these consonants are used. Australian English is no exception.

Australian English consonant phonemes[17]
Labial Dental Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive fortis p t k
lenis b d ɡ
Affricate fortis
Fricative fortis f θ s ʃ h
lenis v ð z ʒ
Approximant central ɹ j w
lateral l
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Australian English is uniformly non-rhotic; that is, the /ɹ/ sound does not appear at the end of a syllable or immediately before a consonant. As with many non-rhotic dialects, linking /ɹ/ can occur when a word that has a final ⟨r⟩ in the spelling comes before another word that starts with a vowel. An intrusive /ɹ/ may similarly be inserted before a vowel in words that do not have ⟨r⟩ in the spelling in certain environments, namely after the long vowel /oː/ and after word final /ə/. This can be heard in "law-r-and order", where an intrusive R is voiced between the AW and the A.

As with North American English, Intervocalic alveolar flapping is a feature of Australian English: prevocalic /t/ and /d/ surface as the alveolar tap [ɾ] after sonorants other than /m, ŋ/ as well as at the end of a word or morpheme before any vowel in the same breath group. Examples of this feature are that the following pairs are pronounced similarly or identically: latter and ladder, as well as rated and raided.

Yod-dropping generally occurs after /s/, /l/, /z/, /θ/ but not after /t/, /d/ and /n/. Accordingly, suit is pronounced as /sʉːt/, lute as /lʉːt/, Zeus as /zʉːs/ and enthusiasm as /enˈθʉːziːæzəm/. Other cases of /sj/ and /zj/, as well as /tj/ and /dj/, have coalesced to /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /tʃ/ and /dʒ/ respectively for many speakers. /j/ is generally retained in other consonant clusters.[citation needed]

In common with most varieties of Scottish English and American English, the phoneme /l/ is pronounced by Australians as a "dark" (velarised) l ([ɫ]) in almost all positions, unlike other dialects such as Received Pronunciation, Hiberno (Irish) English.

The wine–whine merger is complete in Australian English.[dubious ]


Differences in stress, weak forms and standard pronunciation of isolated words occur between Australian English and other forms of English, which while noticeable do not impair intelligibility.

The affixes -ary, -ery, -ory, -bury, -berry and -mony (seen in words such as necessary, mulberry and matrimony) can be pronounced either with a full vowel (/ˈnesəseɹiː, ˈmalbeɹiː, ˈmætɹəməʉniː/) or a schwa (/ˈnesəsəɹiː, ˈmalbəɹiː, ˈmætɹəməniː/). Although some words like necessary are almost universally pronounced with the full vowel, older generations of Australians are relatively likely to pronounce these affixes with a schwa as is typical in British English. Meanwhile, younger generations are relatively likely to use a full vowel.

Words ending in unstressed -ile derived from Latin adjectives ending in -ilis are pronounced with a full vowel, so that fertile /ˈfɜːtɑɪl/ sounds like fur tile rather than rhyming with turtle /ˈtɜːtəl/.

In addition, miscellaneous pronunciation differences exist when compared with other varieties of English in relation to various isolated words, with some of those pronunciations being unique to Australian English. For example:


Variation in Australian closing diphthongs[18]
Phoneme Lexical set Phonetic realization
Cultivated General Broad
/iː/ FLEECE [ɪi] [ɪ̈i] [əːɪ]
/ʉː/ GOOSE [ʊu] [ɪ̈ɯ, ʊʉ] [əːʉ]
/æɪ/ FACE [ɛɪ] [æ̠ɪ] [æ̠ːɪ, a̠ːɪ]
/əʉ/ GOAT [ö̞ʊ] [æ̠ʉ] [æ̠ːʉ, a̠ːʉ]
/ɑɪ/ PRICE [a̠e] [ɒe] [ɒːe]
/æɔ/ MOUTH [a̠ʊ] [æo] [ɛːo, ɛ̃ːɤ]

Main article: Variation in Australian English

Relative to many other national dialect groupings, Australian English is relatively homogeneous across the country. Some relatively minor regional differences in pronunciation exist. A limited range of word choices is strongly regional in nature. Consequently, the geographical background of individuals may be inferred if they use words that are peculiar to particular Australian states or territories and, in some cases, even smaller regions. In addition, some Australians speak creole languages derived from Australian English, such as Australian Kriol, Torres Strait Creole and Norfuk.

Academic research has also identified notable sociocultural variation within Australian English, which is mostly evident in phonology.[19]

Regional variation

Although Australian English is relatively homogeneous, there are some regional variations. The dialects of English spoken in the various states and territories of Australia differ slightly in vocabulary and phonology.

Most regional differences are in word usage. Swimming clothes are known as cossies /ˈkɔziːz/ or swimmers in New South Wales, togs in Queensland, and bathers in Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia.[20] What Queensland calls a stroller is usually called a pram in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, and Tasmania.[21]

Preference for some synonymous words also differ between states. Garbage (i.e., garbage bin, garbage truck) dominates over rubbish in New South Wales and Queensland, while rubbish is more popular in Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia.[21]

Additionally, the word footy generally refers to the most popular football code in an area; that is, rugby league or rugby union depending on the local area, in most of New South Wales and Queensland, and Australian rules football elsewhere. In some pockets of Melbourne & Western Sydney 'football' and more rarely 'footy' will refer to Association football. Beer glasses are also named differently in different states. Distinctive grammatical patterns exist such as the use of the interrogative eh (also spelled ay or aye), which is particularly associated with Queensland. Secret Santa ([citation needed]) and Kris Kringle are used in all states, with the former being more common in Queensland.

South Australia

The most pronounced variation in phonology is between South Australia and the other states and territories. The trap–bath split is more complete in South Australia, in contrast to the other states. Accordingly, words such as dance, advance, plant, example and answer are pronounced with /aː/ (as in father) far more frequently in South Australia while the older /æ/ (as in mad) is dominant elsewhere in Australia.[21] L-vocalisation is also more common in South Australia than other states.

Centring diphthongs

In Western Australian and Queensland English, the vowels in near and square are typically realised as centring diphthongs ([nɪə, skweə]), whereas in the other states they may also be realised as monophthongs: [nɪː, skweː].[22]

Salary–celery merger

A feature common in Victorian English is salary–celery merger, whereby a Victorian pronunciation of Ellen may sound like Alan and Victoria's capital city Melbourne may sound like Malbourne to speakers from other states. There is also regional variation in /ʉː/ before /l/ (as in school and pool).

Full-fool allophones

In some parts of Australia, notably Victoria, a fully backed allophone of /ʉː/, transcribed [ʊː], is common before /l/. As a result, the pairs full/fool and pull/pool differ phonetically only in vowel length for those speakers. The usual allophone for /ʉː/ is further forward in Queensland and New South Wales than Victoria.

Sociocultural variation

The General Australian accent serves as the standard variety of English across the country. According to linguists, it emerged during the 19th century.[23] General Australian is the dominant variety across the continent, and is particularly so in urban areas.[24] The increasing dominance of General Australian reflects its prominence on radio and television since the latter half of the 20th century.

Recent generations have seen a comparatively smaller proportion of the population speaking with the Broad sociocultural variant, which differs from General Australian in its phonology. The Broad variant is found across the continent and is relatively more prominent in rural and outer-suburban areas.[25][26]

A largely historical Cultivated sociocultural variant, which adopted features of British Received Pronunciation and which was commonplace in official media during the early 20th century, had become largely extinct by the onset of the 21st century.[27]

Australian Aboriginal English is made up of a range of forms which developed differently in different parts of Australia, and are said to vary along a continuum, from forms close to Standard Australian English to more non-standard forms. There are distinctive features of accent, grammar, words and meanings, as well as language use.

Academics have noted the emergence of numerous ethnocultural dialects of Australian English that are spoken by people from some minority non-English speaking backgrounds.[28] These ethnocultural varieties contain features of General Australian English as adopted by the children of immigrants blended with some non-English language features, such as Afro-Asiatic languages and languages of Asia. Samoan English is also influencing Australian English.[29] Other ethnolects include those of Lebanese and Vietnamese Australians.[30]

A high rising terminal in Australian English was noted and studied earlier than in other varieties of English.[citation needed] The feature is sometimes called Australian questioning intonation. Research published in 1986, regarding vernacular speech in Sydney, suggested that high rising terminal was initially spread by young people in the 1960s. It found that the high rising terminal was used more than twice as often by young people than older people, and is more common among women than men.[31] In the United Kingdom, it has occasionally been considered one of the variety's stereotypical features, and its spread there is attributed to the popularity of Australian soap operas.[32]


Intrinsic traits

Main article: Australian English vocabulary

Bush poets such as Banjo Paterson captured the Australian vocabulary of the 19th century in their bush ballads

Australian English has many words and idioms which are unique to the dialect.

Commonly known

Internationally well-known examples of Australian terminology include outback, meaning a remote, sparsely populated area, the bush, meaning either a native forest or a country area in general, and g'day, a greeting. Dinkum, or fair dinkum means "true" or "is that true?", among other things, depending on context and inflection.[33] The derivative dinky-di means "true" or devoted: a "dinky-di Aussie" is a "true Australian".[citation needed]

Historical references

Australian poetry, such as "The Man from Snowy River", as well as folk songs such as "Waltzing Matilda", contain many historical Australian words and phrases that are understood by Australians even though some are not in common usage today.[citation needed]

British English similarities and differences

Australian English, in common with British English, uses the word mate to mean friend, as well as the word bloody as a mild expletive or intensifier.[citation needed]

Several words used by Australians were at one time used in the UK but have since fallen out of usage or changed in meaning there. For example, creek in Australia, as in North America, means a stream or small river, whereas in the UK it is typically a watercourse in a marshy area; paddock in Australia means field, whereas in the UK it means a small enclosure for livestock; bush or scrub in Australia, as in North America, means a wooded area, whereas in England they are commonly used only in proper names (such as Shepherd's Bush and Wormwood Scrubs).[citation needed]

Aboriginal-derived words

Further information: List of English words of Australian Aboriginal origin

Some elements of Aboriginal languages have been adopted by Australian English—mainly as names for places, flora and fauna (for example dingo) and local culture. Many such are localised, and do not form part of general Australian use, while others, such as kangaroo, boomerang, budgerigar, wallaby and so on have become international. Other examples are cooee and hard yakka. The former is used as a high-pitched call, for attracting attention, (pronounced /ˈkʉːiː/) which travels long distances. Cooee is also a notional distance: "if he's within cooee, we'll spot him". Hard yakka means "hard work" and is derived from yakka, from the Jagera/Yagara language once spoken in the Brisbane region.

The word bung, meaning "dead" was originally a Yagara which was used in the pidgin widely spoken across Australia.[34]


Many towns or suburbs of Australia have also been influenced or named after Aboriginal words. The best-known example is the capital, Canberra, named after a local Ngunnawal language word thought to mean "women's breasts" or "meeting place".[35][36]

Figures of speech and abbreviations

Litotes, such as "not bad", "not much" and "you're not wrong", are also used.[citation needed]

Diminutives and hypocorisms are common and are often used to indicate familiarity.[37] Some common examples are arvo (afternoon), barbie (barbecue), smoko (cigarette break), Aussie (Australian) and Straya (Australia). This may also be done with people's names to create nicknames (other English speaking countries create similar diminutives). For example, "Gazza" from Gary, or "Smitty" from John Smith. The use of the suffix -o originates in Irish: ó,[citation needed] which is both a postclitic and a suffix with much the same meaning as in Australian English.[citation needed]

In informal speech, incomplete comparisons are sometimes used, such as "sweet as" (as in "That car is sweet as."). "Full", "fully" or "heaps" may precede a word to act as an intensifier (as in "The waves at the beach were heaps good."). This was more common in regional Australia and South Australia[when?] but has been in common usage in urban Australia for decades. The suffix "-ly" is sometimes omitted in broader Australian English. For instance, "really good" can become "real good".[citation needed]


Australia's switch to the metric system in the 1970s changed most of the country's vocabulary of measurement from imperial to metric measures.[38] Since the switch to metric, heights of individuals are listed in centimetres on official documents and distances by road on signs are listed in terms of kilometres and metres.[39]

Comparison with other varieties

Where British and American English vocabulary differs, sometimes Australian English shares a usage with one of those varieties, as with petrol (AmE: gasoline) and mobile phone (AmE: cellular phone) which are shared with British English, or truck (BrE: lorry) and eggplant (BrE: aubergine) which are shared with American English.

In other circumstances, Australian English sometimes favours a usage which is different from both British and American English as with:[40]

Differences exist between Australian English and other varieties of English, where different terms can be used for the same subject or the same term can be ascribed different meanings. Non-exhaustive examples of terminology associated with food, transport and clothing is used below to demonstrate the variations which exist between Australian English and other varieties:

Foodcapsicum (BrE: (red/green) pepper; AmE: bell pepper); (potato) chips (refers both to BrE crisps and AmE French fries); chook (sanga) (BrE and AmE: chicken (sandwich)); coriander (shared with BrE. AmE: cilantro); entree (refers to AmE appetizer whereas AmE entree is referred to in AusE as main course); eggplant (shared with AmE. BrE: aubergine); fairy floss (BrE: candy floss; AmE: cotton candy); ice block or icy pole (BrE: ice lolly; AmE: popsicle); jelly (refers to AmE Jell-o whereas AmE jelly refers to AusE jam); lollies (BrE: sweets; AmE: candy); marinara (sauce) (refers to a tomato-based sauce in AmE and BrE but a seafood sauce in AusE); mince or minced meat (shared with BrE. AmE: ground meat); prawn (which in BrE refers to large crustaceans only, with small crustaceans referred to as shrimp. AmE universally: shrimp); snow pea (shared with AmE. BrE mangetout); pumpkin (AmE: squash, except for the large orange variety - AusE squash refers only to a small number of uncommon species; BrE: marrow); tomato sauce (also used in BrE. AmE: ketchup); zucchini (shared with AmE. BrE: courgette)

Transportaeroplane (shared with BrE. AmE: airplane); bonnet (shared with BrE. AmE: hood); bumper (shared with BrE. AmE: fender); car park (shared with BrE. AmE: parking lot); convertible (shared with AmE. BrE: cabriolet); footpath (BrE: pavement; AmE: sidewalk); horse float (BrE: horsebox; AmE: horse trailer); indicator (shared with BrE. AmE: turn signal); peak hour (BrE and AmE: rush hour); petrol (shared with BrE. AmE: gasoline); railway (shared with BrE. AmE: railroad); sedan (car) (shared with AmE. BrE: saloon (car)); semitrailer (shared with AmE. BrE: artic or articulated lorry); station wagon (shared with AmE. BrE: estate car); truck (shared with AmE. BrE: lorry); ute (BrE and AmE: pickup truck); windscreen (shared with BrE. AmE: windshield)

Clothinggumboots (BrE: Wellington boots or Wellies; AmE: rubber boots or galoshes); jumper (shared with BrE. AmE: sweater); nappy (shared with BrE. AmE: diaper); overalls (shared with AmE. BrE: dungarees); raincoat (shared with AmE. BrE: mackintosh or mac); runners or sneakers (footwear) (BrE: trainers. AmE: sneakers); sandshoe (BrE: pump or plimsoll. AmE: tennis shoe); singlet (BrE: vest. AmE: tank top or wifebeater); skivvy (BrE: polo neck; AmE: turtleneck); swimmers or togs or bathers (BrE: swimming costume. AmE: bathing suit or swimsuit); thongs (refers to BrE and AmE flip-flops (footwear). In BrE and AmE refers to g-string (underwear))

Terms with different meanings in Australian English

There also exist words which in Australian English are ascribed different meanings from those ascribed in other varieties of English, for instance:[40]

Idioms taking different forms in Australian English

In addition to the large number of uniquely Australian idioms in common use, there are instances of idioms taking different forms in Australian English than in other varieties, for instance:

British and American English terms not commonly used in Australian English

There are extensive terms used in other varieties of English which are not widely used in Australian English. These terms usually do not result in Australian English speakers failing to comprehend speakers of other varieties of English, as Australian English speakers will often be familiar with such terms through exposure to media or may ascertain the meaning using context.

Non-exhaustive selections of British English and American English terms not commonly used in Australian English together with their definitions or Australian English equivalents are found in the collapsible table below:[41][42]

British English terms not widely used in Australian English[41]

American English terms not widely used in Australian English[42]


The general rules of English Grammar which apply to Australian English are described at English grammar. Grammatical differences between varieties of English are minor relative to differences in phonology and vocabulary and do not generally affect intelligibility. Examples of grammatical differences between Australian English and other varieties include:

Spelling and style

As in all English-speaking countries, there is no central authority that prescribes official usage with respect to matters of spelling, grammar, punctuation or style.


There are several dictionaries of Australian English which adopt a descriptive approach. The Macquarie Dictionary and the Australian Oxford Dictionary are most commonly used by universities, governments and courts as the standard for Australian English spelling.[52]

Australian spelling is significantly closer to British than American spelling, as it did not adopt the systematic reforms promulgated in Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary. Notwithstanding, the Macquarie Dictionary often lists most American spellings as acceptable secondary variants.

The minor systematic differences which occur between Australian and American spelling are summarised below:[53]

Minor systematic difference which occur between Australian and British spelling are as follows:[53]

Other examples of individual words where the preferred spelling is listed by the Macquarie Dictionary as being different from current British spellings include analog as opposed to analogue, guerilla as opposed to guerrilla, verandah as opposed to veranda, burqa as opposed to burka, pastie (noun) as opposed to pasty, neuron as opposed to neurone, hicup as opposed to hicough, annex as opposed to annexe, raccoon as opposed to racoon etc.[53] Unspaced forms such as onto, anytime, alright and anymore are also listed as being equally as acceptable as their spaced counterparts.[53]

There is variation between and within varieties of English in the treatment of -t and -ed endings for past tense verbs. The Macquarie Dictionary does not favour either, but it suggests that leaped, leaned or learned (with -ed endings) are more common but spelt and burnt (with -t endings) are more common.[53]

Different spellings have existed throughout Australia's history. What are today regarded as American spellings were popular in Australia throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the Victorian Department of Education endorsing them into the 1970s and The Age newspaper until the 1990s. This influence can be seen in the spelling of the Australian Labor Party and also in some place names such as Victor Harbor. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary has been credited with re-establishing the dominance of the British spellings in the 1920s and 1930s.[55] For a short time during the late 20th century, Harry Lindgren's 1969 spelling reform proposal (Spelling Reform 1 or SR1) gained some support in Australia and was adopted by the Australian Teachers' Federation and minister Doug Everingham in personal correspondence.[56]

Punctuation and style

Prominent general style guides for Australian English include the Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage, the Australian Government Style Manual[57] (formerly the Style Manual: For Authors, Editors and Printers), the Australian Handbook for Writers and Editors and the Complete Guide to English Usage for Australian Students.

Both single and double quotation marks are in use, with single quotation marks preferred for use in the first instance, with double quotation marks reserved for quotes of speech within speech. Logical (as opposed to typesetter's) punctuation is preferred for punctuation marks at the end of quotations. For instance, Sam said he 'wasn't happy when Jane told David to "go away"'. is used in preference to Sam said he "wasn't happy when Jane told David to 'go away.'"

The DD/MM/YYYY date format is followed and the 12-hour clock is generally used in everyday life (as opposed to service, police, and airline applications).

With the exception of screen sizes, metric units are used in everyday life, having supplanted imperial units upon the country's switch to the metric system in the 1970s, although imperial units persist in casual references to a person's height. Tyre and bolt sizes (for example) are defined in imperial units where appropriate for technical reasons.

In betting, decimal odds are used in preference to fractional odds, as used in the United Kingdom, or moneyline odds in the United States.

Keyboard layout

There are two major English language keyboard layouts, the United States layout and the United Kingdom layout. Keyboards and keyboard software for the Australian market universally uses the US keyboard layout, which lacks the pound (£), euro and negation symbols and uses a different layout for punctuation symbols from the UK keyboard layout.

See also



  1. ^ English (Australia) at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016) Closed access icon
  2. ^ "Unified English Braille". Australian Braille Authority. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  3. ^ "English". IANA language subtag registry. 16 October 2005. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Australia". IANA language subtag registry. 16 October 2005. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  5. ^ "2021 Australia, Census All persons QuickStats | Australian Bureau of Statistics".
  6. ^ a b Burridge, Kate (2020). "Chapter 11: History of Australian English". In Willoughby, Louisa (ed.). Australian English Reimagined: Structure, Features and Developments. Routledge. pp. 178¬–181. ISBN 978-0-367-02939-5.
  7. ^ a b c d Moore, Bruce (2008). Speaking our Language: the Story of Australian English. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-19-556577-5.
  8. ^ Burridge, Kate (2020). "Chapter 11: History of Australian English". In Willoughby, Louisa (ed.). Australian English Reimagined: Structure, Features and Developments. Routledge. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-367-02939-5.
  9. ^ Cox, Felicity (2020). "Chapter 2: Phonetics and Phonology of Australian English". In Willoughby, Louisa (ed.). Australian English Reimagined: Structure, Features and Developments. Routledge. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-367-02939-5.
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Works cited

Further reading