Review of Speaking Our Language: The Story of Australian English, by Bruce Moore


This handsomely produced paperback provides an accessible account of the growth and productivity of the Australian English lexicon. Through its fourteen chapters, Moore takes readers from the earliest days of settlement and the first Aboriginal words added to our vocabulary to the beginning of the twenty-first century, where a fully fledged Australian English takes its place amid 'World English'. Most of the chapters are built on or around words included in the Australian National Dictionary (AND), the scholarly inventory of Australianisms, that is, new words or new senses of English words which began on Australian soil. These words—hundreds of them—are its chief substance, and Moore uses a mix of dictionary citations and other nonfiction sources to construct and illuminate periods ofAustralian history, society, culture and the environment. From time to time he also includes fragments of contemporary fiction and personal writing, to bring the words and their users to life.

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Published 1 May 2009 in Volume 24 No. 1. Subjects: Australian English.

Cite as: Peters, Pam. ‘Review of Speaking Our Language: The Story of Australian English, by Bruce Moore.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, 2009, doi: 10.20314/als.dec0a06916.