An Introduction to Unit 4 Area of Study 1

August 4, 2020joelleva

Hey guys, here is my article for June, which will provide an overview of unit 4 Area of Study 1. As you are probably aware, unit 4 focuses on language variation and identity and Area of Study 1 is primarily focused on Australian national identity and the language variation within Australia (especially regional and cultural). Further, AOS 1 also looks at the attitudes of prescriptivism and descriptivism (this article will not discuss attitudes although they are a common essay topic).

The first thing I would like to address in this article is examples. I have said it before and will say it again, examples are absolutely vital if you want to do well in this subject, especially in unit 4 as it tends to be more essay based and many students prefer to write essays on unit 4 topics in the exam. Unit 4 examples are everywhere. Scott Morrison’s speech claiming victory in the recent election is one example, where much of Mr Morrison’s rhetoric was focused on promoting a strong sense of Australian national identity. Examples are also very prominent in popular culture, on social media and in the media in general. My advice would be to always be on the look put for examples and set aside around half an hour per week to actively search form them. A good way to do this is to type in key words from the course into Google News and see what comes up there.

In terms of what to look for when it comes to examples and what you will be discussing in Unit 4 AOS 1, a couple of the key features of Australian English that you will need to be across are (this list is far from exhaustive):

  • Slang: Slang is informal language (generally words) that usually relate to a specific demographic. For example, ‘salty,’ is commonly used by people online (usually aged between 15-40) to describe someone who is angry or upset about something (and not food that has been over-seasoned).
  • Colloquialisms: Very similar to slang except it is more permanent and less related to generation or social group. For example, ‘mate,’ is a common colloquialism in Australia (please use better colloquialisms than this one in your essays unless you find a really good and current example).
  • The high tolerance of taboo language: Australians have a very high tolerance of taboo language and it is quite common in Australian society and people tend not to be offended by it in the same way that people in other countries tend to be (old example, but think back to the, “where the bloody hell are you,” tourism advertisements.
  • Diminutives: Where a word is shortened with a suffix such as, “ie,” “y,” or, “a,” (the process is called suffixation), a diminutive is usually created. These are very common in Australia and are frequently used for nicknames among many other things. One example of diminutives is, “parma,” which is a diminutive of, “parmigiana.”

“Parma,” as my example for diminutives was not an accident. It links me onto my next point, which is regional variation. Whilst Victorians tend to use the diminutive, “parma,” when referring to the Italian dish that is very popular in Australia, people in South Australia and Queensland generally prefer to use the shortening, “parmi.” In searching for an example on Twitter, I stumbled across a tweet from a seemingly disgruntled voter (from Victoria) after the election results came out, which stated, “can you really rely on a state that calls it a parmi instead of a parma to help out in an election?” Moreover, there is also other lexical variation around Australia (look up Macquarie University’s Australian voices to find some examples, although it is a bit old), and some phonological variation. Once again, it’s South Australia at odds with the rest of Australia. Although most of Australia pronounces the, “a,” in words such as, “dance,” “chance,” and, “advance,” using, /a:/ (as in words such as trap), South Australians are more likely to use, /ae/ (as is used in words such as bath).

Finally, cultural variations such as Aboriginal English are also important in this area of study. I have already written an entire article on Aboriginal English, which can be found here:

That’s all from me and I will have another article for you in July.

If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: Social purpose and informal languageAn Overview of Formal Language and Preparing for your first English Language SAC.

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