Rethinking Australian Aboriginal English-based speech varieties
Evidence from Woorabinda
The colonial history of Australia necessitated contact between nineteenth and twentieth century dialects of English and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island languages. This has resulted in the emergence of contact languages, some of which have been identified as creoles (e.g. Sandefur 1979, Shnukal 1983) while others have been hidden under the label of ‘Aboriginal English’, exacerbated by what Young (1997) described as a gap in our knowledge of historical analyses of individual speech varieties. In this paper we provide detailed sociohistorical data on the emergence of a contact language in Woorabinda, an ex-Government Reserve in Queensland. We propose that the data shows that the label ‘Aboriginal English’ previously applied (Alexander 1968) does not accurately identify the language. Here we compare the sociohistorical data for Woorabinda to similar data for both Kriol, a creole spoken in the Northern Territory of Australia and to Bajan, an ‘intermediate creole’ of Barbados, to argue that the language spoken in Woorabinda is most likely also an intermediate creole.
Keywords: Queensland Government Reserves, Australia, sociohistorical context, Aboriginal English, intermediate creole
Published online: 10 May 2016
Cited by 4 other publications
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McKnight, Anthony, Valerie Harwood, Samantha McMahon, Amy Priestly & Jake Trindorfer
Mushin, Ilana, Denise Angelo & Jennifer M. Munro
Rodríguez Louro, Celeste & Glenys Collard
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