Publication details [#64528]

Vaughan, Jill. 2018. “We talk in saltwater words”: Dimensionalisation of dialectal variation in multilingual Arnhem Land. Language & Communication 62 : 119–132.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


In Arnhem Land, northern Australia, speakers of the Burarra language live and communicate within a highly multilingual and multilectal language ecology. Variation in Burarra does not cohere consistently into plainly recognizable lects. Perceived Burarra ‘dialects’ are even so pivotal to social identity. Performance of considerable social categories recruits linguistic variation through fractal recursivity. Prior localised variation is now recruited to index a series of supra-local categories. In contexts of small-scale multilingualism, egalitarian ‘multi-lectalism’ may also be perceived.