VCE English Language quotes

Australian Identity- Kate Burridge

'Bloody' has now become an important indicator of Australianness and of cultural values such as friendliness, informality, laid-backness, mateship- ans perhaps even the Australian dislike and distrust of verbal and intellectual graces"- linguist, Kate Burridge

Australian Identity- Charlotte Willis

I soon realised that our impressive ability to shorten pretty much anything- greetings, everyday remarks, even nicknames get nicknames- doesn't necessarily translate overseas."- Australian, Charlotte Willis (TV writer), after spending a month working in New York, America

Slang- Kate Burridge

Slang works much like Masonic mortar to stick members of a group together- and, of course at the same time, to erect barriers between them and the outside."- Linguist, Kate Burridge

Slang- T.S. Eliot (essayist and poet)

For last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice."- T.S. Eliot (essayist and poet)

Slang- William Butler Yeats (poet)

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people."- William Butler Yeats (poet)

Standard vs. non-Standard English- Kate Burridge

A non-Standard dialect is as valid a communication system as the standard."- Kate Burridge (linguist)

Standard vs. non-Standard English- Edward Sapir (anthropologist)

A standard international language should not only be simple, regular, and logical, but also rich and creative."- Edward Sapir (anthropologist)

Standard vs. non-Standard English- David Crystal (linguist)

Although many texters enjoy breaking linguistic rules, they also know they need to be understood."- David Crystal (linguist)

Standard vs. non-Standard English- Janet Holmes (businesswoman)

Standard English has an enormous legacy of overt prestige. It has been regarded as a symbol of British nationhood.."- Janet Holmes (businesswoman)

Language and Identity- Melinda Marchetta (writer)

Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?"- Melina Marchetta (writer)

Language and Identity- Pearson, Language and Identity, Chapter 2

Our various group memberships, along with the values, beliefs, and attitudes associated with them, are significant to the development of our social identities in that they define in part the kinds of communicative activities and the particular linguistic resources for realising them to which we have access."- Pearson, Language and Identity, Chapter 2

'Gay' Speech- David Thorpe

The gay voice is a symbol- of homosexuality, of femininity- and symbols are very powerful"- David Thorpe (co-creator of documentary, 'Do I Sound Gay?')

Language and Variation- David Crystal

At any one time, language is a kaleidoscope of styles, genres, and dialects."- David Crystal (linguist)

Language and Variation- Kate Burridge

All taboos serve different human interests by avoiding those things which threaten to cause offence or distress"- Kate Burridge (linguist)

Language and Variation- David Crystal

Texting has added a new dimension to language use, but its long-term impact is negligible. It's not a disaster."- David Crystal (linguist)

Attitudes to language change- f-word court case

A recent court case in which a judge has out-ruled the f-word as an offensive word stating that "the use of the word 'f*ck' does not constitute offensive behaviour, as the word has become part of everyday vernacular."Attitudes towards the f-word being regarded as inoffensive included many people feeling that it depend on the circumstance in which the profanity is used, whereas other rejoiced as they feel the f-word is a versatile word and should not offend people.

Attitudes to language chnage- John McWhorter (author)

Rap and spoken word have reawakened the country to poetry in itself. Texting and Twitter encourage creative uses of casual language, in ways I have celebrated widely. But we've fallen behind in savouring the formal layer of our language."- John McWhorter (author)


According the 2011 census, only 76.8% of Australians speak English at home. Meaning many other languages such as Mandarin, Greek, Italian, and Arabic are spoken by Australian citizens meaning that ethnilects have to be used outside of the home for many speaker in order for them to be able to communicate in English as well as stay true to native tongue.

Ethnolects- David Blair and Peter Collins (authors of 'English in Australia')

.. an ethnolect, like a community language, offers a means of expressing linguistic identity, of demonstrating solidarity with one's ethnic group. Importantly, it provides a means for those who may no longer be fluent in their ethnic language to express their identification with, and sense of belonging to, their ethnic group."- David Blair and Peter Collins, writers of book 'English in Australia'

Swearing- NT tourism campaign

A 2016 Northern Territory tourism campaign included the slogan 'C U in the NT', a play on the slogan 'see in the Northern Territory' and the c-word. The release of the campaign resulted in public outrage including comments such as, 'Immature, crude, and disrespectful', 'trashy campaign guys', and 'National disgrace. Australia where they use absolute filthy language and call it tourism promotion' made by social media users upon the social media release of the campaign. Showing that swearing is not widely accepted/does not hold overt prestige.

Sweraing- Lauren McLeod (linguist)

The continual use of 'fck' and cnt' in conversations [amongst tradesmen] work as a marker is in-group membership"- Lauren McLeod (linguist)


An employee that has competency in business language skills is likely to be able to climb up the career ladder with ease"- Business guidance website,

Jargon- Don Watson (author)

Jargon is making it increasingly hard to understand what a public figure is actually trying to say"- Don Wantson (author)


The language of management.. is language that cannot describe or convey any human emotion..'- Don Watson (author)

Formal vs. Informal

Modern biologist, under increased pressure and competition, Donnie fee confident that merely stating their case is enough. Personal language builds a connection to the reader and helps, ultimately, to persuade."- In a recent science journal, Nature News, publication, it was stated that..

Formal vs. Informal

Linguistic prestige is not an indication of intrinsic beauty in languages but rather of the perceived status of those who speak them."- Sarah J. Shin (linguist)

Formal vs. Informal

Social and linguistic prestige are interrelated.. the language of powerful social groups usually carries linguistic prestige; and social prestige is often granted to speakers of prestige languages and varieties"- Michael Pearce (writer)

Formal vs. Informal

Linguistic prestige is directly associated with power. As Thomas Paul Bonfiglio puts it, 'There is nothing in the particular language itself that determines its worth: it is the connection of the language to in question to the phenomena of power that determines the values of that language and that contributes to the standardisation process."- Gerard van Kerk (linguist)


The woman who launched a 10-minute tirade of racist abuse at passengers on a suburban train has apologised via her family for her diatribe... But two of the targets of her abuse rejected the apology and said the word 'sorry' needed to come from her lips."- James Dowling, Herald Sun Newspaper writer


Earlier in 2016, Collingwood Football Club president, Eddie McGuire was criticised following comments he made regarding football journalist, Caroline Wilson. After McGuire had made remarks about drowning Wilson such as "I'll put in 10 grand straight away, make it 20. And if she stays under, 50. What do you reckon guys?" to fellow football coaches at a charity event. The fact that McGuire was heavily criticised shows that politeness is highly valued in Australian society in order to maintain social harmony.


As Australian Attorney General, George Brandis, states, "People do have a right to be bigots. In a free country people do have rights to say things that other people find offensive or insulting or bigoted." Attitudes to Brandis' statement include that Brandis has given a "green light to bigots" and "the green light to racist hate speech in Australia" which ultimately threatens social harmony.


'colloquial language has a very special significance in Australia, and it goes right back to... the very earliest Australian English'[euphemism and creating social harmony] 'language as good manners''In order for member to express their identity, personal and shared, they have to break free of the straitjacket of the written standard On sexism 'it is the nature of such stereotypes that they are self-fulfilling prohpecies ''slang is the prominent layer of informal [language]'an important role that informal language [has is] bonding

David Crystal

non-standard language is 'achieving a new... respectability in society'

J.R. Firth, British Linguist

'you shall know a word by the company it keeps'

George Yule

'In this market, there is a scarce commodity called the floor'

Helen E. Ross

'Social swearing and annoyance swearing... social swearing was intended to be friendly and a sign of being "one of the gang"... while annoyance swearing was a reaction to stress'

Clyne 1992

On pluricentric languages 'unifiers and dividers of peoples'

Muhammad Shuaibu

'Slang is a perpetual whirlwind of creativity among the young and avante garde'

Jennifer Coates

'The androcentric rule ....Men will be seen to behave linguistically in a way that fits the writer's view of what is desirable or admirable; women on the other hand will be blamed for any linguistic state or development which is regarded by the writer as negative or reprehensible''Men have been shown to talk more than women in settings as diverse as staff meetings, television panel discussions .. and also husband-and-wife pairs in spontaneous conversation'

Oscar Wilde

'Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly'

Janet Holmes

'Men's talk tends to be more referential or informative, while women's talk is more supportive and facilitative'

carmen fought

'Young women take linguistic features and use them as power tools for building relationships'

george orwell

Euphemistic expressions: 'designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind'

amanda young

'The shield of anonymity that being online offers people is a way of bringing to the surface all those gritty things that polite society would prefer to stay hidden'

lauren mcleod

[swear words have a ] role of positive politeness strategy f*ck is regularly associated with expressions of solidarity, including friendly terms of address maintain rapport between people

'the conversation' - co-written by kate burridge

slang language has always played a pivotal role in the australian sense of self using australian slang increases your likability amount other australians

sian pryor

euphemisms are 'verbal cuddling'

Finn Branton

obfuscation is the deliberate addition of ambiguous, confusing or misleading information to interfere with surveillance and data collection

erin McKean

people say jargon is a bad thing but it is really a shortcut vocabulary professionals use to understand each other

barry ritholtz

jargon can almost sound like a foriegn language

quentin crisp

euphemisms are unpleasant truths wrapped in diplomatic cologne

jessica benett, journalist

its as if our punctuation is on steroids (in ref to text speak)

Lakoff on women and HRT

peculiar sentence intonation pattern which changes a declarative to a question

david crystal on teens

teenagers use language as a kind of identity badge

Williams M

reflects [Aboriginal] language and culture... has evolved to meet the particularneeds and circumstances of its speakers. Aboriginal English also varies across the state due to the people, their culture andcommunity.

Hansen W

[Aboriginal English] is as rule-governed and linguistically complex as any othernon-standard form... Aboriginal English has only recently been recognised as a different lingo or dialect

Idesin Hawkins

[aborig eng] a legitimate communicationsystem for its speakers...complex and coherentlanguage system

Hawkins on aborig eng

[Aboriginal English] has its own distinctive grammatical and semantic systems, by which it enables its speakers to expressanything that can be expressed in standard English,... Its speakers also use it to expressideas that are not often expressed in standard English. it must be seen as different, not deficient.

bruce moore

of all the markers of identity, language is by far the most significant

kate burridge on australianism

the more affectionate the feeling, the more abusive the language

helmut newton (photographer) on political correctness

[The term "political correctness] has always appalled me, reminding me of Orwell's "Thought Police" and fascist regimes

robin lackoff, tag questions

are associated with a desire for confirmation or approval which signals a lack of self-confidence in the speaker.

kate burridge on jargon

facilitates communication on one hand, but erects quite successful communication barriers on the other.

felicity cox on language change

Linguistic change runs parallel with social change

felcity cox on australian general accent

the Australian accent's shift to the middle ground is associated with blooming national confidence and a maturing identity, driven by the young

anna weirzback

'no worries mate' exemplifies Australian culture and identity, including "amiability, friendliness, an expectation of shared attitudes (a proneness to easy 'mateship'), jocular toughness, good humour, and, above all, casual optimism

john bernard on australian lexis

Possibly Australians have the biggest passive vocabulary

michael stuchberry on swearing

a social adhesive that unites and binds us more than any other...It opens people up, cements relationships

janet holmes on standard english

standard English has an enormous legacy of overt prestige

emily trekell on national identity

Language can lead to a strong sense of national identity

don watson on modern language

Language is butchered by the media

burridge and mulder on discriminatory language

Discriminatory language expresses cultural norms and belief systems which are often so entrenched in language as to appear normal

kate burridge on non-standard dialects

A non-standard dialect is as valid a communication system as the standard

kate burridge on taboo

No taboo holds for all people, times and contexts

david crystal on swearing

Swearing makes an excellent relief mechanism

clare kramsch on identity

There is a natural connection between language and identity

clare kramsch on social groups

Members of a social group draw personal strength and pride from using the same language

zoe kleinman on technology

Technology is driving and perpetuating new slang terms

behnaz pour

Euphemisms cover up or soften the unpleasant connotations and denotations of words or expressions

kate holden on australian swearing

Swearing together can be a way of asserting a cultural cohesion; and Australians are famous for this

rita mae brown

Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people came from

burridge on euphemism

All euphemisms are dishonest, but many are designed to make life easier for usThis is avoidance or evasive language - a deodorant language that disguises stinking reality

burridge on the lexeme bloody

Bloody' has now become an important indicator of Australianness and of cultural values such as friendliness, informality, laid-backness, mateship - and perhaps even the Australian dislike and distrust of verbal and intellectual graces

felicity cox on broad accent

there are now negative connotations associated with the very broad, ocker accent...It's also a manifestation of Australia's growing self-confidence as a nation. [People] no longer feel they have to be defined by that kind of strong accent.

why people teach SE, burridge and mulder

Because of the way our society is structured, using sentences such as 'I done it' can put people at a disadvantage. And this is, of course, why teachers have to give students access to Standard English, in order to protect them against this sort of prejudice

david crystal on internet and language change

the big thing about language is that it always changes. Since the internet came along it has never moved to fast


'Standard English is considered by many to be a high sociolect... it is usually associated with elite groups'


'Any formal language will entail much in the way of preparation'


'Written language and public speaking is becoming progressively more casual'


'words and language are not intrinsically good or bad but reflect the individual or societal attitudes.

Keith Allan

'Taboos have changed. Racist and sexist and 'ist' taboos in general have grown.'


'Speakers will shun anything that may be interpreted as discriminatory'


'Euphemisms shield us from what's embarrassing, what's feared, what's disliked, what's unwelcome'


'Under the cover of words we can tiptoe around any sensitive topic'


'Dysphemism can be used deliberately to call attention to language, or a wider issue'


'Australian language is intertwined with the nation's unique culture'

Allan and Burridge

'important indicators of their Australianness and expressions of cherished ideals'


'The use of Aboriginal English is a means of conveying in-group solidarity'


'A powerful vehicle for the expression of Aboriginal Identity'

Macquarie University Website

Sociolects allow speakers to 'embrace their cultural heritage and express their niche identities'


'An expression of their ethnicity'


'Teens use unique language to mark their in-group status'


'[English] is so diversified as a result of the Internet.'


'In order for members to express their identity, personal and shared, they have to break free of the straightjacket of the written standard'


'Slang works ... to stick members of a group together and ... to erect barriers between them and the outside.'


'There are many who do believe this shift represents a diminishing of language'

Gilbert Highet

Language is a living thing

David Crystal (standard)

Standard language carries the most prestige and is most widely understood

John Bernard

Possibly Australians have the biggest passive vocabulary

Groombridge's Annual Reader, 1867

Correct English

Danah Boyd

Social media mirrors and magnifies our social divisions

Julia Gillard

Any sort of political correctness needs to be swept out of the way

Benjamin Franklin

If all printers were determined not to print anything until they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed

Susan Pryor

Once lost, they cannot be retrieved

Emily Trekell (stereotypes)

Language can exacerbate unwarranted stereotypes

Emily Trekell (identity)

Language can lead to a strong sense of national identity

Don Watson

Language is butchered by the media (Strine)

Strine is a great language for tearing people apart

Burridge and Mulder

Discriminatory language expresses cultural norms and belief systems which are often so entrenched in language as to appear normal

Lingua Franca, 2009

The Australian accent has remained utterly unaffected by the American accent

Rachel Berger

Hiding meaning behind euphemisms can strip power and truth from words

Richard Twopeny

New occupations and modes of living need new words

Melchers and Shaw

There is no such thing (at present) as a Standard English

Brendan Black (force)

Attempts to force people to speak or write in certain ways are usually met with resistance or resentment

Brendan Black (vernacular)

When communicating with friends and family, vernacular language is more appropriate

Philip Gooden

Speaking some English is not good enough, it has to be the right kind of English

Kate Burridge (comparison)

There are no linguistic grounds for saying one is better than another

Kate Burridge (non-standard)

A non-standard dialect is as valid a communication system as the standard

Kate Burridge (society)

Language continues to function as a social disadvantage


Pluricentric languages are both unifiers and dividers of people

Collins and Peters

Australian English is consolidating its own norms as an independent national standard

Kate Burridge (taboo)

No taboo holds for all people, times and contexts

David Crystal (swearing)

Swearing makes an excellent relief mechanism

Clare Kramsch (identity)

There is a natural connection between language and identity

Clare Kramsch (social groups)

Members of a social group draw personal strength and pride from using the same language (regional variation)

There is a myth that Australians speak differently in different parts of Australia

English is not the only language of the Australian-born

Zoe Kleinman

Technology is driving and perpetuating new slang terms

Jo Earp

What's taboo depends on the social context you're working in

David Crystal (Textspeak)

In Textspeak, we are seeing language in evolution

The University of Newcastle 'Inclusive Language Guide' (vehicle)

Language is a major vehicle for the expression of prejudice or discrimination

The University of Newcastle 'Inclusive Language Guide' (social status)

Discriminatory language is both a symptom of, and a contributor to, the unequal social status of women, people with disabilities, and people from ethnic and racial backgrounds

Behnaz Pour

Euphemisms cover up or soften the unpleasant connotations and denotations of words or expressions

Kate Burridge (euphemism)

All euphemisms are dishonest, but many are designed to make life easier for us

John Humphrys

Texters are...raping our vocabulary

Janet Holmes

It's not so much that language itself changes as that speakers and writers change the way they use the language

John Joseph

Manifesting and interpreting identity come to be seen as central to the very existence and functioning of language

Felicity Cox

An expression of ethnicity but it is still distinctly Australian

Kate Holden

Swearing together can be a way of asserting a cultural cohesion; and Australians are famous for this

Don Watson,

public language is the language of public life; the language of political and business leaders and civil servants - official, formal, sometimes elevated

Ruth Wajnryb in her book Language most foul,

raise public consciousness about the offensivess of negatively loaded words, which hitherto had only been registered as such by women.

Ted Lapkin

enforce the protection of tender feelings

Nathaniel Hawthorne

words, so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

Mark Mccrindle 2016

there is nothing new with youth slang, it's always been around, but in an online environment it moves very quickly and it's hard to decipher