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Public Lecture: The Australian Accent: Origins and Evolution, Assoc Prof Felicity Cox, 1 Dec

Summer School, University of Melbourne

Date: 22 September 2016

Lecture: The Australian Accent: Origins and Evolution

Speaker: Associate Professor Felicity Cox, Macquarie University

When: Thursday 1 December 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Where: Kathleen Fitzpatrick Theatre, Arts West Building, University of Melbourne Parkville campus

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Registration: Seating is limited please register here

Note that if you are attending the summer school you do not need to register here.

Join us for a public lecture on the Australian English accent that will be the Plenary Lecture for the 2016 ARC Centre of Excellence for Dynamics of Language Summer School.

Australian English differs from other Englishes of the world in its syntax, lexicon and idiom, but it is the phonology that immediately signals ‘Australian’ to a listener. The phonology determines the unique characteristics of the Australian accent but what is the nature of the Australian accent today and how has it evolved in response to the rapidly changing society in which we live? This is the question Associate Professor Felicity Cox (Macquarie University) addresses in this talk.

Unprecedented cultural change has led to increased linguistic variation in the community necessitating a reevaluation of ideas about Australian English and its various forms. In particular, it has been important to acknowledge the wide range of ethnocultural and indigenous varieties and to demonstrate a greater awareness of social and regional variation within mainstream Australian English. The proportion of the Australian population born overseas is currently at its highest point in 120 years so it is timely to examine how the accent has changed over this period and to consider the impact of sociocultural variation on language change. In this talk I will explore the origins and evolution of the Australian English accent with reference to acoustic analyses of both archival and current speech data to illustrate where the accent has come from, how it got to where it is now, and where it may be headed.


Felicity Cox is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University. She is regarded as one of the foremost authorities on the Australian English accent having published extensively on the phonetics and phonology of the variety with a particular focus on the accent’s history, evolution and variation. She is the author of Australian English: Pronunciation and Transcription (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Presented by the School of Languages and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University