English in Its Social Contexts: Essays in Historical Sociolinguistics

By Tim William MacHan; Charles T. Scott | Go to book overview
gin ("woman"), and waddy ("club"), some of which have even been endowed with false European etymologies. In quoting a pitiful statement by an Aboriginal youth about to hang, Ramson ( 1964b:57) pinpoints how pidgin, from the mix of a native dialect and low-class English, including thieves' slang and swearing, can distort both meaning and the source of words form both cultures. As a result of such confused idiom, many Aboriginal terms, familiar to most Australians, are now suspect in origin; for example, bingy ("stomach"), bogey ("swim"), cooee ("call"), jumbuck ("sheep"), yacker ("work"), and yarraman ("horse") could well be Aboriginal attempts at English. Debbil, peller, and plurry are obvious pidgin for "devil," "fellow," and "bloody," and one might be similarly convinced by boma ("gun"), borak ("derisive talk" or perhaps "barrack"), pialler ("talk," perhaps from parley), yabber ("talk," perhaps from jabber). More research is needed, because one is tempted to conjecture further. What might one read into the "Aboriginal" badgee ("angry"), bombora ("breaking waves on rocks"), dhabba ("painting stick"), jinki ("legendary spirit"), yan ("go"), yowi ("yes"), yukki ("exclamation"), wakaburra ("club")?
Some expressions combine Aboriginal and English words, useful for immediate communication but not always good for the better adjustment of the two cultures: baal gammon ("no deceit"), bora ground ("ceremonial area"), bunyip aristocracy (derogatory name for a failed attempt to create a colonial aristocracy), finger yabber ("sign language"), and piccaninny daylight ("period before sunrise"). Typically used by English speakers, such words reflect a practice that occurs wherever a host and a new language are coming to terms. An extension of this has been the development of apposite English compounds, some likely to be Australian English creations, such as blackfellow's buttons ("australites"), blackfellow's oven ("midden"), black-tracker, digging stick, fire stick, and puller ("didgeridoo player"). These are not nearly as colourful as the Aboriginal big sick ("leprosy"), close-up ("nearly"), dream time ("distant past"),finger money ("money for spending"), flour bag ("white haired," "old"), make a light ("see," "look for"), sit down ("stay," "live"), sorry cuts ("body cuts to show grief"), tumble down ("die," "kill"), walkabout ("wandering"), and white money ("silver coin"). My father described use of very poor English as blackfellow talk, indirectly and rather crudely identifying the presence of a social problem.

The preceding examples were chosen as terms that have been familiar to whites for many decades, and they express something of the closeness of the two peoples in bush settlements. The breakdown of this closeness can be detected when more personal contacts are examined, after the very early days, when no offence seems to have been taken. Aborigines were originally called Indians, then natives; the latter also described "native" whites, but a further sorting into black natives, native blacks, and white natives was not popular. Aborigines' words to describe themselves, like boori, koori,or murri, were not very enduring because the whites seem to have preferred nonspecific names, often smacking of pidgin and the pejorativeness associated with it. There were unpopular Americanisms like coon, darky, nigger, black, blackboy, blackfellow, and the local shortening, Abo. Boong was a popular, usually friendly name for New Guineans during World War II, but this friendliness is absent in its later use for Aborigine.

-224-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
English in Its Social Contexts: Essays in Historical Sociolinguistics
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 274

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.