• A “fair go” for all?

    Pandanus Petter     |      June 10, 2024

    Politicians and social activists of all stripes always frame their arguments in terms of giving Australians a “fair go”, but this famous Australian phrase has its roots in the field of sport, rather than politics.

  • What are words worth?

    Robbie Morgan     |      May 31, 2024

    Words and phrases change their meaning over time, sometimes because they’re so widely misused – like ‘beg the question’ or ‘disinterested v uninterested’ that the original sense is forgotten.

  • No worries

    Kate Burridge     |      September 18, 2022

    Described in Jonathan King’s Waltzing Materialism as the “national motto” of Australia, this complex little phrase “no worries” even has its own Wiki entry.

  • Digitising endangered languages

    Nick Thieberger     |      August 11, 2022

    The PARADISEC digital archive model revitalising endangered languages around the Pacific has now been taken up in North America by the Cherokee Nation.

  • Hola, salut, hello, ciao

    Ben Knight     |      July 11, 2021

    There’s never been a better time to start learning another language, and there could be some unexpected upsides.

  • I hear what you say – How the Aussie accent is changing

    Edwin Maher     |      January 29, 2021

    Online work has forced us all to speak more clearly, but the ongoing evolution of Australian accents heard in politics, entertainment and the media over time exemplifies the wider social and demographic changes which are shaping this country’s multicultural future.

  • I heart love

    Open Forum     |      February 15, 2020

    It may not be a Shakespearean sonnet, but the language of love in the 21st century is just as affectionate and meaningful as it ever was, according to University of South Australia linguist, Dr David Caldwell.

  • Does that word mean what you think it means?

    Muriel Reddy     |      January 9, 2020

    Words change their meaning over time, but it can be hard to keep up, especially when some words evolve to mean the opposite of their original definition.

  • Communication is the key to better language education

    Marianne Turner     |      September 5, 2019

    Language education in Australia is falling behind, but prioritising communication over accuracy could help revitalise children’s interest and improve their performance.

  • Should more Aussie kids study Mandarin?

    Warren Midgley     |      July 10, 2019

    The number of students studying Mandarin in Australian schools nearly doubled between 2008 and 2015, but very few pupils from non-Chinese background will ever become fluent in the language.

  • Let’s learn to love our Aussie accents

    Kate Burridge     |      March 17, 2019

    Our views of accents are arbitrary social evaluations rather than intrinsic facts, and we base them on our knowledge and experience of the people who lie behind them. We should embrace our accents as part of who we are.

  • Immigrants pick up more ‘Australianisms’

    Jane Faure-Brac     |      February 10, 2019

    Despite a perception that immigrants are resistant to assimilation, people who speak a foreign language are actually more likely to adopt the Australian lexicon