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Listed under:  Language conventions
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Formal vs Informal Writing: What's the Difference and When to Use Them

Before you start writing any article, one of the first things you need to ask yourself is "Who's my audience?" Answering this question will help you decide if you should use a formal or an informal writing style. This resource explores this and other questions to be answered before writing, such as 'What's the best way ...

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Gender convergence in teenager swearing

Explore how the use of swearing by teenagers is changing. Maria Zijlstra talks to Mike Thelwall, Professor of Information Science at the University of Wolverhampton, about the upsurge in swearing on social networking sites, especially among girls. He contends that, in the UK in particular, swearing is losing its shock value ...

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TXT spelling: the end of formal education?

Should students be allowed to use text-message spelling in an exam? It's not uncommon for older generations to disapprove of the ways that younger people mould language to fit their lifestyles. Using this news report, explore the 2006 controversy surrounding plans to allow New Zealand students to use text-message spelling ...

Audio

Word on internet slang

Do your parents understand what you are saying in a text to your friends? LOL. The way we communicate and use technology affects the way we use language. The same message can be written differently on a computer screen or a phone screen. Mark McCrindle's book 'Word Up' tracks changes in language use due to online communications.

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My Place - Episode 16: 1858: Benjamin, Working together

Ben and Leck work together to repair Mr Owen's broken clock. Leck corrects Ben on the truth behind the ugly stereotype he learned from Mr Wilson.

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The keys to clearer explanations

G'day cobber! Are you a true-blue, dinky-di Aussie? Australian slang can be quite bewildering for anyone who is new to this country and even for those who've lived here quite a while. In this clip Professor Kate Burridge explores how to use verbal and non-verbal language to explain difficult concepts.

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English: the global language?

Have you ever imagined how easy life in a globalised world would be if we all spoke the same language? Well, for many of the Earth's seven billion people this is fast becoming the reality. But what are the implications of a global language? In this clip, explore some of the issues related to language and power.

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One English language or many?

Do people around Australia all speak the same English? In this clip, explore the ways that language evolves and consider the impacts that other 'Englishes', such as British English and American English, can have on the way we speak.

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Devon, Polony, Stras or Fritz?

How much is your use of the English language influenced by where you live? Would it be possible to work out where in Australia somebody comes from just by listening to them speak? In this clip from a 1975 episode of Four Corners, find out how words and expressions we use every day might be revealing more about us than we realise.

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I speak, you guess

Listen to the voices of a small selection of students from around Australia to see if you can guess where they live. Is place the most important thing that shapes their language, or are there other factors that influence how people speak?

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Core speech with extras, thanks

A national survey in the 1960s indicated that the use of spoken English was surprisingly similar throughout Australia. This challenged the notion of 'regionalism', which suggested that people from different places would use language in different ways. In this clip, two leading academics discuss regionalism and suggest that ...

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Language and the generation gap

Are you, like, fully sick at English? Or does that thought make you rofl? Some words and phrases that have crept into our language seem to infuriate many people. Language can be a significant part of our identity, but it's useful to think about how our language choices represent us in different situations and contexts. ...

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Pretty polly: how politicians speak

If politicians are the 'voice of the people', does their way of speaking resemble that of the people? In this clip from 1975, listen to Professor John S Gunn describe what he sees as a uniquely Australian rhythm of speech. Then see how many similarities and differences you can find as you listen to some brilliant imitations ...

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My Place - Episode 21: 1808: Sarah, Seashells

After their outdoor adventure, Sarah and Alice have a moment of companionship but it is quickly ruined when Alice exerts her power over Sarah's position.

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My Place - Episode 18: 1838: Davey, Horsewhipping

Mr Owen has Davey demonstrate whip cracking to his grandsons but then gives Davey some sad news about his favourite horse, Duchess. Despite Davey's protestations, Duchess is headed for the tannery.

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My Place - Episode 21: 1808: Sarah, Sarah's life

Sarah is dropped off at her new place of employment but makes a poor first impression on her new employer, Mrs Owen. While doing her chores she meets Mrs Owen's sickly daughter, Alice.

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My Place - Episode 17: 1848: Johanna, My father's house

Johanna asks a number of locals about her father but is concerned by the inconsistencies in the information she receives. When she confronts her grandmother about her father, she is given just one enigmatic fact. Johanna's aunt dresses her down for her pranks.

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Re-awakening Australian Aboriginal languages

Did you know that before colonisation there were about 250 distinct Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander languages being spoken across Australia? Today, however, the majority of these languages are endangered. Listen to a number of significant Australians discussing the Aboriginal language situation in Australia today. ...

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Chilling with the butcher's dog

Perhaps no term conjures the Australian character more than the ubiquitous 'G'day, mate'. But are Australians in danger of losing the colourful language they're known for? This clip examines some of the colloquialisms that might be in danger of disappearing.

Online

Henry Lawson the Poet

Students study one poem by Henry Lawson in depth, investigating a range of language forms and features, before illustrating their poem to reflect the imagery portrayed in the words, and reciting their poem to the class. This activity is supported by resources (photographs, video and textual records) from the State Library ...