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date: 13 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Like other forms of spoken language, broadcast speech changes over time. While longitudinal language shift is often difficult to pin down with any certainty, archival news recordings provide a valuable opportunity to gain access to our spoken past. The formal style and British-sounding accents of old news bulletins differ from the way Australian newsreaders speak today. This is due in part to the process of “decolonization,” when Australia developed its own identity, one that was independent of its British heritage. While studies on varieties of the English language tend to focus on society as a whole, this article proposes an alternative approach. It views diachronic language change through the particular prism of news speech to examine the connection between accent and identity at a turning point in Australia’s history.

Keywords: broadcast speech, Australian English, language change, accent, identity, acoustic analysis, technology, linguistics

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