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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: June 2012

5 - Settlers and locals: Southern Hemisphere Englishes, transported and newly born


In this chapter …

In this chapter we will look at the spread of English to countries of the Southern Hemisphere, notably Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. For the last decade or so a category of “Southern Hemisphere Englishes” has been established, because it has been found that the Englishes spoken in these countries (and also much smaller settlements like the islands of Tristan da Cunha and the Falklands in the South Atlantic) have a great deal in common both historically and linguistically. They were settled at roughly the same period, namely in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, typically in large-scale, organized settlement moves, and by similar “founder populations,” predominantly lower- and middle-class people from the British Isles, with a preponderance of settlers from southern and southeastern England. They came to stay for good, so their descendants today constitute large native-speaking communities of direct British ancestry. And they faced similar situations – unfamiliar territory and climate and, most importantly (except for the small and isolated islands just mentioned), the need to deal and communicate with earlier residents of the areas they migrated to. In the long run, these peoples – Aboriginals in Australia; Maoris in New Zealand; Africans, Afrikaners, and later also Indians in South Africa – have adopted and transformed English, using it for their own purposes, and many of them have shifted to it completely. […]

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