Austral English

A Dictionary of Australasian Words, Phrases and Usages

Austral English

Edward Morris (1843–1902), Professor of Modern Languages at Melbourne University, contributed material on 'words peculiar to Australia' to the OED. He expanded that research into this dictionary of the English spoken in Australasia, first published in 1898. Morris was able to draw on existing scholarly studies of Maori loan words in the language of settlers in New Zealand, but was the first to give detailed attention to the influence of Australian Aboriginal languages and list early appearances in English of words such as 'cooee' and 'boomerang'. The book also includes English words that developed Australasia-specific meanings to describe local flora, fauna and social conditions, and new scientific words such as 'eucalypt'. Morris' pioneering work provides unique insights into the development of English in Australia and New Zealand, and remains of interest not only to linguists but also to historians of Australasia and the British empire in the late Victorian period.

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