Variation Across Three Generations in Australian English: Selected Features from an Online Questionnaire
The purpose of this paper is to show how present-day Australian English (henceforth AusE) usages vary with regard to certain linguistic features that have been reported to differ in their usage in British English (BrE) and American English (ArnE). The data for the study were gathered by using an online questionnaire. The linguistic features to be discussed in this paper include verb morphology (sneak and dive), marginal modals (need and dare) and the variable -leis spelling in words such as mango( e)s. Due to limitations of space, I am not able to present exhaustive results of the questionnaire. The features chosen to be discussed here showed some of the most interesting cross-generational differences in the study. I will, therefore, concentrate on the differences in usage between three generations. By examining the generational variation, it is possible to see some indication as to what direction AusE development is taking. Furthermore, the features in question rarely come up often enough in either spoken or written corpus material (except maybe the marginal modal need), so the questionnaire method used here is a good way of tackling the question of variation regarding these features.