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Eades D. Communicating with Aboriginal people in New South Wales. 2008.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/9165
Communicating with Aboriginal people in New South Wales
The following article identifies some of the major differences between Aboriginal English and General Australian English. It provides some suggestions which might be helpful for judicial officers communicating with Aboriginal people. In the area now known as New South Wales, there were at least 70 distinct languages spoken before British invasion and settlement. Today, about 10 of these languages are being taught in schools, and about four of them have some fluent speakers. All Aboriginal people in New South Wales today speak varieties of English, which typically show many influences from the traditional languages. For example, the traditional languages did not have an h sound. Over the generations, Aboriginal people have come to speak English with an Aboriginal accent, which often results in not pronouncing the English h sound at the beginning of words. So 'Harry's hat' in General Australian English (CAE) often sounds like 'Arry's at' in Aboriginal English (AE). Interestingly, there is also a pattern in Aboriginal English which results in an h sound being added at the beginning of some English words, as in the example of the elder who says: 'We are the proud howners of this land.'