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‘Togs’ and ‘swimmers’ reveal plenty about Aussie language

Why do Australians use different words to describe the same things?
Why do Australians use different words to describe the same things?

WHETHER someone says they wear "swimmers" or "togs" may come down to which side of the New South Wales-Queensland border they live on.

A series of maps recently released by the Linguistics Roadshow illustrated how word choice varied across states and regional areas around the country.

NSW residents, for instance, usually used "swimmers" or "cossie" to describe their swimwear, whereas Queenslanders commonly said "togs".

University of Melbourne linguistics expert Jill Vaughan wrote on The Conversation that some words were more strongly linked to "a regional identity".

"When we communicate, we tend to use the words, pronunciations and linguistic patterns that we hear most often in the communities we live in," she wrote.

Not only did languages help people communicate, she wrote, they revealed something about who we were.

Words for swimwear around Australia Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping words around Australia' (bit.ly/AusWordsMaps)
Words for swimwear around Australia Rosey Billington, Lauren Gawne, Kathleen Jepson, and Jill Vaughan 'Mapping words around Australia' (bit.ly/AusWordsMaps)

Topics:  australia editors picks language swimmers


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