Aboriginal ways of using English

aboriginal ways of using english cover

Diana Eades

Jun, 2013
Linguistics & Languages
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This new collection by Professor Diana Eades addresses the way non-traditional language Aboriginal speakers of English use and speak English.

Here she draws together some of her best writing over the past thirty years. Older chapters are brought up to date with contemporary reflections, informed by her many years’ experience in research and teaching as well as the practical applications of her scholarly work.

The introduction includes an overview about Aboriginal ways of speaking English and the implications for both education and the law, as well as discussing the use of the term ‘Aboriginal English’. The book includes implications for the legal process, especially the criminal justice system.

To understand Aboriginal ways of speaking English leads to better understanding Aboriginal identity, a better engagement in intercultural communication, and learning about the complexities of how English is used by and with Aboriginal people in the legal process.

Aboriginal ways of using English is invaluable reading for university undergraduates in a range of disciplines but also postgraduate courses where there’s little information available. Educated readers and students with or without a linguistics background will find the book accessible.

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Read an interview transcript with the author.

Reviews and endorsements

‘Diana Eades has contributed extensively as an academic to the field of sociolinguistics in different ways through her efforts to explain the intricacies of the pragmatics of Aboriginal English as spoken by the Aboriginal people of south-east Queensland as compared to the more widely spoken Australia Standard English. Her work covers many areas such as contentious legal cases involving Aboriginal people where she has been called as an expert witness as well as publishing numerous articles on this topic, some of which will appear in this collection of her best work.’

— Jeanie Bell, linguist

‘Diana Eades is without doubt one of Australia’s leading experts in understanding and explaining the many subtleties of meaning and intent of language as used by Aboriginal persons.  

In several chapters Eades refers to a number of court cases in which the clash of Aboriginal culture against the impenetrable wall of legal culture, practices and procedure point to instances of disadvantage, if not injustice for Aboriginal participants in the criminal justice legal system.

Aboriginal ways of using English is a “must read” for health professionals, educators, lawyers, judges, and dare I add, sporting agents and administrators as well as all others, who, in the course of their professional livelihood, are interacting with Aborigines.  Of course those interested in linguistics, communication or Aboriginal culture as reflected in speech, silence and communication would also be impressed by Eades scholarly depth...Eades' writing style is a pleasure to read, her logic and arguments easy to follow and her insight brilliant.’

— Former District Court Judge, John Nicholson SC

Last reviewed: 12 Sep 2016