Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication and Arts
Despite their (albeit limited) access to Standard Australian English through education, Australian Indigenous communities have maintained their own dialect (Aboriginal English) for intragroup communication and are increasingly using it as a medium of cultural expression in the wider community. Most linguists agree that the most significant early ancestor of Aboriginal English is New South Wales Pidgin, which developed in the first decades after the European occupation of Australia in 1788. Influence of present or past Aboriginal languages can be traced in Aboriginal English both directly and by way of NSW Pidgin and other contact varieties. Recent work in Western Australia has proposed conceptual continuities with Aboriginal culture which underlie contemporary Aboriginal English grammar and discourse. What has not been done hitherto is to relate the conceptual continuities to patternings in the pidgin and creole antecedents of Aboriginal English. This paper highlights conceptual continuities across Australian pidgins, creoles1 and Aboriginal English and suggests implications for school learning by medium of standard Australian English.