Convict Words: Language in early colonial Australia by Amanda Laugesen

by
April 2003, no. 250

Convict Words: Language in early colonial Australia by Amanda Laugesen

OUP, $34.95 pb, 232 pp

Convict Words: Language in early colonial Australia by Amanda Laugesen

by
April 2003, no. 250

Amanda Laugesen’s Convict Words is a dictionary of the characteristic or salient words of early colonial discourse, the lexis of the convict system and transportation, which survived until 1840 in New South Wales, 1852 in Van Diemen’s Land, and 1868 in Western Australia. It is not immediately clear what sort of readership is envisaged for the book. It would not occur to many people interested in Australian colonial history to address the subject through the words the actors in that history used, and the book does not directly answer most of the questions the enquirer might have in mind, unless of course it were convictism itself. As for word-buffs, the limited range of the target lexis – convict words in this narrow sense, and not necessarily Australianisms – may not have suggested itself as an engrossing topic.

Gary Simes reviews 'Convict Words: Language in early colonial Australia' by Amanda Laugesen

Convict Words: Language in early colonial Australia

by Amanda Laugesen

OUP, $34.95 pb, 232 pp

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