By the time they are five or six years old, children have learnt to explain, complain, admire, speculate, imagine, enquire, agree, argue and shock in their mother tongue. They can burble and coo to a baby, speak 'correctly' to their elders, and converse in the slang of their peers. Some may be fluent in more than one 'adult' language; all but the most isolated are becoming expert in the ways their friends speak. Children's creative use of language is more than the practice of speech; it involves the imaginative exploration of ideas and images, and the marking of peer and hierarchical relationships. This book offers a rich, comprehensive sampling of the linguistic range and complexity of Australian children's colloquial words and expressions from early childhood through teenage years. It illuminates the significant but hidden subcultures of childhood, highlighting a vernacular that is always inventive, sometimes crude, and often witty and amusing.
Publisher: Melbourne University Press