War Words and the Evolution of Australian English

Academic

Professor Véronique Duché
School of Languages and Linguistics

Intern

Dr Daniel Russo-Batterham
School of Languages and Linguistics

Project

This project examines a corpus of around 170,000 words drawn from the wartime issues of Aussie: The Australian Soldiers’ Magazine. The internship extends this corpus to issues of Aussie magazine published after the war, which were produced monthly until 1932. Around 140 of these issues are available on microfilms, but these will be digitised and scanned with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software prior to the commencement of the internship. The result will be a set of searchable PDFs.

Internship Outcome

For my internship project I have been working with Aussie magazine, a trench journal that was first published in 1918 in France. Following the war, the magazine continued to be published monthly in Australia until December 1931. The aim of the internship was to examine, through Aussie, both the transient and lasting impacts that the First World War had on Australian language. For the first stage of the project, I developed a simple website to facilitate the navigation of the magazines, which collectively comprise over a million words. I then built an interactive dashboard around the corpus that permits analysis of word frequencies, makes it easier to locate errors that result from OCR technology, and uses machine learning to find, within Aussie, words and ideas related to a search term.