NZ'S FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY 2014–2019

ANZAC Diggerspeak - bringing the language home

This project is dedicated to re-examining the 'slanguage' given voice in the First World War, e.g. in troop magazines, as brought home to New Zealand and carried forward 100 years later.

The war-time origins of the slang known as "Diggerspeak" are rooted in the ANZAC story and captured in print magazines published for frontline troops such as Kia Ora Coo-Ee and Aussie magazine.

The variety of colloquial language favoured by New Zealanders and Australians in World War 1 has been well documented, including such work as Australian scholar Amanda Laugesen's 2005 Oxford University Press text Diggerspeak: The Language of Australians at War

This New Zealand WW100 activity is dedicated to reviewing this lexicography from a New Zealand perspective. Related research will also be carried out to highlight the cross-over and exchange of 'ANZAC slang' evident in troop magazines and other contemporaneous sources. 

Lastly attention will also be given to Aussie's unique status as a publication that was a popular success on both sides of the Tasman, assisted by publication of a New Zealand section in the years between 1923-1931.  This should help elicit how much of WW1 diggerspeak was brought home to domestic New Zealand readers and possibly reveal elements of language carried forward 100 years later.

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This activity is being worked on from
June 2013
 to 
Ongoing
Date added: 11 May 2013 | Last updated: 19 July 2014

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