The written wor(l)ds of men and women in early white Australia

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This paper investigates the written wor(l)ds of men and women in eighteenth and nineteenth century Australia. Using a self-collected corpus of early English in Australia, COOEE, possible variation is looked for in a number of fields. In some of them men and women differ a lot, in others not at all. These differences can be attributed to sociocultural factors and/or the gender of the writer. It is naturally difficult to decide which factor is dominant; however, the data suggest some real gender differences e.g. in the area of evidentiality and for linguistic change in progress. Another finding is the unexpected level of similarity of male and female writings. Egalitarianism in early white Australia seems to extend not only to all classes but also to the sexes.


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