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William Steed

William Steed is a linguist teaching in the Speech Pathology discipline at James Cook University. He is currently working projects on Spanish pronunciation pedagogy and tones in Chinese languages.


Redefining the refugee

October 21, 2013 4 Comments

Fairfax media reports that Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has sent a list of appropriate terminology for referring to refugee boat arrivals, including referring to the people as 'illegal arrivals' and 'detainees'. How does changing terminology change how we think about something?

PM Gillard’s Linguistic Exemplar

May 30, 2013

It seems that Julia Gillard has been listening to the advice of the Language and Culture Network of Australian Universities (LCNAU) and Fully(sic) and has started leading by example when it comes to languages. William Steed ponders her motivation… It was only recently that I commented on LCNAU’s call for Australia’s leaders to lead by […]

¡Si! Prime Minister: Leading by example on foreign languages

May 21, 2013

Teachers love enthusiastic students who want to learn, and Australia's language teachers are no different. A group of language advocates has called for Australian politicians to set a good example and learn Asian languages. Will Steed explains.

Australia’s Asian Literacy in the Asian Century

Australia’s Asian Literacy in the Asian Century

October 29, 2012

The Australia in the Asian Century whitepaper is, on the surface, a bold statement in several areas, including literacy in Asian languages and cultures. It targets all Australian students being exposed to Asian cultures throughout their schooling and having access to classes in Asian languages. Does it mean that your children will all be learning Chinese at school next year? William Steed looks more closely at the pathways outlined to achieve this goal.

Macquarie, Misogyny and Men who hate women

Macquarie, Misogyny and Men who hate women

October 17, 2012 16 Comments

Julia Gillard has been criticised for changing the definition of misogynist to suit her attack on Tony Abbott. Now, Macquarie Dictionary have updated their entry for 'misogyny', seemingly to reflect Gillard's usage. But is it as simple as that? Can a Prime Minister drive such language change? Will Steed and Aidan Wilson think not.

The latest talk on Australia’s linguistic diversity

June 22, 2012 1 Comment

William Steed writes: The 2011 census data is out. One of the questions it asked is about the language spoken at home. It reveals some things about the Australian populace that some people may find surprising. Hopefully, they also find it heartening. Across Australia, 20.4% of households reported speaking more than one language at home […]

Dialects in the mist

June 15, 2012

ABC's Jane Cowan ran into some accent issues in Alabama, USA. She also discovered the joy of discussing language differences in a new place. Discussing and laughing together over different words and pronunciations is a great way to break the ice in a new place. Everyone can find something that's distinctive about how they speak where they're from - a word, a particular way of saying something or odd sayings.


March 30, 2012

Fairfax media’s reply to a heavily-critical Murdoch tweet includes a useful new word: “tweetorialise”: “Proof you can’t trust anything in Australian Fairfax papers, unless you are just another crazy,” he tweetorialised this morning. Although the word may have been used before just now, this is, according to Google, the first time it has occurred in […]

A flood of interesting place names

March 8, 2012 6 Comments

The recent flooding around southern NSW and northern Victoria has brought a few of Australia's more interesting place names into the news. Some of them are interesting just for being a bit longer than the normal place name, such as Tallygaroopna. Digging a little further, a number of unusual place names pop out, mostly from local indigenous languages - Boomahnoomoonah, Koonoomoo, Numurrkah, and more. That said, some of them not only look unusual, but are pronounced in an unusual way.

Aboriginal language on Broadway

November 14, 2011 1 Comment

William Steed writes: It’s only a small thing, but I’m a fan of both Australian indigenous languages and musicals (and, thanks to X-Men, of Hugh Jackman as well). All three show up together in Jackman’s one-man show on Broadway, says ABC Online. Olive Knight sings in the show, Back on Broadway, and taught Jackman to […]