Caitlin: The further we delve into Australian languages, the more I find myself questioning my own knowledge of English. I don’t mean the syntactical side of things, but further back in the past to the actual development of the language. I’ve read two books recently that I highly highly recommend (and can lend to anyone on the Gold Coast!).
The first is Bill Bryson’s Mother Tongue. I have read this book so many times that it’s all tatty and dog-eared, and have bought copies for countless friends (that’s right, I’m the book-buying friend). Mother Tongue traces the English language from its roots, and I have found it especially relevant considering our investigation into the families of Australian languages. There is also an (unusual?) support for variants of English, including Australian-English. For anyone interested in a light* read, I highly recommend Mother Tongue.
The second book that I’ve read lately is David Sachs’ Letter Perfect: The Marvelous History of our Alphabet from A-Z. The title essentially sums up the essence of this book, but there are a lot of aspects that I have found myself applying to the Aboriginal languages that we are studying.
I know for all you Australian students that it’s starting to get a bit warmer, so these might make for some interesting sunbathing material- just be prepared to explain your choices to nosy onlookers!