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The Routes of English - BBC Radio 4
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1788 - The World of English
1788  
1788 The 'First Fleet' arrived in Port Jackson in Australia in 1788. It consisted of 11 ships which held about 1000 English people, many of whom were criminals 'transported for life', often for very minor offences. These early Australians tended to lose their regional accents and local words in the penal settlements. As a result, there are few variations in accents and word usage across the whole of Australia.

Before being transported, the criminals used a common slang called 'Flash'. The word 'swag' comes from Flash, and billy and tucker are 19th century words still in common usage in Australia.

The whaling stations of New Zealand were established in the 18th century and, since many of the first settlers came from the same background as those who went to Australia, the accents and way of speaking are closely related. South Africa also received an influx of settlers around the same time, resulting in the inclusion of Afrikaner words such as spoor, trek and veldt into English.

Further east, Singapore and Hong Kong were exposed to English from traders, missionaries and settlers.
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