The “Aussie” Bogan: An Occasioned Semantics Analysis

Roslyn Rowen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter explores the meaning and social use of the word bogan in Australian English. Although bogan is arguably a term that is currently trending in use and has been parodied in television series such as Bogan Pride and Upper Middle Bogan, it has so far been examined predominantly by sociologists, media scholars and social commentators (e.g. Nichols in The Bogan Delusion. Affirm, Mulgrave, VIC, 2011; Gibson in Journal of Australian Studies 37(1):62–75, 2013; Pini et al. in Sociology 46(1):142–158, 2012), with little to no semantic research to date into bogan as a personal descriptor in colloquial Australian English. This study contributes to filling this gap by providing a foundation based on which the meaning(s) of the term and its current widespread use in social interactions can be understood. In the process, it demonstrates that bogan is more than a term that asserts middle class hegemony, a label it has been repeatedly branded with; rather, it has a strong semantic core to which its meaning across various Australian discourses can be traced back (Rowen in Cultural Keywords in Discourse. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 55–82, 2017). I will draw on interactional pragmatics to analyse the interactional achievement of locally situated meanings of bogan in conversational data. I will then provide comment on the role of Natural Semantic Metalanguage in dealing with participants’ interactionally specific meaning(s) of bogan. Data on usage comes from a corpus of naturally occurring examples of use of bogan in social interaction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationStudies in Ethnopragmatics, Cultural Semantics, and Intercultural Communication
    Subtitle of host publicationMeaning and Culture
    EditorsBert Peeters, Kerry Mullan, Lauren Sadow
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
    Number of pages27
    ISBN (Electronic)978-981-32-9975-7
    ISBN (Print)978-981-32-9974-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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