Thursday, April 26, 2007

An Australian polysemic word: the Outback

The word “outback” can refer to three different things.
Its first meaning is that of arid areas in Australia. First of all, it is important to differentiate between the outback and “the bush”. The latter is a rural area that can include agriculture and regional settlements. “Outback” is an unofficial term that is used to describe locations that are more remote than those referred to as “the bush”. It is also used as an appealing term for tourists. Indeed, the outback is typical and unique to the Australian landscape. Its main features serve the purpose of creating its mythical dimension. It has a specific fauna, of which feral camels and dingoes are typical examples (dingo movements even have to be restricted into the agricultural areas, hence the building of the “Dingo fence”). Stories of its exploration and settlement, and of men of those times, provide a particularly important contribution to the Australian mythical backdrop. Ned Kelly was one of those legendary men: he was an outlaw who resisted British authorities and various persecutors all his life, and died on the gallows for doing so. In addition to these features, the outback contains many tourist attractions and historic tracks, roads and highways.

Secondly, Outback is also the name given to the national football team in Australia. Football is a very popular sport in the country. Indeed, it is played in the 6 States and 2 Territories that form the continent.

Thirdly, we will briefly discuss the last meaning of “outback”. It was the name of a world music group that was founded in the late 80’s. Their music was a mix of traditional Australian tribal music and modern Western music.

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