Just a quick follow-up data post to Arnold Zwicky’s Language Log post about university names.
Australian Universities have a couple of patterns.
Some universities have variable placement of the name. So for example Melbourne University is also known as the University of Melbourne. The official name is the second one. That corresponds to the pattern that Arnold identified for universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. I might add that there is a very common are the abbreviation that one would never find with Oxford and Cambridge — that is, to abbreviated University to Uni. “I go to Melbourne Uni” is absolutely fine, but I cannot imagine a context where anyone would say “I go to Oxford Uni”, even an Australian who otherwise has fully productive clipping of this word.
Other universities named after places have this pattern is well in Australia. So, it’s the University of Sydney/Sydney University (note, e-mail abbreviations for these two universities are unimelb and usyd respectively). There is one exception though: the University of Canberra is never Canberra University (often abbreviated to UCan).
Universities whose names are based on states rather than cities do not show this pattern – they are always prepositional. So it’s the University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, University of South Australia, University of Western Australia, and never Western Australian University, or New South Wales University. These universities are usually abbreviated to their initials, so we have UNSW, UQ and UWA.
Finally, most of the rest of the 36 or so universities in Australia are either named after people, or have some other descriptive name. Under this category are Charles Darwin University, Charles Sturt University, Edith Cowan University, and James Cook University. Under the second category are the Australian National University and Southern Cross University. Before it became Charles Darwin* University, it was Northern Territory University, and thus an exception to the other universities named after states/territories in that it’s attributive rather than prepositional.
*Me voice recognition software got the name right the first time, but the second time heard “Charles Stalin University”.