How to speak Aussie

My son has a friend who has been trying to perfect an Aussie accent for the last year. Every time he comes to our place he fires off his latest attempt at saying g’day. I must admit, a few times he’s nearly had it (after a bit of coaching), but mostly he sounds like a Canadian kid with a speech impediment.

I’ve never heard a non-Australian pull it off. Many have tried in movies, but they are usually woeful and end up sounding like nasally pommies. One of the worst was in an ear torturing episode of the Simpsons where Bart went to Australia to receive his punishment for running up a huge reverse charges phone bill. The voices were more like 19th century cockney characters than real life Aussies.

So, here is my best advice if you want to sound just a little bit more like an Aussie…

OK, first of all, poke out your tongue, pinch it hard and wiggle it around while trying to say g’day mate.

Sorry! Couldn’t resist! That won’t help you speak Australian at all, but if even one person does it, it was worth writing it!

Firstly – make words shorter

We’re a lazy bunch with our speech. We’ll shorten any word if you give us a chance. I mean, why would you say University when you can simply say Uni (pronounced you-knee)? Or sunnies (sun-kneez) for sunglasses, or arvo (arr-vo) for afternoon.

Here’s a few more:

  • Mozzies (mozz-ee) – mosquitos
  • Chocie (choc-ee) – chocolate
  • Lippie (Lip-ee) – lipstick
  • Ambo (aam-bo) – ambulance
  • Trackies (track-ee) also known as Trackie dacs – Track/sweat pants
  • Brekkie (brek-ee) – breakfast
  • Postie (post-ee) – someone who delivers packages or letters, a postman/woman
  • Cuppa (cup-a) – cup of tea

But be warned you can’t shorten just any old word. Like, I’d never call a rabbitrabbie.

Secondly – lose the ‘er’

We also have serious issues with the letters ‘er’ at the end of sentences. We categorically refuse to say them. We pronounce words like teacher, bigger, and water with an ‘a’ at the end rather than an ‘er’. So teacher is pronounced tee-cha.

Thirdly – talk like you’re asking a question

The pitch and tone of our speech increases at the end of our sentences, much like we are asking a question. Check out the second YouTube link below for an example.

And lastly – lose the ‘ing’

I don’t think all Aussies do this, but a large chunk do. Rather than enunciating the ‘ing’ at the end of a word we shorten it to a single sound and letter – ‘n’. So kicking would be pronounced kick’n.

Check out these guys for some more tips:

  1. This guy doesn’t do too badly at all; he’s nearly got it!  http://youtu.be/QVgiG7_Ey9k
  2. And this young Aussie guy explains a few things about our disrespect for vowels. http://youtu.be/–CzCeOJXfA

Seeyalater (did I mention that? We also have a tendency to roll words together too!)

Nic

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3 Responses to How to speak Aussie

  1. Tracy Wiseman says:

    Far out Nic – I feel like I am reading an article in a mag (short for magazine)!
    Very entertaining to read, and soooo professionally written. I am excited to read more! T (short for Tracy).

  2. J says:

    Love your blog about life in Canada, it was really exciting to see people recycling the milk bags here. I’ve got to get that going where I am. Do you find Cdns doing the same upward pitch in our speech as well?

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