The Aussie Accent: ‘Could you say that again please?’

 

Everyone loves an Aussie. Or so it seems.

 

It’s something I’ve noticed in all the countries I’ve travelled in the past twelve years, but never more so than here in the States. The reaction I get when I tell people I am from Australia goes through a relatively standard process:

 

First there is the slightly confused “what-the-hell-is-that-weird-accent” look.

Then come the misunderstandings as some words don’t quite translate. I resort to putting a soft, rolling American ‘r’ on the end of my words instead of a hard Australian ‘a’ to make myself understood. Amazing. The word is completely transformed.

Then, after a suitable amount of translation, the inevitable question…

“Where are you from?”

 

empty road in Western Australia

© Quiet Wanderings. All photography by Cherina Hadley. Western Australia

 

 

I’ve had people guess me as being a New Yorker, New Englander, New Zealander, British, South African, Irish and even on occasion, an Australian. But once my real identity is ascertained the reaction is pretty much the same. It is one of wonder and warmth and a genuine eagerness to continue the conversation.

If only to hear my accent.

 

I mean yes, we are a pretty endearing folk I admit, but I think the real love affair lies in our drawn out, nasally, sort-of-musical accent. Really I do.

 

Allow me to back up this little theory of mine…

 

“You should totally work in radio”

“Hmm, can you please repeat that.” And then a grin. “ Actually I understood you the first time, I just wanted to hear your accent again. Seriously, I could listen to you talk all day long”

“I love the way you talk. I’ll bet you have a great singing voice”

“Only if you promise to sing like Kylie” (When requesting my seat allocation on an Amtrak train)

 

And my all-time personal favourite…

“Hearing your voice makes me melt like butter in a frying pan”

Butter! In a frying pan!!

 

I’ve been told on several occasions that I sound (and look) “exactly” like Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts. (Just to clarify – I don’t. At all. On both counts.)

 

 

Windfarm in Western Australia

© Quiet Wanderings. Western Australia

 

 

To be honest, I don’t entirely get it. But then, I hear the Aussie accent every single day.

 

I have definitely become accustomed to the American accent since I’ve been here. I’ve been looking for Melbourne accommodation for my big move interstate when I return home and when I talked to someone in Melbourne on the phone I couldn’t help but think how Australian they sounded. It was a little surreal.

 

Is it the same fascination I have when I hear someone speaking in French or Spanish? I wouldn’t have given Australians credit as being quite so exotic.

 

So tell me….am I on the wrong track? Is it love, or hate, or just plain indifference when it comes to the Aussie accent? Do we make you “melt like butter” or reel back in horror?

 

I’ll continue talking to you just the same….

 

 

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