Culture, Humor, Travel & Food

How to Speak with an Australian Accent for American Dummies

4 Mar , 2013  


Part III: Vowels and Diphthongs: The Perfect Match

Despite what the name says, diphthongs have nothing to do with creamy ranch dressing and underwear. A diphthong consists of two vowel sounds mashed together. The most popular diphthong found in the Aussie accent is for the letter i. In America, this letter would be pronounced like the word “eye”. In Australia however, this letter will now become the child of the two vowel sounds “oh” and “Ee”– sounding like “aw-Ee”. Make sure you get this one down; it is essential when saying vegemite: the salty, delicious, yeast extract paste that all Australians have harboring in their refrigerator. Ay mayt, got any vegemaw-eet for me toast? You really have to give your mouth a workout, practically masticating these diphthongs; your tongue, mouth, and throat will all be in action, chewing the words. Once you have this mastered, you are one step closer to convincing others you’re from the land down undah.

Part IV: Let’s Slang Some Words on the Barbie

The Aussie use of slang is so common that they shouldn’t even be called slang words anymore. Because there are so many that a whole Australian dictionary could be formed, I will break this section down into two parts: slang used for food and alcohol and slang used for everything else.
Food and Alcohol
You might be wondering why this is in its own section, but if you know any true Aussies you will understand that these two components most definitely deserve their own section. Walking through an Australian grocery store seems as foreign walking through an Asian market. Trying to find simple ingredients for a meal will easily take double the time it normally would as you figure out that baking soda is called bi-carb soda, ketchup is called tomato sauce, tomato sauce is called bolognaise sauce, bell peppers are called capsicums, and, well, you might be thinking tomato, tomahto, ay? Well, not in this case. It’s tomahto. As you can see, easy spaghetti suddenly becomes a bit more complicated.
Now, for the blood of Aussies– booze. Nothing is better than an ice cold beer during the dead of the summer. But how do you keep that malty nectar cold when you’re so damn close to the equator and there’s a hole in the ozone layer? Well, firstly, they’d probably just say to “skull it”, but for those of you who don’t like inhaling a beer within a few gulps, put it in a stubby holder, I mean holdah (even though coozie actually sounds more appropriate for Aussies than Americans). But wait; of course you have more than one. Then chuck yah beahs in the esky, mate! Oh, and don’t try to order a “pitcher” of beer unless you plan to get a weird look from the bartender. They’re called “jugs”. And while you’re at it, you might as well forget about pints. Those are called “schooners” and they’re a whopping five full ounces less than pints. Guess I’ll just have to go to the bottle-o to buy some more.
Everything Else
Some of the most common phrases of the Aussie accent seem to be incomplete comparisons. After the hundredth time of hearing “as” at the end of the sentence, I finally broke down.
Aw, it was funny as, ay?
Okay baby,as what? Funny as what?!
Haha,whatever you want it to be funny as.
My only response to that was. . . that is fucking brilliant as.
Another one of these strange endings is their use of the word “but”, which confused me for months. To put into simplest terms, Aussies use the word “but” instead of “though”. So, if someone were to ask you to go grab a beer from an empty fridge, you would naturally say, “There aren’t anymore, though.” However, if you were the one asking an Australian to do this, they would respond with, “Aw, there aren’t any more but.” I still don’t understand the logic behind this one, but with this accent sometimes you just have to accept it and move along.
Remember how I said to erase all the stereotypical phrases Americans think Aussies say? Good, now replace those phrases with fucking oath and she’ll be right, fling them into your conversations that incorporate everything from the past three sections and you are officially ready to start convincing people that you rode to school on the back of kangaroos as a child and have a pet koala. But, what do these phrases mean, you ask? Let me just show you.
Bloody hell, this accent is more difficult to explain than I thought.
Fucking oath it is.
Hopefully everything has been explained well enough.
Aw, she’ll be right, mate.
One last disclaimer: whatever you do, don’t mistake “fucking oath” for “fucking oats” unless you are prepared to be the punch line of everyone’s joke.
Now that you have learned the majority of the ins and outs of the Australian accent, you are now prepared to apply for that job at Outback Steakhouse you have always wanted or make yourself sound more interesting as you sit alone at the neighborhood bar. And, good on ya mate, because as far as Americans go, you have also just learned a New Zealand accent because, let’s be honest, how many of us can really tell a difference?

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Tracy J Elston By
One might say I suffer from the incurable disease of wanderlust. I enjoy food probably more than I should and follow the practical philosophy of "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy."