Corella Outbreak

Three Australian Dialects

BEING A YOUNG NATION, AUSTRALIA IS NOT ENDOWED WITH THE PATCHWORK OF REGIONAL DIALECTS FOUND IN THE UNITED STATES OR BRITAIN. Geography does not influence speech in any meaningful way; one regional dialect covers the entire continent. That said, ethnic and social differences do exist. Apart from the ethnic dialects, there are said to be three sociocultural varieties of Australian English: broad (Ocker), general, and cultivated. As Wikipedia records, "the term 'Ocker' is used both as a noun and adjective for an Australian who speaks and acts in an uncouth manner, using a broad Australian accent." Ocker culture is anti-authoritarian, and anti-intellectual. The intonation is flat with a nasal twang, and rhythms are slower than the general dialect. Speech is peppered with unique idioms, frequent swearing, and colourful terminology. Some famous Ocker expressions include "fair dinkum" for something true or genuine, "bludger" for a lazy person, and "she'll be right" (don't worry, things will turn out okay.) Curiously, younger generations of Ockers speak with a rising intonation at the end of statements (this is known as the high rising terminal).

The Ocker might pronounce the word "wife" like "woife", or "fine" like "foine" and the "ou" diphthong as "eu". They may also make grammatical mistakes such as using "me" as a possessive pronoun ("that's me woife" = "that's me wife".)

I was born and raised in Australia, and have acquired what might be called a standard general Australian accent, the type used by newscasters on Australian television, or students of a middle-class school. As Australian English is quite distinct from other English dialects, I have learnt to modify my enunciation and use of idioms and vocabulary when I am around non-Australians, to enable them to understand what I am saying.

I was exposed to the Ocker dialect while I was growing up in rural Australia, but even as a young child I found it coarse and uneducated, and recoiled from it. I have always aspired to be worldly and refined, so I tried to sound as educated as possible. When other children were playing football or cricket, I was reading books, and looking up words in a dictionary. Because of these efforts, and the pervading influence of the media and education system, I ended up with a Cultivated accent, but with something of a "mid-Pacific" flavor.

Of the more than 150 Australian Indigenous languages reported in the 2016 Census, the most widely reported language group was from the Arnhem Land and Daly River Region. Learn more here https://t.co/CgylyNu0Et#NAIDOCWeek2019 #NAIDOC2019 #NAIDOC #NAIDOCWeek #IYIL2019 #IYoIL pic.twitter.com/65sMrdZjpW

— Australian Bureau of Statistics (@ABSStats) July 8, 2019

It was not until I traveled overseas that I realised that despite all my childhood efforts, I am still an Australian with an Australian accent, and ingrained habits of speech. Teaching English in Japan, I was often asked to pronounce the letter "Z" as "Zee" rather than "Zed", or to spell words the American way (for example, "color" instead of "colour".) To my surprise, I discovered that I used the high rising terminal, subconsciously. Nonetheless, I continue to strive to be as "accentless" as possible, especially when teaching English. Consequently, some foreigners are surprised to discover that I am Australian after I have met them; my speech does not conform to their stereotypes of how Australian English should sound. They expect me to be a little more "Ocker" than I actually am.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO9_4snOmog&list=LL0eXnB6DF-DVsFE5S9EwMvQ


AUSSIE SLANG

Aussie .......... Australian
G'day .......... Good day.
Hooroo .......... Hello/Goodbye (old fashioned).
Yeah, sure thing .......... Yes.
Nah .......... No.
Yeah, nah

Eh? .......... (At the end of a statement) To show or elicit agreement. "It's hot, eh?"
Mate .......... Friend, partner.
Digger .......... Soldier.
Fair dinkum .......... True, honest, real
You legend/beauty/ripper ... Good work!
Ordinary .......... Not so good.
Wowser .......... Killjoy.
Sook .......... Someone who often complains.
Galah .......... Cockatoo, also used to call someone a fool or idiot.
Cocky .......... Farmer (named after cockatoo.)
Hoon .......... Young person who drives too fast.
Crook .......... Sick.
Chucking a sickie .......... Pretending to be crook so as to avoid work.
Chockers .......... Crowded, or full.
Selfie .......... Self portrait (taken with camera)
Tradie... Tradesman/woman.
Sue's Toasties, at The Entrance
Maccas .......... McDonald's.
Wazza .......... Short for Warren.
Lolly .......... Candy.
Grog .......... Alcohol.
Bunyip .......... Mythical creature or monster.
Happy little Vegemites .......... Contented children.
Hard yakka .......... Hard work.

RECOMMENDED WEBSITES & WEBLOGS
» ABC Education Online
» Aussie Dictionary


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