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How to speak with an Australian accent

Written by on May 20th, 2013.      0 comments

Many people who move to Australia often ask, how do I speak with an Australian accent?   There are several things to think about when we refer to Australian accent, but the following are some great tips to help you speak just like an Australian.

First of all, it is important to learn Australian pronunciation.    Australian’s tend to pronounce some English sounds slightly different to those of American or British speakers.  Enrolling in an Australian accent training program to help you learn how to pronounce English words and speak with an Australian accent, is extremely helpful.

In addition, the spoken form of Australian English often includes use of ‘slang’ language.   These unique Australian expressions can be very confusing for non-native speakers.  Understanding different types of slang and how to learn them will help you to start speaking like a real “Aussie”.

The word “slang” describes a part of speech where the person who is speaking feels relaxed and free to informally express themselves, more commonly in informal situations. The use of ‘slang’ usually depends upon the speaker and the situation.

Words can be shortened, combined or even substituted in unusual ways.   Although many words used can be easy to understand, often for a non-native speaker, these terms can be very confusing.

There are many examples of slang which are found in everyday speech.  Some of the most common include:-
G’day = hello
How ya goin?  = how are you?
Mate = friend
No worries = an expression to reassure or forgive, no problem, it’s OK

Australian’s also like to shorten words or alter word endings.  Examples of these are:-
‘barbie’ for barbecue, ‘arvo’ for afternoon,   ‘ambo’ for ambulance, ‘exy’ for expensive, ‘vejjo’ for vegetarian.

Rhyming language is another common form of slang.  Words are often substituted in a humorous way to use words which rhyme to create meaning.   Examples of rhyming slang include:-
frog and toad = road  (example = I’m late, it’s time to hit the frog and toad)
pat malone = alone (example – She went on holidays on her pat malone)
picadilly – chilly (cold)   (example – It’s getting very picadilly tonight)

Australian’s also like to use a combination of words, which when used together, has a different meaning from the one which each individual word would have.   These are called ‘idioms’.   There are many different idioms used in Australian English, a few of the more common ones you may hear include:
She’ll be right = everything will be ok
Fair dinkum = really, anything that is genuine or real; or this can mean exclamation to indicate amazement.
A couch potato = a lazy person

So how can you learn to speak like an Australian using Australian slang?  Here are some tips to help you.
1. Listen to native Australian speakers when they talk.   When you come across a new expression, write it down.  Try to remember the context you heard it in as this will give you a clue about the meaning.
2. Check your new expression with a native Australian speaker to see if you have the expression written correctly and whether it is a polite expression to use.
3. To help you remember meanings for the expressions, write them down under topic headings.  For example you can use headings such as – food, greetings, weather, health.
4. Select the words and phrases which are most useful to you.  Practice these new expressions in your everyday speech.

Keep practicing and before you know it, you will be speaking just like a native Australian speaker.