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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Disappearing Slang and Cultural Variants: How Australian English Is Altering

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Studying your letter actually resonated with me. Not as a result of I’m Asian-Australian myself, however as a result of I undeniably have what I name a “Jewish-Australian” accent.

Like my dad and mom, I used to be born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. However 9 out of ten occasions that I communicate to somebody new, they inevitably ask me “So what a part of America are you from?” or “Is that an American accent I detect?” Initially reluctant to announce my Jewish identification (a symptom of minority mentality, as you talked about in your letter), I used to depend on the excuse that I used to be introduced up on loads of TV, often accompanied with a clumsy giggle that begged them to just accept this reply.

Though this excuse has a component of reality to it (as a child, I watched loads of Nickelodeon and used phrases like “trip” and “soda” consequently) it by no means appeared to fulfill folks, who would query me additional in disbelief. Ultimately, I might additionally admit to the truth that I’m Jewish and that every one my Jewish pals appear to have the identical accent, and possibly that has one thing to do with it. That is often when folks’s eyes get actually massive and so they begin nodding their heads in additional confusion, too awkward to query me additional.

Whereas I used to get embarrassed when requested about my accent, I’ve lately come to embrace the reality and have began to easily reply, “Oh I’m not American, I’m simply Jewish.” Largely as a result of it ends the dialog shortly. However I additionally suppose that it’s vital that individuals perceive that totally different cultural and spiritual demographics have totally different Australian accents and dialects, however that doesn’t make us any much less Australian. Answering truthfully looks like an affirmation of my Jewish-Australian identification — one thing that I can’t cover even when I attempted, evidently due to my Jewish-Australian accent.

— Talia Slonim

Having lived in Hong Kong for a couple of decade and a half and being a reasonably proficient Cantonese speaker, I can hear the accent you describe and have a principle for it.

Whereas the Asian-Australian accent is nothing so pronounced because the native Hong Kong-English accent, my speculation is that there’s something within the cultural Chinese language linguistics that give rise to the accent you describe. First, as , Chinese language has only a few connecting phrases (i.e. the verb “to go” is a single character, so there is no such thing as a “to” equal) and Chinese language is wealthy in single characters (or restricted character phrases) that carry broad meanings. Due to this fact, I’m questioning if the heritage of minimal-language-for-vast-meaning isn’t enjoying out in Asian-Australians by being minimalists with phrase sounds? Due to this fact, whereas being fluent English audio system with Australian accents, a nod to Asian heritage comes by (maybe subliminally) by way of decreased sounds per phrase. Only a hunch.

— Michael Corcoran

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