Mariana, the Director of Studies at GV Brisbane, has put together some valuable information to help students to understand Australians when they speak.
Tips to Understand Australians
We know that the Australian accent is slightly different from the one you are probably used to, either American or British English. As soon as non-English speakers arrive in Australia, they notice a difference in pronunciation, vocabulary that is used and expressions.
Here, at Global Village Brisbane, we want you to feel comfortable with the Australian culture, lifestyle and traditions, so every week we’ll post some tips for you to improve your understanding of the Australian world. There will be notes on Aussie slang, expressions, pronunciation, and many more things!
Today, we’ll work on three sounds that are specific to the Aussie accent.
The first one is the diphthong (two vowel sounds) that you can find in the words mind, time, find, which is not /ai/, pronounced at the front of your mouth, but /ai/, pronounced at the back. Click below to hear the British pronunciation of mind, time and find:
Compare it to the Australian pronunciation of mind, time and find to notice the difference.
The other diphthong that changes significantly is the one you can find in words like mate, main, pay, make. Australians don’t pronounce /ei/ as British people do. Australians will say /ai/. So the traditional greeting in Australia “G’day mate!” will be pronounced /gdai mait/ and not /gdei meit/ as a British person would say.
Click below to hear the British pronunciation of the words mate, main, pay, and make:
and compare it to the Australian pronunciation of the words mate, main, pay, and make to notice the difference.
The last pronunciation tip for today is called “intrusive R”. Australians tend to link words with an inexistent R. This only happens if a word finishes in a vowel and the following word starts in a vowel also. For example, in the phrase
“Australia and New Zealand”,
vowel a followed by vowel a
Aussies would say “Australia_r_and New Zealand”. Click below to hear the Australian pronunciation of the “Australia and New Zealand”and below here to listen to the British pronunciation of the “Australia and New Zealand” to notice the difference.
The “r” that is added is very soft, and it means nothing at all. It’s just pronounced to link the words together.
We hope these tips will help you to sound Australian, and to understand Aussies better when you talk to them in the street!
Have a good day!