Accents and Pronunciation

There’s a bunch of Aussie’s living here in Texas, and we all have varying degrees of Aussie/Texas twang. Some of my mates still sound pretty ocker, while some of us have completely converted to Texan.

I purposely converted when I got here. So may other Aussie’s complained all the time about not being understood. They had to repeat things 3 times before someone knew what they were asking for. To me, it just seemed easier to recognize that it was a different language and speak it. Just like when we go to Mexico, I speak Spanish, in Texas, I speak American. Or Spanish, since it’s almost 50/50 here. After seeing so many people bitch about the fact that I sound American these days, I wondered if I was the only one who had changed their accent. Then, I visited some friends who’ve been here for about 10 years too. Vicki still sounds Aussie, but her 4 daughters who are only a couple years younger than me all sound American. We all have certain words that we still sound Aussie on, but for the most part, we choose to blend in. Just like my step dad in Oz, who’s a Kiwi and used to say Fush and Chups when we first met him, he now sounds like an Aussie. For the most part, when all the Aussie’s get together, we convert back to Ocker and use Aussie slang. We head back out with Texans, we convert back to Y’all and Fixing to. Instead of complaining that people don’t understand me, and therefor getting homesick, I just fit in and feel at home here.

For the most part, people here think I have a slight accent, and assume I’m from Boston. Especially if I’ve been drinking… Ever seen “Good Will Hunting”? Southies from Boston have long A’s like Aussies, so when we say Park the Car or ask for a Harp Lager, we sound similar. Apparently it’s not polite to ask someone if they’re a Southie though. That’s like asking someone in Sydney if they’re a Westie.

There’s a few words I still keep Aussie though, like Tomato, Banana and Herbs. I refuse to say erbs, no matter how much I’m chastised about it.

Although lately, a new word has come up that I hadn’t noticed before. NUTELLA. Most Aussie’s say Nuh-tel-lah. But here, people say New-tella or Noo-tel-la. So, I wondered, is this like Rodeo? Where Aussie’s who’ve never been to one say Row-Day-Oh and those who play with bulls say Row-dEE-oh. The Spanish pronunciation is just like the Aussie Row-Day-Oh, or like the street in Beverly Hills. I say it Row-dEE-Oh. Unless I’m shopping on that street in 90210. Then I say it the other way.

So, I decided to look it up. Apparently, both are correct. You can say Nuh-tel-la if you’re like me, and recognize the Nuts in Nutella or you can say Noo-tella if you’re trying to sound Italian…

Well, I’ve successfully wasted a small portion of the morning pondering that, so now I’ll sign off.


4 Replies to “Accents and Pronunciation”

  1. Hi sarah,

    I have a friend going to honoloulou in september, hopefully, he says. he met an american and they told him that australians talk very fast but amercians have simply ways of spelling words like they sound. My friend has relatives that are friends with margaret and goth whitlam the ex prime minister, and has interesting stories about his relatives overseas trips. Anyway, hope things are going well. how is the weather and the news regading lindsay lohan?

  2. Yep, I’ll concede to Nootella. I just think it’s funny how people pick and choose which words they’re going to pronounce with a foreign accent. The same people who say noo-tella will say ‘erbs, “because it’s french”, (which it’s not) and pronounce Huebner as hee-bner instead of hoobner “because it’s German” but then they go ahead and say Guadalupe as guad-a-loop and leave off the eh. You’d think, this being a Mexican town, that’s the one they’d get right…..

  3. This is very interesting, thanks for sharing! I’m also an expat from Australia living in Germany. And I have been living here for 25 years. Since I don’t have family in Australia anymore, I have only visited once in all those years. Turns out my accent has changed as well! While I was visiting, I often got asked where I was from. Asking people back they thought I was from England, or maybe a mix of the mainland and England. I also purposefully changed my pronunciation years ago, because I too thought it was uncomfortable being asked to repeat myself. (on one occasion I remember saying “hair”…and receiving blank stares…”heh?”). Problem is, I now don’t know how to change it back.

    So, I can definitely relate.

    P.S.: after two weeks or so in Sydney, my accent returned….pfew! 🙂

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