Definitely American


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I think I’ve always been a person that picks up little bits of accents and speech when I move abroad. I think it is from my speech and drama training as a kid. While I think my parents sent me to those lessons so I would talk properly and be a confident speaker, it quite possibly made me equally susceptible to absorbing other people’s pronunciation and intonation quirks. Helpful when learning a foreign language, not so much for speaking Australian English.

I’ve had a few people question me about the veracity of my Australian citizenship as a result. Like this morning.

An old man at the bakery this morning told me I was definitely American when I was ordering a loaf of wholegrain and a strong coffee to go. I told him I was definitely Australian.

“Well, you sure as hell sound like a yank, love,” he said.

When I tried to explain that I was from Albury, he was even more incredulous.

“If you’re from Albury you should sound properly Australian. How did you get that bloody American accent in Albury?”

I just shrug.

He is genuinely shocked.

He looks me up and down while I wait for my change.

“Do ya watch a lotta telly or somethin’?”

“Only Aunty (slang for the ABC),” I replied. “I do have quite a few American friends though, maybe some of it rubbed off.” (I didn’t tell him that I had lived there for six months last year. It seemed too… obvious?)

“That’d be right,” he says with a huff. “Well, if you have to change your accent to make your friends feel bloody happy then you should tell them to bugger off home to America. It’s a shame, a young girl like you talken’ funny like that.”

It seems I have now written off my chances of the Australian dream or something, all by pronouncing a few extra “r” sounds in words…

Though honestly, I don’t think I sound American at all. My American friends don’t seem to think so either!

2 Responses to " Definitely American "

  1. heather says:

    everyone here thinks I’m either american or british. they definitely don’t pick australian. but I think that’s just because they have no idea what an australian should sound like if they’re not paul hogan. all my thai friends who’ve lived in australia make fun of my ‘noyyyy’s and my ‘wawtah’s.

  2. Backpacking says:

    I agree with heather , all the best betty for your new citizenship