The Aussie Accent
The Aussie Accent
Michael Dillon, Film maker
Not for downloadCopyright
Expedition artist, Ben Beeton has been using the three month expedition to explore theories that spring to mind.
On the banks of the Corella River in Queensland, he ruminates about the Australian accent. One thing you notice, even with sunglasses, which Burke and Wills didn’t have, is the blinding glare that makes one squint, thus altering the nasal passages and perhaps this is how the distinctive nasal Aussie accent evolved.
-I'm standing on the Corella River. Burke and Wills traveled this way on their way to the gulf. And I'd like to share with you an idea that has come to me.
If they'd made it back to Melbourne, and if Wills had returned to England, would his family and friends made a comment about his slightly increased nasal accent? Now the idea that I've had is that when you think about the Australian accent, when you think about the South African accent, or if you think about the New Zealand accent, they're all quite nasal.
Now, why would this be? I think it's got something to do with the quality of light. I could be completely wrong. It's just an idea. But if you're out in the Australian summer particularly, there's a lot of glare out here, and when you squint your eyes to try and decrease the amount of glare, you also block up your nasal passages, therefore, oh, it's glarey You get the more recognizable Australian accent.
Now, this would have been passed on from generation to generation to the children. Children would have heard their parents saying, come here, kids. And it's fairly nasal, and they would pick up on that. So generation after generation, the accent becomes more and more nasal.
If you think about indigenous Australians, again their accent is very nasal. So perhaps it's got something to do with the line of latitude, the glare from the sun at that particular line of latitude, and that's the reason why white people particularly that have come to colonize these areas, these parts of the world, such as the Australians, New Zealand people, the South Africans, we all have very nasal accents, and it's got something to do, I think, with the glare.