Australia’s people are known for their generosity, diligence, bravery, passion, and adventurous nature. The Australian accent is a source of pride for most native speakers because it is so distinct from the British accent, and is divided into Broad, Cultivated, and General accents.
It helps to learn various common Australian slang phrases and everyday norms, to successfully integrate with the locals, and make the most of the cultural experience of Australia.
Try not to be afraid of Australian wildlife, such as giant snakes and spiders, when you come across them.
Instead, take a step back and maintain calm behaviour. Just like Australia’s dangerous animals, the Australian people will warm up to you if you’re relaxed. Nothing is more revealing than a person’s reaction to things they’re not used to. The following tips will help you master the Australian accent:
1. Learn the Australian Consonants
In Australian English, the “r” consonant is non-rhotic, which means that if a word ends with an “r,” it is generally silent; for example, “tar” is pronounced as “tah.”
In Australian English, the “t” sound becomes a quick ‘flicked’ “d” sound when it’s between 2 vowels – e.g., water- or if it has an ‘r’ before and a vowel after- e.g., party. The same thing happens in an American accent. Also note, the letter “t” sounds sharper and more pronounced in the cultivated Australian accent, than in the broad Australian accent. In General Australian and Broad Australian, the letter “t” is softened.
2. Understand the Australian Accent’s Tone and Vowels
As the Australian accent broadens, the vowels become longer. Broad Australian has the longest vowels of any English accent. This is most noticeable when two vowel sounds are combined to form a diphthong. Some diphthongs are, ‘ai’ as in rain, ‘ie’ as in fine and ‘oe’ as in own. Moreover, in Australian English, the first sound is usually much longer than the second.
The vowels are the starting point for Australian pronunciation, so it’s important to go through and learn each one and practice the vowels until they are automatic in your speech. You will find detailed instructions on how to move your mouth into the correct positions and plenty of practice material in our Australian pronunciation/ accent course.
Although you may not consider nasality has much to do with pronunciation, it significantly impacts how words sound when pronounced. Nasality is whether you send/or resonate the sound in your nose instead of only out of your mouth.
If you want a broader Australian accent, then you need to make your words sound more nasal. A general Australian accent is less nasal than a broad one.
The ‘r’ sound is not pronounced after a vowel in Australian English, for example in ‘or’ (form), ‘er’ (her), ‘ar’ (park), ‘ure’ (picture), ‘eer’ (beer). In ‘ure’ and ‘eer’, the ‘r’ is replaced with a de-stressed short ‘u’ sound, the schwa vowel.
On the other hand, certain words sound like they contain or end in an “r” yet don’t. This occurs when a word with a vowel sound at the end, is followed by a word with a vowel sound at the beginning. This is called the linking ‘r’ sound. If you can master linking in Australian English, you’ll sound much more natural and more like a native speaker.
3. Learn as Many Slang Words as You Can
In addition to shortening words whenever possible, the Australian language contains a substantial number of regularly used slang expressions. For example, “fighting” is replaced with the phrase “having a blue,” and “she’ll be right”, means everything will be alright in the end.
Some of the common words that are shortened in the Australian language are ‘arvo’ for afternoon, ‘bici’ for biscuit and ‘relos’ for relatives.
You’re probably aware that Australians refer to their friends as “mates.” However, you may be unfamiliar with other commonly used expressions in Australia, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with them, so you can use them and also so you can understand what people are talking about.
4. Practice With Native Australian Speakers
Engaging with native speakers is one of the best methods to develop Australian English and pronunciation, and to gain confidence when you speak.
Sometimes speakers feel embarrassed to practice their speech with other Australian speakers, but the more you do this, the easier it gets.
Interacting with Australians will expose you to their various speaking habits in formal and informal settings. Although reading books on the Australian language is helpful, it doesn’t help you practice moving your mouth in a new way. When you interact with Australians, you can test and practice your slang and pronunciation skills.
This also allows you to practice the speaking skills you have learnt using the training videos in our Australian accent course or, the skills you have learnt with a speech coach.
5. Practice Using Australian Films and Accent Videos
One of the benefits of using accent training videos is that you may practice at your own pace, and can revisit the content whenever you want.
An effective practise strategy would look like this: Learn how to change your pronunciation, with the training videos in our course. Then, watch films and documentaries as an additional effective method of practising your new accent and vocabulary. You can also focus on learning native vocabulary, conversational etiquette, and the speech patterns of the Australian accent to sound more like a native English speaker.