Australians Saying Goodbye to ‘G’day Mate’: Report
SYDNEY ~ Australians who sound like Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin could soon be a relic of the past, a report said.
Research shows the nasal Australian twang – exemplified by the late Irwin and Crocodile Dundee actor Paul Hogan – will be phased out within a few decades as the nation shakes loose its colonial roots and moves towards a standard national pronunciation, The Sunday Telegraph said.
Citing a new book by Australian National University academic Bruce Moore, the paper said the change would come about as the need for Australians to distinguish themselves from their British forebears faded.
“Australians are becoming more confident with the standard Australian accent – and that means there’s no longer the need for those sorts of extreme sounds,” lexicographer Moore said.
Words like “mate” would no longer be pronounced “mite” as some of the unique characteristics of Australian speech disappeared, he said.
Meanwhile, the so-called “cultivated” Australian accent would vanish as fewer people mimicked the English accent and moved toward a “standard Australian accent,” Moore said.
“There’s no doubt the broad accent does carry cultural values. I’m not doubting that. That’s why it’s used in advertisements,” said Moore, whose new book is titled Speaking Our Language: The Story of Australian English.
“But in the future that extreme form of it won’t be so necessary because the standard accent will carry those same values.”
Moore said the broad accents came from the need for cultural distinction in the late 19th century while the posh accents evolved from the use of what is commonly known as Queen’s English in education in the late 1800s.