Word for Word #11 Strine; the Australian accent

Sep 12, 2017
Winston Churchill called the Australian accent "the most brutal maltreatment that has ever been inflicted" on the English language. But when Strine first emerged, it was praised as an unusually pure variety. Linguist Felicity Cox traces the history of our accent from the Sydney colony to the present day - when it's still changing.
Plus: pronunciation can be a source of personal anxiety and public controversy. The dictionary editors muse on the Americanisation of Australian English, the rise of "haitch", and the oral gymnastics of "ophthalmologist".
Join us as we explore our language: the ways we use it, the ways we abuse it, and the ways we ultimately change it.

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Additional links

Links that informed this episode include:

So where did the Aussie accent really come from?

Knowing the Aussie accent

It's all English, but vowels ain't voils


On the Macquarie Dictionary blog: 

The 'drunken accent' 

Aitch v Haitch 

The shifting sounds of words  


Pronunciation or Pronounciation?


Word for Word is produced by Kate Sherington for Macquarie Dictionary and Pan Macmillan Australia. 

Many thanks to Felicity Cox. Read more about her work at the Australian Voices portal. 

Thanks to Rick McKenna for use of the Kath & Kim clip about the mispronunciation of "chardonnay", a gag first coined by Australian balladeer Ted Egan; to the Chaser team for use of The Negotiate Song; and to the Australian National Corpus and Alveo for use of the Mitchell & Delbridge clip.

Hilary Jones reading in Conservative Received Pronunciation is used by special permission of the International Dialects of English Archive.

Additional music used in this episode can be found here: 8mm projector clip from nemoDaedalus via Freesound, and Handbrake turn from audible-edge via Freesound.

Other sound effects and clips are public domain, royalty-free, or used by permission.

Music used in this episode is by Broke For Free, available from the Free Music Archive and used by permission of the artist. Find more music by Broke for Free including The Gold Lining; and If.

Our logo is by Amy Sherington.

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