About

What words would you use to describe how Australians talk?

Do all Australians sound the same?

This project answers these questions and more.

rubberband

Check out the results page here.

66 thoughts on “About

  1. Interesting. Some things I’ve never heard of at all, but I think as we move around we pick up other words too.

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  2. Some interesting questions – I wasn’t aware there were some many terms for certain things. I enjoyed it and look forward to hearing the outcome. I

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  3. Very interesting – what about Tasmanian’s bitumen (bit-oo-men) as opposed NSW bitumen (bitch-a-mun) or Qld’s Eh! at the end of nearly every sentence.

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  4. Thanks for getting in touch! I’m sorry it did not work for you! As mentioned in the prompt, the listening software will not work on tablets or mobile phones unfortunately. The rest of the voices have been tested to work, however we will double check for any glitches in the audio samples.

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  5. Interesting, to see how my language has changed from growing up in brisbane to growing old in new south wales.

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  6. Also very enjoyable. Now living in SA, I get teased for my “bogan” East Coast accent.

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  7. Enjoyed doing it with my dad hope that it gets called australian instead of english cos like everything ozzie our language is unique oy oy oy

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  8. Very interesting! Our accents are slightly different but much of what we say is so similar. Living on the border of NSW/VIC/SA makes it both easier and more dificult to detect diffences.

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  9. Some of the words and terms I use have changed through the decades, and some of the words I used as a child are different to the words used with my children now at the same age.

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  10. As an 18-year old, I underwent recruit training with the RAAF. Here was a large group of young men – most 18 -25 years of age, from nearly every state of Australia. I thought “what’s going on here – we all sound different? What’s with the funny accents?” We do sound different, depending on where we’re from, eg, Queenslanders liked to drawl a little and end phrases with ‘eh’, but a real Queenslander could inject an ‘eh’ into the middle of a phrase, and could use the word ‘yous’ with great style. But, so many of us like to use double-negatives, eg “I didn’t do nothing” and after all these years, it still crops up in conversation.

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  11. An interesting research project. I quite enjoy assisting research, and new knowledge. …. I’d like a link to your final published paper please ?

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  12. Consider looking at the regional names for tools ie mattock and grubber. NSW and SA respectively .
    Thank you!

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  13. Some of the questions had me stumped – it’s been almost 50 years since I was in a school and to be asked what word we used then for certain activities or times of the day…!! – I’ve forgotten! Will keenly await the results.

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  14. I am a bush kid from way back and I think there has been rapid changes since TV came into our lives with more of our words and the way we say them changing to be more American

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  15. I hope that it lodged properly after doing it all diligently. Good luck with the research.

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  16. Very enjoyable and happy to contribute. Where I came from (Hobart) some words and expressions used still had a mixture of Irish and English influence and when I was at primary school we used what I later found out were french words to set the marble game rules. + for some reason Hobartians called a wash trough a ‘troze’ – I have many examples of all this. Maybe its changed now but my experiences are 1950s and 60s

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  17. After hitting what I think was the last next button it took me to an earlier screen showing my answers, I hit next again and it took me here. Not sure if my survey was submitted or completed. Fun though!

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  18. Very interesting and enjoyable. Unfortunately I think your respondents will be of the older demographic – like me!

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  19. Interesting, had a laugh remembering some of the answers to the questions, I use a couple different words depending who I talk to. Good luck looking forward to results.

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  20. Interesting survey, got me laughing remembering some of the answers. I do have a couple of words or phrases for some things, guess it comes from family coming from 3 states and both country and suburban living. Joy

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  21. I find it hard to differentiate the actual voices – our particular use of words like ‘bathers’ and ‘cossie’ usually tells more about us.

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  22. I had an issue right at the end where afte I hit he next button it took me to an earlier page I ha already completed. I hit next again it it went to a new page of questions so hopefully there wasn’t a glitch that wil skew the results. I enjoyed it !

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  23. very enjoyable and interesting. I have always known different states have different words for things but learnt about some I did not know about
    Not sure you can really know where people are from listening to them say a few sentences

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  24. The audio didnt work for me on my desktop computer. I was taught as a child to try and use the correct pronuncation in my speech and i found the questions very interesting.

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  25. The same thing happened to me that Trish described. I enjoyed the survey, and hope my responses get through. Catherine

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  26. It would be nice to see where the different options come from once the study is complete. I’d be interested to know how many of my idioms I’ve picked up from my mother, who grew up in rural NSW, compared to how many I’ve picked up from growing up in Melbourne.

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  27. I studies linguistics in the 1960’s under Professor Arthur Delbridge at Macquarie Uni. He gave me a lifelong interest in it, and I still record discrepancies and variations that I hear, especially on the TV news, where I can usually pick whether the presenter is from Victoria or NSW. I would say there are definitely regional variations in common pronunciations, and these are still evolving. In his 1966 book (which i still have), he states: “It would be rash to claim that the pronunciation of English in Australia did not show any variation at all from place to place. However, there is very little”. The differences now are more marked than in the 1960’s, but even they are being replaced by Americanisms – pronunciation and vocabulary. In the survey now, I wonder if most people can actually hear the differences listed if they are not used to them. Many can’t hear the intrusive extra phoneme they insert in words like film and dwarf, or a syllable added or removed. It’s all fascinating, even half a century later. I wish you well.

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  28. Although some words identify where people are from I think it is easier to identify rural from urban and educated from uneducated Australians. It is a really interesting survey and would like to read a paper based on your findings. Good luck with your study.

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  29. Great fun and stimulating. The voice recordings sounded a bit “forced” and artificial. Politicians are, on the whole, untrustworthy but they have a wide variety of speech patterns and pronunciation and timbre, from the extremes of Malcolm Fraser (who sounded like an Englishman) to Paul Everingham, who, whilst being a lawyer sound intellectually challenged.

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  30. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I have removed a sentence from your comment so that people will not be influenced ahead of taking the survey, though I really do appreciate the feedback! The voice recordings come from a national audio-visual linguistics project called Austalk. You can find out more about it here.

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  31. I too enjoyed doing the survey. I couldn’t hear the audio section on my computer, and am not even sure that my completion of the first section submitted. Does anyone remember the Northern Territory use of ‘big mobs’ for any larger amount or number of anything from things to feelings? This started to wane with television and saturation use of Americanisms.

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  32. Great surveys. I love reading about the differences between states and regions, it’s very interesting.
    My only complaint would be the use of the term ‘bogan’ throughout. I find it to be quite elitist and derogatory

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  33. Some random thoughts that may or may not be of interest:

    Having lived/traveled around Australia a bit, I never knew whether the sausage in my sandwich was going to be ‘devon’ (NSW), ‘luncheon’ (VIC), ‘fritz’ (SA), or whatever.

    When I was growing up in Sydney, my mother, originally from Queensland’s Darling Downs, called a suitcase a ‘port’ (presumably from ‘portmanteau’). I took my stuff to school in a ‘school port’, rather than a ‘case’ like my compatriots. And yes, we also wore ‘togs’ to the beach instead of ‘cozzies’.

    Maybe irrelevant: My mother also used ’empt’ for the verb ’empty’ as in ’empt the sink’. I’ve always wondered if this was a corruption from the third-person verb form of German and had been passed down from her German heritage (even after five generations having lived in the area which originally had a large proportion of Lutheran settlers).

    When I moved from Sydney to Adelaide in the ’70s, I noticed that a great many South Australians sounded the ‘d’ in Wednesday. My kids, who were only five and six, quickly absorbed the local standard and found my pronunciation of words like ‘pool’, ‘school’, etc amusing, mocking my Sydney ‘poowool’ sound as against the local ‘pull’ version.

    And of course, there’s the pronunciation of the letter ‘h’. People educated in Catholic schools across Australia almost invariably pronounce it as ‘haitch’ rather than ‘aitch’.

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  34. HI,FM
    What an interesting post!
    Something that has bothered me, is the question: Do children at Catholic schools learn to pronounce the St – as in St Marys – as ‘Saint Marys’, or like others, cut it back to Snt? To me, this doesn’t seem to be state-specific.
    It’s been 46 years since I lived in North Queensland but, from memory, one had to be careful when ordering a sandwich, because they cut the two slices of bread corner-to-corner, actually making four. If we asked for one sandwich, we got one quarter.
    Another head-scratcher is the confusion between ‘this’ and ‘next’, eg, on a Monday, they say ‘next Thursday (for instance)’ , when they mean the Thursday that’s 10 days away; I was taught that ‘next’ meant the first to come. I wonder where that practice originated? Then there’s ‘me’ and ‘I’, in the latter when not followed by a verb.
    CHEERS
    NOEL
    BTW While I’ve got you there, some people, particularly with overseas heritage, pronounce my name ‘No-ell’; a good reason for my hating certain Christmas carols.

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  35. You need to add a third choice to your dancing question – those of us from regions where the TRAP-BATH split never happened can’t answer the question as it stands (since ‘dance’, ‘pants’, and ‘aunts’ all rhyme!)

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  36. Thanks for your comment! Actually, there is an option for respondents to state that ‘ants’ and ‘aunts’ sound the same to you! This option (ants and aunts sound the same) is for those from regions where the trap-bath split has not occurred.

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  37. I was meant to get so much done today… at least I felt like I contributed to your study. This is really interesting stuff though, looking forward to the results.

    After studying overseas I found I was able to pick Melbournians and Queenslanders from a mile away. I seem to have completely lost that since returning home though. Odd. And now come to think of it I have no idea what the Tasmanian accent is meant to be like at all!

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  38. Hi, Korshi
    Plse explain the meaning of TRAP-BATH; I’ve heard of it, but it’s never been explained.

    Just to add a variable to the whole piece, at my radio announcing school (many years ago) we were taught to pronounce ‘dance’ as ‘darnce’, to overcome the OZ tendency to squeeze our vowels. You knew you’d made it when you could revert to ‘dance’, without the aforementioned vowel-squeeze.

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  39. In some places, such as London, South Australia and New Zealand, people pronounce ‘trap’ and ‘bath’ differently. So bath would be pronounced with the same vowel as ‘cart’, whereas ‘trap’ would be pronounced like ‘cat’. When words like ‘bath’ and ‘trap’ have a different vowel, that’s what’s known as having a complete ‘trap/bath split’. In other places, like parts of the United States and Queensland/NSW in Australia, people pronounce ‘trap’ and ‘bath’ with the same vowel. In these places, the ‘trap/bath’ split has not occurred. And in some places, there is variation between the two, where the ‘trap/bath split’ is in progress but not yet complete.

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  40. Hello again, Korshi
    Ta for the explanation.
    I’m amazed – at nearly 79 years of age and having lived in many parts of NSW, also Victoria, Queensland and the ACT, in addition to a spell in South East Asia, I have never heard the word ‘bath’ pronounced as in ‘staph’. Visits to all other Australian capital cities have had the same results.
    IMHO the trap/bath split has always existed in Australia. Perhaps the latter pronunciation came from the United States.
    I’ve visited the US, but there was no opportunity of hearing a local pronounce bath.
    I’d be interested to read the source of your information.

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  41. Hello again – words such as ‘dance’ are falling within the TRAP/BATH split in some parts of Australia. Conservatively speaking, yes the TRAP/BATH split has existed within Australian English, however, words such as ‘dance’ alternate within the TRAP/BATH split depending on where in Australia you come from. For example, many Queenslanders pronounce ‘dance’ with a more forward vowel – similar to the vowel in ‘cat’, whereas for many South Australians, ‘dance’ has a back vowel – similar to the vowel in ‘cart’.

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  42. Re the TRAP/BATH* split: I’ve noticed that ‘Newcastle’ is pronounced differently around Australia – and interestingly, often counter to the usual TRAP/BATH pattern. Sydneysiders generally say ‘Newcarstle’, whereas many Victorians (and often Queenslanders) say it with the ‘cat’ vowel.

    Similarly, in NSW I’ve always heard ‘lantana’ called ‘lantarna’, while Queenslanders seem to tend towards ‘lantanna’.

    *Weird choice of words. Why not something simple like ‘CAT/CART’?

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  43. Novocastrians, like myself, all say ‘Newcarstle’, while Victorians go for ‘Cassle’. Down there, they say ‘Casslemaine’ for Castlemaine.
    Up north, Townsville people have a ‘Cassle Hill’, behind the city, and I know that they say ‘Newcassle’ (except for those familiar with our great city).
    And, don’t Newcastle-upon-Tyne folk go for ‘Newcassle’? They call Cardiff, ‘Car-diff’, whereas Cardiff near Newcastle out here, is pronounced ‘Car-duff’, the ‘uff’ as in ‘scruff’.
    I’ve had a long association with Sydney, but can’t recall anybody calling it Newcassle – except, perhaps, non-natives from other states.

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  44. I ran through the survey. You forgot to ask what I call the place where I fill my car with petrol. It could have been “service station”, “petrol station”, “servo”, “gas station” or anything. You’ll never know now.

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