Wednesday, October 22, 2008

English (American) & English (British/Australian)

Had this discussion last night about English American and English British/Australian, the usual suspects were the Aussies and this girl who spent 7 years in the state and now working at the Aussie embassy, obviously she's the minority in that office with thick American accent and American English writing.

The Aussie guy pointed at the way she writes with English American style:
Defense for defence
Center for centre
Meter for metre
Color for colour
And using 'ze' to replace 'se'
Even my computer default setting is in English American as it doesn't recognize the English British writing :)

At first I did not realize it as whole my life I've been exposed by English American style: at school, American movies, American TV show, American songs, etc. We have been brainwashed with this English American instead of English British. The argument from this Aussie guy was that the real English was came from England which we called people from England as English/British, meaning the real and correct English is English British/Australian. But the Americans are also very proud of their contribution to the new revolution English American style to the English language.

I love watching Friends and will always laugh at Joey "innocent" accident or Chandler's joke, but I don't understand the joke in Coupling. Although the show is quite similar to each other: 6 friends in the same circle altogether. I also don't get the humor of Little Britain.

I am more familiar with the idea of FBI & CIA than MI6 UK intelligent agency. Thanks to the education from American movies.

I have difficulty in understanding thick Brit and Aussie accents especially the thick and mumble ones. Every time we watch Underbelly I will pause at some scenes and ask Sam what were they saying as I have no clue, blank, and he will repeat it so I understand. And Sam will constantly correct me if I made a mistake using English American writing, he also introduces me to Brit/Aussie TV show in order to educate my ears with the accents like The Goodies, The Noise and The Adventure of Lano and Woodley

Good thing Sam doesn't have thick Aussie accent like his friends otherwise I will not understand what he's saying :)) Another good thing that his family doesn't have thick Aussie accent either so I survived when I have to spend the whole week with them. His mom has Posh accent due to her family heritage, his 2 cousins and 1 uncle who still live in NZ have Kiwi's accent that was another case though... I found Kiwi's accent is another hard story to understand.

Sam and his friends found this video is hilarious, while I was trying hard to understand which part is the funny one. Help me out here friends....


Anonymous said...

the video is sooo stupid. lol
they might've been laughing because of how the whale and pelican pronounce some words that makes it sound so stupid. I must admit I don't get the whole thing, but bits and parts. I'm lucky I spent several years of my childhood in NZ so I am able to get both English and American jokes. best of both worlds..

Anonymous said...


You're so right about American English but it is more than that. When I moved to Europe, I realized that people in Indonesia (or let's say south-east Asian region) were and still are generally American oriented (fashion, music you name it).

About American or British English, I prefer to use the British with my thick Indonesian and some Dutchy touch in it! What do you think about Singlish (Singaporean English)? Ex. You can count on me lah....;-D.

Anonymous said...

You're right, we are accustomed to American movies. It's all about adapting our ears to the accent and language. If everything American is is replaced by British, in no time the Indonesians will laugh while watching Coupling.

Unjaded said...


These peeps you mentioned on your blog, they laughed at the dhow the words were pronounced. The whale clearly has a thick Kiwi accent of Islander descent. The Aussies just love to take the p*** of our close neighbours' accent. I have 2 colleagues at work who are FOB or ( Fresh off boat. One hailed from Glasgow and the other one hailed from Auckland. It is our routine to sit back on our lunch breaks and compare our pronounciation of words. WE just love our Kiwi brothers and sisters when they pronounce six as id suck with a hitn of the other 3-letter word, i.e sex. WE also love to ehar them pronounce the ever-so-popular food item, fish and chips as they pronounce it fush and chups. One word, HILLARIOUS!!!

At the same token, the kiwis love to pin point Aussie twang. Despite of my attempt to adopt Aussie accent to a minimum and I proudly paraded my green passport across borders, I was told once that "I sounded Australian to a t" by a New Zealander immigration dude. Up to this minute, I am not sure whether it was a compliment or an insult :). I'll just drop it at that.

Hang on there! Very soon, you will get the hang of it, Aussie twang, that is. In just the matter of time, you will be laughing at Kath and Kim re-runs. And in fact you will regard "The Castle" as a classic like the rest of us here. Once your uderstanding of the Australian accent out the way, pop up to Queensland and then you start to wonder was that you or the queenslander were responsible of the bastardation of the English language as here in sunny QLD, we love to drag our vowels and take our time when we speak.

All in all, hope you are enjoying your cultural immersion here in Down Under.