Difference Between English and Australian Accent (With Table)

The English language, as the world knows it now, was not like this historically. English originated in early Medieval English and is one of the three most prevalent West Germanic languages. The international recognition of the English language and it’s around the world can be attributed to the Great British Empire and the United States of America.

Because of its widespread nature, the English language has hundreds of different accents. Two of those are British English and Australian English. Moreover, the Australian English dialect has been derived from British and American English.

English vs Australian Accent

The difference between English and Australian accents is that British English focuses on the pronunciation of words and differentiating each word separately, whereas Australian English is a fast-paced language, and words are spoken quickly without word-by-word pronunciation

Comparison Table Between  English and Australian Accent

Parameter of ComparisonEnglishAustralian
Rhotic or notIt is a non-rhotic language.It is a non-rhotic accent.
PronunciationReceived Pronunciation
The accent uses both vowel and consonant phonics.
Received Pronunciation
The accent uses vowel bases phonics.
SpellingOriginalA mix of British and American English
DiphthongsExtended and longer sounds.The first sound is longer than the second one.
GrammarOriginalA mix of British and American English grammar

What is English accent?

British English, the language people living outside of the UK call ‘English accent’ developed from a society divided by the class system. English is the accent native to Britishers and originated in Europe.

There are various English accents in the United Kingdom and that is why there is no uniform English accent. 

There are many kinds of English accents. The main ones are:

  1. Welsh English — It is spoken and taught in schools in the country of Wales.
  2. Cockney English – It is spoken in many parts of England.
  3. Standard British English – This form of British English is referred to as ‘received pronunciation’. It is commonly used in Southern England.
  4. Scottish English – It is spoken and taught in schools in the country of Scotland.
  5. Midlands English –  It is an accent that is primarily spoken in Birmingham 

English speakers pronounce and use full words. The characteristic features of the English accent are: 

  1. If any word has an ‘r’ in its last syllable, it is generally pronounced like a soft ‘uh’ (Example – “respire” -> ‘respi-uh‘). In general terms, ‘r’ is a much softer sound and not that distinguishable in British English. It means that Standard British English can be called a non-rhotic language.
  2. An ‘h’ in the beginning of any word is usually silent. (For example – ‘hello mate’ -> ‘ello mate’)
  3. The diphthongs (a combination of two vowel sounds) in British English can be spoken as one single vowel. Some types of accents, the more posh ones, may make the diphthongs sound longer.
  4. A long ‘u’ has a sound of ‘y’ at the beginning of the word. It’s like the letter ‘y’ sounds in the word ‘you.’ (Example  “cupid”  will be spoken as the word was  (“cyupid”), emphasis on the ‘y’. The short ‘u,’ similar to the word in “blunder”, sounds more like the ‘u’ in the word ‘full.’ (Example – ‘undo’ -> ‘oohn-du’)

What is Australian Accent?

The Australian accent is native to the residents of Australia.

Australian English is a combination of British and American English. English was introduced in Australia by Britishers who ‘discovered’ Australia. After the establishment of colonies, the new-born children were exposed to different dialects of the English language and these dialects then became the roots of Australian English.

There are many kinds of Australian accents. The main ones are: 

  1. Broad Australian Accent – This is the accent that is familiar to most people outside of Australia. 
  2. General Australian Accent – This is the commonest of accents in Australia. It is also the standard accent for Australian media.
  3. Cultivated Australian Accent –  It is close to the Standard British accent.

The characteristic features of the Australian accent are: 

  1. Just like British English, the Australian English can most of the time be said to be a non-rhotic language. That means that if any word contains the letter ‘r’ in it’s last syllable, it’s sound is silent. (Example – “bar” becomes “bah”)
  2. The letter ‘t’ is usually softened in Australian English. In General Australian the letter ‘t’ is softened or ignored entirely. As an example, in General, or Broad Australian, the word “batter” might sound more like “behdduh.”
  3. For diphthongs in Australian English, the first sound of the diphthong is usually much much longer than the sound of the second one.
  4. One of the most unique vowels of the vowels in Australian English is the letter ‘u’. Whenever ‘u’ is preceded by a consonant, it is preceded by a ‘y’ sound, just like in the word ‘yep.’ For example, the word “tune” is spoken like “tyune,” while the word “tunic” is spoken like “tyunic.”

Australian and New Zealand are often thought of as having similar accents but they are not the same. 

Main Differences Between English and Australian Accent

  1. English accent is native to the people of the United Kingdom. On the other hand, the Australian accent is native to the people of Australia.
  2. British English came to Britain the earliest and British English is derived from old English. On the other hand, Australian English is a derivative dialect, derived from various European dialects, and combined with American dialects.
  3. There are 5 main types of English accents. On the other hand, there are 3 main types of Australian accents.
  4. The spelling and grammar of British English are original. On the other hand, the spelling and grammar of Australian English are derived from a mix of British and American English.
  5. In British English, verbs are usually combined with collective nouns and they are used in their plural form. For example, the group have decided on the theme of the party. On the other hand, in Australian English, these verbs combine with the collective nouns and they are used in their singular form. For example, the group has decided on the theme of the party.

Conclusion

English and Australian accents are similar in many ways, still, they have their differences. The British English accent is easier to understand than Australian accents, mainly because the English accent uses the pronunciation of full words whereas the Australian accent uses pronunciation of continuous words.

References

  1. https://www.researchonline.mq.edu.au/vital/access/services/Download/mq:5556/DS01
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1198880/
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