back to article Aussies' distinctive Strine down to drunk forefathers

Australians' distinctive accent – known affectionately as "Strine" – was formed in the country's early history by drunken settlers' "alcoholic slur". This shock claim, we hasten to add, comes from Down Under publication The Age, which explains: The Australian alphabet cocktail was spiked by alcohol. Our forefathers regularly …

  1. Bob Wheeler
    Holmes

    Snigger

    "American finished 10th, behind even Welsh"

    Oh My Gosh, I am shocked......

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Snigger

      As am I. Who would've thunk we'd break the top twenty?

      [victory chant] U-S-A, U-S-A... ad nauseum.

    2. Swarthy Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Snigger

      Wait.. Which American accent? You lot got broken out into Scottish, British, and Welsh; couldn't USAliens at least get South, New England, Texas and Mid-West?

      If the survey used the "Standard American" from most non-US movies, then it's the Texas Drawl, which.. yeah, that's ugly.

      1. Christoph Silver badge

        Re: Snigger

        " Which American accent?"

        Which English accent? There's a lot more variation than among US accents. Did they test BBC English, or did they test Geordie (which is generally reckoned to be the best sounding)?

        1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

          Re: Snigger

          Used to have conversations about whether it was eaiser to speak to outsourced helldesk in India or outsourced helldesk in Newcastle.

          1. Fibbles

            Newcastle vs India

            Newcastle, man. India's a reet pain, a divvint kna what they're takin.

      2. frank ly Silver badge

        @Swarthy Re: Snigger

        "... Scottish, British, and Welsh; ..."

        That's Scottish, English and Welsh; also Northern Irish, which is quite distinctive.

        1. Quortney Fortensplibe

          Re: @Swarthy Snigger

          "....also Northern Irish, which is quite distinctive..."

          In my experience, most Anglos can't tell the difference between a 'Norn Iron' accent and a Scots one. So with Irish and Scottish accents both being in the top 3, an Ulster accent must be the ultimate <insert preferred genitalia> magnet.

          1. x 7

            Re: @Swarthy Snigger

            "In my experience, most Anglos can't tell the difference between a 'Norn Iron' accent and a Scots one"

            you must mix with some inbred upperclass twits and weirdos if thats the case

            1. Quortney Fortensplibe
              WTF?

              Re: @Swarthy Snigger

              "...you must mix with some inbred upperclass twits and weirdos if thats the case..."

              Well, I didn't presume to enquire about the parentage of, or set an IQ test for, the dozens of English people from all over the place who've asked me, upon hearing my Co. Antrim accent: "What part of Scotland are you from?"

              But I'm sure there was some point to your drool-drenched riposte.

      3. Doctor Evil

        Re: Snigger

        "Wait.. Which American accent? You lot got broken out into Scottish, British, and Welsh; couldn't USAliens at least get South, New England, Texas and Mid-West?"

        And Californian, dude -- don't forget Californian. That is one bodacious accent!

        1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

          Re: Snigger

          And Boston and Chicago...

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Rosie Davies

    "... behind even Welsh"

    What you mean like the Welsh accent of Richard Burton? It's all personal preference and all that but I'd have problems thinking of any accent sexier than that.

    Rosie

    1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

      Two words: Tom Jones.

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Two words: Neil Kinnock.

      2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Two words: Shirley Bassey

        1. Ken 16 Silver badge
          Trollface

          Three words > Goldie Looking Chain

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cultural mix

    Early convicts were from all over the British Isles, so had all sorts of accents. Clearly some hodgepodge of accents got blended.

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Cultural mix

      Early convicts were from all over the British Isles, so had all sorts of accents. Clearly some hodgepodge of accents convicts got blended*.

      FTFY

      * See what I did there, I misinterpreted "blended" as a euphemism for "drunk".

      1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Cultural mix

        See what I did there...[?]

        Yes, you explained the joke, which ruins it for everyone.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: Cultural mix

          Explaining the joke was supposed to be part of the joke...

          1. x 7

            Re: Cultural mix

            just as well you explained it

            no-one realised it was a joke.

  4. Natalie Gritpants

    East anglia accents sound very similar to Austrlian

    Maybe something in common. flat, boring, nothing to do but drink.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: East anglia accents sound very similar to Austrlian

      Maybe something in common. flat, boring, nothing to do but drink

      FLAT? we have slopes either side of the roads!!!

      So the drunks roll gently into the grass verges to sleep :)

      1. x 7

        Re: East anglia accents sound very similar to Austrlian

        East anglia accents sound very similar to Austrlian because a lot of ships to Oz sailed from Harwich and the other Essex ports - and were crewed by men from Essex and Suffolk

  5. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I believe, upon serious meditation on the matter, and with due consideration of the social mix of highly distinctive accents sure to be among those co-existing in close proximity at the dawn of the European Occupation of Australia, and with special attention paid to the linguistic foibles of my own country and the regularity of my own accent being incorrectly identified as Australian (a place in which I have never set foot) that - all things considered - I am drawn to the reluctant conclusion that the author of this rather questionable hypothesis is coming the raw prawn.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Bah!

      I have to agree. I've never mistaken an Australian accent for Foster Brooks doing one of his routines.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    The Aus accent really grates...

    ...which is problematic as I'm married to one.

    The good news is that Mrs Coat is neither a Kiwi not a Saffer. Those accents are like a dentist drill to me. Canadian is not too bad. Quite easy on the old lugholes.

    1. The Dude
      Coat

      Re: The Aus accent really grates...

      "Canadian is not too bad. Quite easy on the old lugholes."

      Canadians have accent? Newfies and bluenosers yeah... but not normal Canadians, surely!

      1. Doctor Evil

        Re: The Aus accent really grates...

        Thank you for remembering us. And sorry, but we have no accent. Other distinctive mannerisms, yes, but no accent.

    2. Scott 26
      Megaphone

      Re: The Aus accent really grates...

      Us Kiwis DON'T have an accent - it's the rest of you that have an accent!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Aus accent really grates...

        Those random vowels!

        A to I or oy

        today-> to die or to doy

        also I to ee

        As in, "If you're unwell Amy, please..."

        -> "if yous seek Amy, please..."

        I'd suggest the measure of how much accent you have is how clear you are to all other accents.

        Just how awful is the Australian accent?

        Well it does very a lot, but I was back in the UK and heard an Essex accent on the radio. I thought that sounded pleasant. <shudder>

        1. Grikath Silver badge

          Re: The Aus accent really grates...

          the lot of you obviously never heard Scouse being perpetrated upon you...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Aus accent really grates...

        "Us Kiwis DON'T have an accent - it's the rest of you that have an accent!!!"

        Surely you mean "Us Kiwis DON'T hiv un uccent"...

      3. John Tserkezis

        Re: The Aus accent really grates...

        "Us Kiwis DON'T have an accent - it's the rest of you that have an accent!!!"

        I'd like some foosh and chops please.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    published in the middle of the night...

    well thats a surprise... Perhaps the Ed wanted to get back at those blokes heading into summer ?

  8. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Which explains their natural ability to serve behinds bars (alcoholic ones) - they think the drunks asking for more beer are speaking in Aussie.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was going to comment that if most of the population is drunk from can to can't, then teaching everyone to speak that way normally would eliminate most of the problems, wouldn't it?

  9. auburnman

    Wow...

    Ma accents mair sexay th'n Frunch. Mah ma wid be prood.

    Come to think of it, looking at the top 5 sexy accents there could well be a general correlation with sounding drunk.

  10. Sacioz

    Kiwiland

    Enzed'd be worth at least a mention , the luvly fush and chups crowd...))

    1. LINCARD1000

      Re: Kiwiland

      Do you take muwk un your coffee wuth those fush'n'chups, au bro? :-)

  11. Khaptain Silver badge

    Move Along

    "Our forefathers regularly got drunk together and through their frequent interactions unknowingly added an alcoholic slur to our national speech patterns."

    And what exactly has changed since those days ? When I lived with the Aussies, and let's not forget the Kiwis ( although their accent is much cleaner), pub night was 5 times a week on the quiet weeks.. And this was no joke...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: Move Along

      re: 5 nights a week

      No, 7 nights a week starting at 18+, dropping to 5 at 35 and <1 at 45. Of course, this might reflect on my 'only sleep on monday morning' regimen throughout my college years (all 6 of them.)

  12. x 7

    everyones forgetting that the first migrants were all criminals anyway - mainly uneducated, illiterate with a good proportion suffering from some degree of mental retardation

    Its no surprise that they were unable to pronounce proper diction

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Definitely nothing changed there then !

      Fear not , I jest, tis nothing more than mild mockery...

      We luv ya bruce...

  13. Gannettt

    Years ago on Radio 4, I remember hearing actor Timothy West doing a master class. One tip worked like magic: if you want to do a convincing Australian accent, hold your tongue up so the sides touch your upper back teeth, and speak normally. It takes some practice, but sounds pretty convincing.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Which reminds me of the actors' tip for getting the difficult south-eastern US accent right: don't.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Very few people get the 'Suthurn' accent right. The last one I heard was in 1992. I wish I had a recording of her speaking. Hell, I wish I could remember her name.

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken
    Pint

    Australia, we love you

    There is NO rule six!

  15. Steven Roper

    As an Australian...

    I have to point out that you've neglected the vital fact that besides the dropped consonants and vowel changes, we also often run all our words together in rapid-fire machine-gun bursts of speech.

    What does real "Strine" sound like?

    "Ge'aahvityafikbastidanavabludygoyamug!"

    = "Get out of it you thick bastard, and have a bloody go, you mug!"

  16. Blake St. Claire

    Yeah, which American accent? And which British accent?

    I spent half an hour chatting with the barmaid in a local in Norwich before she realized I wasn't "from around here." Her accent was pretty mild too. I suppose my accent is "California," as that's where I grew up, but I've probably retained a bit of Chicago and South African.

    And the early pilgrims were mostly from Norfolk if I remember my history.

  17. David Roberts Silver badge

    E to I (or is this just NZ?)

    As in:

    I'm going to varnish my deck -> I'm going to varnish my dick.

    [There is even a video somewhere about this. Yep, Google "varnish my dick"]

    Love Australia and NZ but can't help laughing at some of the unintentional transpositions.

    Try "shatterproof glass" in a Kiwi accent.

    Many, many years ago on our first trip to NZ I was chatting to some ladies and mentioned I was from England. "But you don't have an accent!" they cried. I had to regretfully inform them that they, however, did.

    Final point. Why do Aussies finish every sentence on a rising tone as if it is a question?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: E to I (or is this just NZ?)

      "Final point. Why do Aussies finish every sentence on a rising tone as if it is a question?"

      That's Kiwi's isn't it? Finishing all their sentences with "...., eh?"

      1. Alan Ferris
        Coat

        Re: E to I (or is this just NZ?)

        Why not?

  18. MrDamage

    Booze? or Flies?

    Given how we tend not to use our mouths as much when we speak, our accent could have as much to do with our dislike of swallowing the hordes of flies that are prevalent during summer, as it could have to do with our like of swallowing large amounts of beer during summer.

  19. Clive Harris

    Strewth mate!

    Fair dinkum, true-blue dinky-di Strine is real bonza, mate! The Sheilas love it!

    (Reverting to the Queen's English)

    I keep noticing that strange Australian habit of answering questions with "Err, yes-no". I suppose it evolved from the natural evasiveness of a convict culture.

  20. Winkypop Silver badge
    Pint

    Australia Australia Australia!

    Didyabringyagrogalong?

  21. jake Silver badge

    Language mutates.

    English, itself an amalgam of many languages, perhaps more than most, is quite possibly the poster-child of this form of mutation. If you don't believe me, bicycle around the British Isles, hitting pubs in each county. The old "British Empire"`s far-flung colonies are just an extension of this.

    On the bright-side, we can all still communicate. Which is all that really matters.

    If you don't like this reality ... well, all I can say is that I feel sorry for you.

    Vive la différence!

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Language mutates.

      > On the bright-side, we can all still communicate

      Even when you utterly marmelise the grammar, diction and sentance structure. The fact that you can extract large portions of the words out and *still* be understandable is marvelous!

  22. ShadowDragon8685

    "Strine." I love that word. I wish I'd known that word back when I was running a tabletop game of Eclipse Phase, and I introduced an Australian-born wilderness specialist who would teach my players (all but one of whom had lived all of their lives either in space, or in big cities and then in space,) wilderness skills.

    They accused him of exaggerating the accent, if not faking it entirely. He asked them who you'd be more likely to listen to teaching you rough-and-tumble wilderness survival skills: David Attenborough, or a man who sounds like he's actually wrestled a crocodile by choice, for fun.

    (The dark secret? He wasn't faking the accent at all. Playing it up a bit maybe, but not at all faking. He really was what he claimed to be, one of the last bushwhackers alive.)

    I guess the point is... Hey, it's not all bad. A strine may not make you sound terribly booksmart (though it still sounds moreso than a thick southern drawl,) but it makes you sound wilderness smart. :)

    1. Khaptain Silver badge
      Coat

      "but it makes you sound wilderness smart. :)"

      Only if you consider Crocodile Dundee to be "wilderness smart"...

  23. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    NZ Icksents

    With the slight <cough> differences between Aussie Strine and a Kiwi accent, I think this sums it up completely.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkmeoYKYctw

    Then there's shearing sheep.. The Aussie involves clippers, the Kiwi involves some friends... maaaaaate..

  24. Gerryb

    The true reason is the sun without sunnies

    Now if you look at Oz TV you see that they speak with a fixed smile, even when talking of something terrible, like losing the ashes, This smile or grimace comes from so much sun they had to screw their face up to keep out the glare since the first ships. It is extra bright here, and the driest place. Now you try it, screw your face up, you develop that wide mouth. Now talk and lo! You speak strine.

    Then add the XXXX

    1. x 7

      Re: The true reason is the sun without sunnies

      you got the cause wrong: its really that the sun is so hot it dries the skin to shrunken leather.

      If you take a look at an old Australian who's not had a facelift you'll see a remarkable resemblance to a headhunters shrunken head (even down to the depleted cranium size)

  25. Knewbie

    I call shenanigans

    and would like to propose the theory that even before accusing the divine tipple, the same sounds could have been pronounced by... a grandfather teaching you English with three to four missing front teeth.

    Go ask your Gran'Ma to remove her teeth and try it yourself....

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: I call shenanigans

      So instead of the Aussie Strine being the result of drunken parents, it's the result of hung-over parents attempting to teach after having lost their teeth in a drunken punch-up?

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