Sun. Apr 11th, 2021
Does an ‘Asian-Australian’ Accent Exist?


At university, he researched the phenomenon. When he asked men and women to pay attention to voice recordings of Asian-Australians and non-Asian Australians with out any context, most have been capable to distinguish amongst the two. It was component of his undergraduate linguistics degree, so not definitive by any signifies, but he believed it pointed to the chance that this kind of an accent existed.

I did not rather know how to come to feel about it. I’d usually believed that for individuals like me who really don’t “look Australian,” a common Australian accent is a single of the ideal approaches to demonstrate that we belong. It says: Just like the rest of you, we in all probability know how to have a conversation about the footy and are effectively versed in throwing shrimps on the barbie (to be truthful, I can do neither of individuals items). It says: We’ve sufficiently shed our foreignness, so please accept us into the mainstream. It is, admittedly, a quite model-minority way of pondering.

“There’s this ingrained concept that the accent binds us collectively,” Baopu mentioned. “So to say, no we really don’t share the similar accent, there is some thing destabilizing about it.”

He had some hesitations when executing his investigation. What was the advantage in trying to find out factors of variation? Was he building far more chance for division? I had very similar misgivings when creating this — specially when Baopu did not acknowledge the Asian-Australian accent in the actuality Television contestant I believed I’d heard it in.

We might hear accents exactly where none exist simply because of the way another person appears, and it is effortless to venture into the realm of stereotyping, mentioned Catherine Travis, a linguistics professor at the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language at the Australian Nationwide University.

Professor Travis has been learning modern-day Australian speech, and although her investigation so far hasn’t discovered anything at all like the form of accent Baopu and I have been discussing, she mentioned there was some thing notable about the way 2nd-generation Chinese-Australians talk.

Australian English utilised to have a substantial class distinction — from some thing like your stereotypical Crocodile Dundee accent on a single finish to some thing resembling a posh British accent on the other. But that gap has narrowed in the final number of decades, she mentioned. There is been a shift towards a far more universal middle-class accent, and Chinese-Australians have been at the forefront, from time to time adopting new approaches of speaking prior to the rest of the nation catches up.

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