Friday, 18 June 2010

Aussie English

Today I have been teaching a group of students who are going to Australia for homestay. Their school has an unwarranted preoccupation with with Australian English; I'm not convinced of the merits of teaching Strine  to kids that struggle to even introduce themselves....

In what is possibly a hangover from Crocodile Dundee,   Aus. English seems to be considered one of the less intelligible strains.   I've had university English teachers praise my English for being understandable....(unlike most Australians......???)   If I had five dollars for every time a Japanese person has told me emphatically about how  Australian English is so difficult because Australians say "to die" not not today, and then followed it with an annecdote about  "I'm going to the hospital to die ", I would have enough money for a plane ticket back.....

The particularly irritating thing about their annecdote is that it invariably comes from people who couldn't pick an East London accent from a Louisiana one....

I digress... back to the students....

They  had already had some preparation about "Aussie English" from their regular English teachers.  To see what they knew already,  I got them to make a list of Aussie English that they knew.   Some was reasonable - arvo, cuppa;   some marginal - g'day mate,  ta ;  some inane - yep, yuck;   some of it .... well .....

Going through the blackboard list.....
PIG?
"What do you mean by pig?"  (a little puzzled).
"The police"
"What!  Where did you learn that?"
"Our teacher" ...
"what?" student shows me a work sheet


Sure enough....... pigs = police......oh my.....I'd like to see them try that out on a man or woman in blue...

2 comments:

Katsunori said...

listen ABC documentary 360

Saturday 14:40 Dubravka - UPDATED
2010年6月25日 23:00
What is it about Australian English that foreigners find so infuriating? Dubravka is a refugee from Bosnia who is learning English in Brisbane but the politeness of our culture keeps confounding her. She is used to a more direct way of communicating, expressing emotions that Australians seem to suppress. In this humorous look at the niceties of our language ESL teacher Hamish Sewell meets students who are struggling with the nuance of our words.

http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2010/06/tsy_20100626_1440.mp3

Cecilia said...

Thanks for that link - it's very interesting - and true - it makes Australia sound like Japan! :)!