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#7598 - 10/12/00 01:17 AM Re: propriety
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
People here in Indonesia often comment when I get back after a trip back to the UK how different my accent (when I'm speaking English -- I have such a thick English accent when speaking Indonesian that the differences are probably undetectable) sounds from the way it sounded before I went away. I think people's accents tend to "drift" towards that of the people around them but exposure to their "home" accent quickly sends them back to their starting point.


#7599 - 10/12/00 02:16 AM Re: accents
jmh Offline

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I was listening to a BBC Radio 4 programme on language and was interested to hear about the ranges of accents across a country. The theory was that America was settled without the benefit(?) of mass communication, so the people in the deep South lived in isolation from those in the North and so dialects developed independently. Radio arrived much later and only then did most ordinary people to hear other accents. In Australia and New Zealand there was a much shorter gap between the different cities becoming more populated and the arrival of mass communication.

What I was wondering is - what are the distinctive differences between
Perth and Melbourne
and also
the North and the South Island of New Zealand?

What about Cananda - what are the differences between, say Vancouver and Toronto?

#7600 - 10/12/00 02:40 AM Re: accents
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
the North and the South Island of New Zealand?

The most easily identifiable regional accent in NZ is that found in the province of Southland, located, surprisingly, at the very bottom of the South Island. The influence of Scottish settlers left a verrry distinctive marrrk on the mannerrr in which worrrds arre pronounced down therrre. Nowhere else in NZ is the r vocalised as prominently. Indeed a friend in Alabama remarked that our "cah" (wot u drive in) sounds rather like it does when said by some New Englanders.

#7601 - 10/12/00 03:24 AM Re: propriety
Bridget Offline

Registered: 06/27/00
Posts: 444
Loc: Sydney Australia
Well, (sigh) if I am to be scolded for one lapse from the honest path, I had better post my responses to some multiple points in one fell swoop.

1. I don't necessarily speak in sentences. Or post in sentences or write in sentences. The letters I (used to, before email!) write to friends had more dashes than a year of athletic meets. I speak / write in units of thought. Unfortunately, my units of thought are not always crystal clear to those around me....

2. >I am surprised by how "Australian" the people who left the UK in adulthood sound - perhaps to real Australians they still sound very British. I wonder whether it is because the rhythm of Australian accents are quite "catchy". I think there is a similar phenomenon in New Zealand.<

I think this is because an accent has at least two distinct constituents - the pronunciation of individual words and the intonation of sentences or stretches of speech. I have frequently been told I sound Australian because of a rising tone at the end of many of my phrases. I have frequently been told I sound English because of my pronunciation of specific words.
I have also been told (by Mormon missionaries in Japan) that I sounded 'Austrian, no German, no Dutch, no Danish, er maybe Australian?' Given that I am a native English speaker who at that time had never been near Australia, I don't know whether to be amused or enraged! So I settle, most of the time, for bewildered.

3. As for long emails, fine in social circles. In business, if it's going to be long, nine times out of ten it would be better as an attachment. Attachments get less mangled in formatting by electronic transmission - they don't lose bolding, italics, tabs etc, or gain line breaks and little >>> which can make things extremely tedious to read. Only today I got a reply to an email with 'my comments added in bold' - except that all the text had defaulted to plain courier. Had to print it out and read every line to get the three comments that had been added...

PS see what I mean about incomplete sentences? But I'd NEVER put them in formal business writing!

#7602 - 10/12/00 03:31 AM Re: propriety
Bridget Offline

Registered: 06/27/00
Posts: 444
Loc: Sydney Australia
...Oh yes, one other thing.

Speaking is about communication and that communication should be pitched to the audience. (I know, I know, I'm a cynical marketer, but what's the point of language if your message is not getting across?)

I started swearing in a business context when I was one of about three people with a university degree in a 200-strong transportation company. I had a classic English RRP accent too. Swearing was the easiest and quickest bridge to build, and I needed bridges to get anything done!

Years later, I am still trying to control the habit...

If your audience are confused or put off by long words, change the long words, or change the audience.

All the above is just a long-winded way of agreeing that the key issues is appropriacy of language rather than its correctness.

#7603 - 10/12/00 03:48 AM Re: Speaking in sentences
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK

">Alot of the time, these delays are due to a desire to be concise"

Atypo. Apologies for lack of proof-checking...


the sunshine warrior

#7604 - 10/12/00 07:58 AM Re: Speaking in sentences
paulb Offline

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
< Brief Encounter>

Thanks, Shanks, for this reminder of one of my favourite films. And don't forget 'Kind hearts and coronets' which, according to its director (Robert Hamer), was specifically written to display the beauties of the English language.

#7605 - 10/12/00 04:09 PM Re: accents
Marty Offline

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 347
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
What I was wondering is - what are the distinctive differences between Perth and Melbourne


I'd be hard-pressed to pick any difference in accent between people from any Australian cities. People from "the bush" tend to use more slang and adopt a more laid-back approach to enunciation (" 'Ow yer goin', mate?"), but that's a rash generalization that will probably get me into a lot of trouble. Anecdotally, the further north you go, the more slowly people speak, the inhabitants of FNQ (Far North Queensland) being reputedly the slowest speakers, but I can't say I've had much experience of them or it.

There are a few local variations in vocabulary across the country. The only one that springs to mind instantly is that people in South Australia refer to an electric power pole as a "Stobie" pole (after the inventer I guess?).

#7606 - 10/12/00 04:57 PM Re: accents
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
Well, in Canada there is not much difference in the way people from Vancouver or Toronto sound. Both have a majority of English speaking inhabitants, both are business hubs.

You will find a great deal of difference if comparing accents from anyone in the Maritimes (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland) and the rest of English speaking Canada. It is a little hard to describe...they seem to speak from the front of the mouth towards the nose. They also have more of a sing-song lilt in their voices, and, I think, like most maritime communities, tend to use words that do not show up in other areas of the country (maybe I should ask a Newfoundlander what a group of fish on bikes are called .)

Québec is a different story altogether. The greatest number of people are Francophones with Anglophones coming in a distant second and Allophones way back there.

The accents, vocal intonation, and vocabulary, from one French community to another will vary greatly depending upon the distance from one city to the next (eg. there is a remarkable variation in the voices of people from Montréal city compared to cities 3 to 4 hours drive away.) To someone from Québec it is quite easy to know where a person is from by his accent, pronunciation and choice of words.

I would say 98% of Anglophones and allophones live in the Montréal area. Montreal Anglophones sound like balance of English provinces (save for Maritimes). Allophones encompass too many different languages to really compare to anyone.

Of course, you will always have variations in choice of words used to describe an object based on where you are from. National Geographic had a great www link to a site that discussed this very thing. Let me get on home and I'll add it in. It is kinda fun to look through.

#7607 - 10/12/00 05:58 PM Re: accents
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
Ah, voila! Here is the interesting site on American (the authors really mean "only the United States") colloquialisms.

http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/dare/dare.html sorry guys/gals I just can't seem to make this into a link. I have tried everything and it is not working out. I'm http'd out. I will now go sit on the bright red coo-coo couch and hang my head in shame.

ooooo, in my previous post (longwinded though it was) I forgot to mention Acadians. The Acadian language is a mishmash of English and French, with Maritime colloquialisms thrown in for good measure. The language follows its own rules of grammar, often using verb tenses in entirely different ways than English grammar dictates. It is a dying language in eastern Canada; the Acadians having been deported out of Nova Scotia in the mid 1700's. Only a few families remained speaking the Acadian language. They finally settled in southern U.S.A. and are known today as Cajuns.

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