Aussie Accent - Why My Aussie Born Son Does Not Have One?

Hi All,

My son was born and is raised in Australia. He is 9 years old. Yes, he is bi-lingual. We speak our native tongue at home. He is very easy to switch languages (automatically) - which I think he has the skill to do that as it is not an easy thing to do.
However, I notice that he does not have any Aussie accent and tone. That's a bit of concern as most of his friends have a strong Aussie Accent.
If it is possible, I like him to have it because it shows a true identity, but what do we need to do to make this happen? Do we need to speak English all the time? Is it too late for his age for having the accent?

I like him to have some degree of Aussie Accent if it is possible.

Please advise or share your experience.
Thank you.

Comments

  • +53 votes

    We speak our native tongue at home.

    There. Do you or ya partner have an accent?
    He'll probs end up neutral.

    Take him outback for a few years or go on a overseas trip so others can pick it up and you can achieve the full identity

    • +28 votes

      The boy will also need to start eating more Vegemite, I was told you can start getting Aussie accent that way

      Source: was born in the US and never ate Vegemite so still stuck with american accent

      •  

        An accent makes no difference if s/he ends up spending most of their life talking out of their back-side.

        Like the rest of us binging on consumer bilge at the arse-end of the earth.

    • +3 votes

      What gives you the idea that speaking a different language at home will impart an accent on the kid's English ?!

      The parents speaking heavily accented English at home would be more likely to impart an accent on the child than speaking a completely different language.
      Kids mostly acquire accents from their peer groups. So, does the kid hang out with a lot of ESL kids, or a lot of relatives that speak English with an accent?

      I know a few people whose parents don't speak English at all (or didn't when they first arrived in Aus), and they speak with very Aussie accents.

      Also, what is neutral?

      • +1 vote

        Look up bilingual accents.
        The kid likely grew up with other language first and English close by. Switching back and forth as op mentioned, you'd have influence from both languages.
        Neutral meaning that you don't have a pronounced accent in the country you're in.

      •  

        Kids mostly acquire accents from their peer groups. So, does the kid hang out with a lot of ESL kids, or a lot of relatives that speak English with an accent?

        Ding ding ding! We have a winner.

    • +3 votes

      Take him outback for a few years

      Lol doesn't always work that way. I know people who have lived outback for years, and their accent hasn't moved much. Everyone is different.

      Myself, I was born overseas, but my accent isn't truly Aussie despite being here nigh on 30 years now, because I still enunciate my T's etc. I actually think it helps communication (which my job requires a lot of), so why change to be "truly Australian"? Communication is about making yourself understood.

      •  

        Haha yeah pretty much. Look at Henry Kissinger.

      •  

        I speak with thousands of staff and clientele in and outside of Australia.

        The best thing for folks like us is being able to turn it off and on when required.

        Think you are right with "how you enunciate" certain things - think that's the key :)

  • +36 votes

    What does it matter? What accent does he have, the accent of your native language? I don't think speaking English more would help, since you wouldn't have an Australian accent yourselves.

      • +150 votes

        Having an accent show a true identity where we live.

        Really. That is sad. Australia is multicultural. Just embrace his current accent and enjoy the freedoms that Australia offers.

        • +2 votes

          Freedom of speech = freedom of accent.

        • -113 votes

          @thevofa: of course, people are free to have any accent.
          However, I believe it does hinder their child somewhat, in not having some aussie accent to show he was born here and a native english speaker.
          Some people (including myself) would be less inclined to speak to someone alot if they have a strong accent. I'm certainly not racist, but I am a strong logical thinker/reasoner, and I do know that generally it is going to be more difficult to communicate with someone who is not a native English speaker. This does not mean I ignore them, just that I am less likely to engage in conversation due to the language barrier.
          Their son likely has no.language barrier, as it sounds like he is a 'native english speaker' , but when people here a strong foreign accent, with no aussie accent, they will talk to him less, they will be less likely to give him a job. Simply because to communicate with a person who is not a native english speaker can at times because extremely difficult, if not impossible, due to language barriers, and people would subconsciously remember these experiences of struggling to communicate with non-native english speakers.
          would definitely help for him to have some Aussie accent .
          Is it too late DONT PUT IT OFF ANY LONGER, ask your GP for a referral to a speech therapist, ask a professional what to do, and get started before he gets any older

        • +79 votes

          @ozzpete: I negged when you started to sound racist, then unnegged when I realised you are just saying he'd be disadvantaged by others' racism (might be true), but then re-negged when you suggested speech therapy as an absolute necessity….

        • +1 vote

          Well said 👏 @tightbottom

        • +13 votes

          @The Wololo Wombat:

          You can't reapply a neg after you revoke it.

          But I didn't neg you for lying because I don't care.

        • +5 votes

          @ozzpete: hahaha a speech pathologist to teach him an accent….I feel for your poor GP!!!

        •  

          Can’t imagine someone actually wanting an Australian accent. It was an impediment to me in the US. Some struggled to understand it.

        • +3 votes

          @kipps:

          Are you kidding? The women love our Aussie accent over there

        • +1 vote

          @montorola: I’m married & just wanted to be able to order food. The accent made it difficult for them to understand. Some recognised the Australian accent straight away. Others thought I was from the “deep south” and had real difficulty understanding it.

        • +15 votes

          @kipps: Well you are from the "deep" south. Much deeper than they originally thought.

        • -7 votes

          @The Wololo Wombat: It is not an "absolute necessity". However the OP' som will be disadvantaged by sounding completely foreign and like he is not a native English speaker.
          Neg or un-neg or re-neg all you want. It means absolutely nothing:) .
          And it does not change the truth :)

        • -7 votes

          @BestofOZB: Have you a better suggestion ??
          Lets hear it ??
          What professional could help with accent better than a speech therapist ?
          Please tell ??

        • +7 votes

          @ozzpete:

          Wtf? Speech therapy? I know some people sending their kids and I have talked to their kids before starting therapy and they sounded fine. Leave kids to develop on their own and focus on their behaviour!

          Don't listen to instagram/facebook parents showing off their kids - that's not real life.

          Spend time with your kids and enjoy the fact that to them you are their whole world.

          OP - I wouldn't worry about accent. My Dad has a neutral accent and they manage just fine.

        • -6 votes

          @Craysee:

          Leave kids to develop on their own

          And then wait until bad behavior, and focus on that ?
          LMAO.
          The OP is asking for help, and you're completely ignoring the OP' wants and needs.
          Furthermore, "coping just fine" and giving your children the best possible start in life, are not the same.
          Clearly the OP wants to do the latter, as do most parents these days, rather than just leave kids to develop any which way, until bad after behavior occurs.

        • +5 votes

          @ozzpete:

          Lol:

          Some people (including myself) would be less inclined to speak to someone alot if they have a strong accent.

          This does not line up with:

          I am a strong logical thinker/reasoner,

          Yeah I don't think you know what the word "logical" means. 'Mate'.

        • +3 votes

          @ozzpete: Speech therapy is referred to for medically diagnosed speech impediments. An "undesirable" accent in your point of view, is not one of them.

        •  

          All well and said but often kids will pick on other kids alot about their accents etc. they can also exclude them from groups.

          It sucks but it's easier for a kid to have an Aussie accent.

        • +2 votes

          @ozzpete: An accent coach. That's what movie stars use to prepare for roles. This is not an impediment requiring a medical doctor.

        •  

          @ozzpete: i think you mean a voice or speech coach

        • -3 votes

          @HighAndDry: its pretty simple, yet you don't understand :)
          All good.

        • -4 votes

          @theraque: Well, Im sure the OP has the accent vocal coach available as per what "movie stars" use :)

        •  

          @ozzpete:

          As picky as you are in your speaking to people, I think you should invest in your writing English.

        • -4 votes

          @wdmhbbbwctcdlbc:

          invest in your writing English.

          Brillant :) Made me LOL . Your English skills are great mate

        • +1 vote

          @ozzpete:
          I don't know why people negged you @ozzpete, I do have strong foreign accent and I find what you said is true to my own experience:

          "but when people here a strong foreign accent, with no aussie accent, they will talk to him less, they will be less likely to give him a job. Simply because to communicate with a person who is not a native english speaker can at times because extremely difficult, if not impossible, due to language barriers, and people would subconsciously remember these experiences of struggling to communicate with non-native english speakers. "

  • +97 votes

    Get him to add “mate” to the end of every sentence. That’ll make him sound more Aussie.

  • +12 votes

    A DINGO SPOKE TO MY BABY! CRIKEY!

    put this on loop and make him watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHQRZXM-4xI

  • +11 votes

    Perhaps increase the amount of social interaction he has with English as the first language spoken. For example, youth clubs, spiritual groups, sporting groups, hobby groups, community service organisations etc. If he hears English spoken around him more often in day to day activities, he may pick up more Australian sayings and inflections. He'll get some of this at school with his peers but extra contact outside of school time will help as well.

  • +8 votes

    I myself was born and raised in Australia and since I was very young, I have had a straight up neutral North American accent. Often at times, I've been tested on my cultural identity as many people don't recognise that I'm from here unless I tell them.

    Since your son is 9, his accent might end up turning into a blend of accents but often it will just stay that way naturally. Overtime, however, his speech pattern will naturally evolve on its own.

    The best advice I can give you is to leave it up to him. If his natural vocal tone isn't Australian, blatantly forcing him to switch his intonations and pronunciations will most likely cause him to lose his sense of cultural identity. Subconsciously, he might think it unique to not sound like the rest of his friends or family; I know that was the situation for me. Granted, now that I'm older it's far easier for me to do an Australian accent on the fly, but if someone tests me on my "Australian-ness", it feels fake and forced.

    • +1 vote

      That's just weird.

      • +15 votes

        Raised by TV?

        • +2 votes

          I wouldn't say I was raised by TV per say, I was fairly active and I watched the same amount of television that my siblings did, American or otherwise. I kinda just got the weird end of the stick where I was more receptive to the American accent than an Australian one; bear in mind, as a kid I didn't even KNOW that Australia and America were two separate entities until I was a little older to comprehend the difference.

        •  

          @DomFrost: :)

          Fair enough. It's a complicated universe for sure.

        • -6 votes

          @DomFrost: That’s weird. In a bad way.

        • +6 votes

          @Burnertoasty: Can you explain to me why? o.o

        • -11 votes

          @DomFrost: Because it means that there is something wrong with you developmentally. To develop an accent of a country you’ve never been to is indicative of some major underlying psychological issues.

        • +1 vote

          @Burnertoasty:

          Someone being different means something is wrong with them?

        • -3 votes

          @zeggie: Well obviously, you think someone who has an American accent, but has never lived in America isn't an odd ball?

        • +1 vote

          @Burnertoasty:
          So, you're telling @DomFrost that being an oddball is weird, in a bad way? Having developmental issues is weird, in a bad way? Are you one of those people that walk up to disfigured people on the street because you feel the need to remind them how unfortunate you think they are, just in case they didn't realise?

          Don't you think that it's possible for people who are different to actually live a good, fulfilling life? Or at least, good enough to give optimistic advice to a parent concerned about their child who might also be different. Honestly, there are fairly "different" people that manage to live somewhat normal lives. Unfortunately, they can't ever feel truly normal or comfortable because certain people feel the need to remind them of how different and flawed they are..

        •  

          @Burnertoasty: Customer support often has the American accent, based in the Philippines though.

        •  

          @DomFrost:

          Are you same sex attracted?

          I know a couple of Aussies who are, and they speak with British accents.

        •  

          @Koaladeals: … I mean I am, but I don't think you can really attribute that as a correlation XD

    • +7 votes

      If I may ask, are you on the Autism Spectrum?

    • +1 vote

      I agree with the above since I'm exactly the same.

      I've even been accused of lying about my nationality when I've been overseas… For me personally I do remember when I was much younger thinking it was odd to not be a white Australian yet take on a thick Aussie accent so that played a major part. Certainly in the schools I went to at least it wasn't often I'd meet people that was counter to what I had observed until I was a fair bit older.

    •  

      Using a North American accent when you're actually in Australia is a very autistic trait.

  •  

    Most likely he picked up a lot of you and your partners accent at home
    He just has to listen more to how monolingual locals speak and make an effort to change his accent. Basically more exposure to people with the accent you think is better

  • +13 votes

    Firstly, accents are exaggerated in hollywood movies, dont use that as a comparison. I find that the Aussie accent often stronger in or smaller towns. Metropolitan people watch TV … TV is hollywood, accent is generally american or mixed variety. People living in Rural Australia or smaller townships actually engage less in television and more with each other.

    Having said that sometimes you don't notice the accent because you are so accustomed to him and the people you already engage with, so you couldnt tell. For example, I never thought I had an accent, and it certainly isn't strong. The first time I chatted with a friend in America, her first words were, my Aussie Accent was very strong. Mind you, there is no way it is considered strong in Australia, but when I traveled to other countries, the people I meet, they pick up that I am Australian somehow.

    Accent doesnt determine his Nationality, I am assuming he is 2nd generation immigrant, Australian Born as you said, and you feel the NEED to tell others he is Australian Born, not off the boat? Not sure why … but reminds me of a popular thing Chinese Tourists used to do; they deliberately keep and display the genuine tags of the luxury goods they buy when they wear it, just to prove to people it wasn't counterfeit.

    If you MUST have him develop the tru blu Aussie Accent, I would suggest limiting him to movies/drama that are about Rural or Turn of Century Australia. But again … Why?

  •  

    Based on the region where I grew up in Australia I had a non "traditional" accent. But I actively worked on it after I got to Uni and now I have at least one common variation of an "aussie accent". I switch in and out depending on the crowd I'm talking to.

    If your son has a strong foreign accent then make him actively work to change it — it will harm his future career prospects.

    • +1 vote

      You mentioned it would harm his future career prospects if he does not have an Aussie accent, I may disagree on that as I believe, as long as he communicates (verbal and written) well in proper english and he can adapts the culture well, I don't think it would affect his career in the future. I have a lot of bosses over the years who are not born and raised in Australia, thus no Aussie accent at all.
      What do you think?

      •  

        Depends where the foreign accent comes from… Some accents are definitely seen as more attractive in certain industries.

        One of the bases of soft skills is empathy, if you have the same accent you can more easily reflect each others feelings.

        There will be cases where people with foreign accents have progressed but having the same accent or an 'attractive' accent will give you a step ahead.

  • +11 votes

    Accents are influenced by the people around you, if he isn't exposed to the 'aussie' accent then hard for him to pick it up

    • +1 vote

      I expect him to pick up aussie accent at school not at home because he spends a significant amount of time at school.
      At the same time, the teacher encourages him to be bilingual.

      • +1 vote

        You should speak to him in an aussie accent constantly to encourage him to develop one.

      •  

        "Significant"

        I may suggest that is an exaggerated assumption.
        It looks like his exposure at home is more significant.
        Take a look into language acquisition theory to understand how children acquire their language.
        Nativitst, interactionist, and behavioural theory.

      •  

        Where does he go to school? If his mates are mostly like him, then it might explain why he could not pick up the accent easily. Like Godric said above, accents are influenced by people around you.

      • +1 vote

        Have you asked his teacher what his accent is like in the classroom and playground?

        I know bilingual people who grew up in Australia who use their parent's accent when talking to their family and Aussie accent when talking with their friends. Not in a pretentious way - they just seem to naturally mirror the accent of the person they are talking to.

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