A few minutes ago I had to ring an office in Australia to update some details they hold on us and I was astounded to discover that I had trouble understanding the girl who answered the phone. She sounded very similar to one of my closest friends (also Australian) but I really struggled to make out what she was saying due to the accent.

When we first moved to New Zealand I had difficulty understanding what people were saying - a combination of the accent and the speed with which they spoke (and I always thought Australians talked fast). It actually led to some very embarrassing moments as when a salesgirl ended up having to get her supervisor to explain to me what I had asked her repeatedly to rephrase and yet I still didn't understand. The supervisor spoke very slowly as to a young child: "Do. You. Want. A. Receipt?"

I left the shop with a red face and no receipt.

But this latest incident has scared me. Does this mean I've lost my accent? Have I finally been assimilated into New Zealand culture?

Whatever will my family and friends "back home" say now?


SchnauzerMom said…
That's interesting. I didn't know there was such a difference in the way the two cultures speak.
Mary R. said…
I didn't know there was such a difference, either. That is scary.
Jules said…
Actually it was just a humourous look at the difference in the accent and the way some words are pronounced. It was more obvious over the telephone and talking to an unknown someone on the other end. I don't have any difficulty when talking to family or friends in Australia but it does show how long I've been here and how I've become more Kiwi than Aussie in some respects.
Jen said…
That is really interesting! Have you noticed, or have any of your friends or family noticed if you are talking more with a NZ accent now? I always wondered how you sound, because I think both Aussie and NZ accents are beautiful :). So much more exciting that our boring accents here in America.
Jules said…
Friends here say I have an Aussie accent but that it's not too offensive (whatever that means) but family and friends in Australia have been telling me for years that I sound like a Kiwi. It just depends. I have changed the way I pronounce some words because it caused confusion with the kids I work with (and with my own kids especially the youngest who couldn't understand why his mother and his teacher both pronounced "the" differently when he was learning to read) but there're other words that I don't even realise I say differently.

And I don't think American accents are boring at all. It's just because you're so used to them that you think they're nothing to write home about. I love one of your hair videos where you're talking. I could listen to your accent all day!

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