Recently I was driving my kids to school when I heard an advertisement (hey, come to think of it, that is another one!) on the radio that made me cringe. It also made me think of all the words I hear Aussies say that sound so strange to me. And I have no doubt that my Aussie friends hear me say the same words and cringe in the same way I do!
Since I have already shared the many Aussie words and phrases I love, I thought I would add the other end of the spectrum. So, without further ado, my top 8 cringe-worthy Aussie word pronunciations, and as an added bonus, pronunciations as per dictionary.com.
8) Fillet (Aussie – fill-it, American – fi-ley, dictionary.com – fil-it; usually fi-ley). We are in Australia, so there is a lot of seafood. Sometimes its a fish you have haven’t heard of, so you ask about it, or how it is prepared. The first time someone said “it is a fillet” versus a whole fish, I had to think, “a what?”. I’ve tried to adapt, but it sounds even weirder when I try to say it the Aussie way.
7) Coupe (Aussie – koo-pay, American – koop, dictionary.com – koop). In the spirit of full disclosure, this was they word from the add on the radio, for a 2 door car, that started all this. I said to my kids, “I hate the way Aussies pronounce that”, and we started coming up with this list!
6) Debut (Aussie – day-boo, American – day-byoo, dictionary.com – dey-byoo, deb-yoo). At least none of us say day-but or dee-but… I just find the “boo” at the end a bit funny.
5) Aluminium, Aluminum (Aussie — al-yuh–min-ee-uh m, American – uh–loo-muh-nuh m). Both are in the dictionary, This is really an example of Americans exerting their independence and dropping the “i” while the Aussies continue on with the British ways. But I still think it sounds weird.
4) Thirteen (Aussie – thur-deen, American – thur–teen, dictionary.com – thur-teen). Thirteen is just the example, pretty much all the teens have the “T” changed to a “D”. Which is weird, because no one talks about their “deenagers”. So why change all the numbers?
3) Whilst, While (Aussie – hwahylst, wahylst, American – hwahyl, wahyl). Just like #5. Apparently we Americans are a bit lazy and want to cut down on the time it takes to either spell or say a word!!
2) Schedule (Aussie – shed-yool, shej-ool, American – skej-ool, dictionary.com – skej-ool, shed-yool, shej-ool). Yes, the dictionary accommodates us all. But check out “school”. Nobody says “shool”. So that “C” must be in there for some reason people!!
1) Spelt, Spelled. This is my all time favorite. And it isn’t a pronunciation thing. Its the “T’ versus the “ED” thing. The controversy that complicates spelling tests around the world! Which is the correct past tense — a “T” or an “ED”? My poor kids will forever be confused and never pass a spelling test. We moved to Australia and the “ED” was wrong. They plan to go back to the USA for college, and their papers will have misspellings when the use the “T”. There are no winners here!
So what does this all prove? Something we knew all ready. Australia is more British that the United States. Always has been, always will be. So to you Americans, when you come visit, enjoy the oddities of the accents — and KEEP LEFT!