Oz teens adopting American accents

July 4th, 2008 - 10:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, July 4 (ANI): More and more Australian teenagers are adopting American accents as a prestige model, says a linguistic expert.

Roly Sussex, linguistics expert from University of Queensland said that teenagers are very susceptible to imitating what they saw as being “snazzy or powerful”.

“It’s called the prestige model. Prestige is a very powerful motive and they (teenagers) will go with the pronunciation that belongs to the most impressive context, Courier Mail quoted him, as saying.

“At the moment and this has been the case for some time now, that’s American English.

“They see or hear these things being used by people like in MTV for example, and think ‘gee, I want to be like that’,” he added.

While speaking, teenagers have been putting more emphasis put on the first syllable of a word, which is a part of US accent.

“We’re now hearing DIS-tribute, RE-search and CIG-arette quite regularly. This is an American pattern we are starting to pick up and follow,” he added.

Its not just the spoken language, which is getting Americanised, even the written language including spelling, vocabulary and grammar is getting affected.

We’re seeing more and more examples of American words used in place of Australian words such as sidewalk for footpath and park brake, instead of handbrake, he said.

“There is a service centre at Hervey Bay spelt ‘center’ and a ‘fitness center’ on the way to Cleveland.

“Most of the words of approval we use now are American - great, cool, neat, filthy and phat. Australian terms like ace and grouse are now almost invisible, as is ‘hooroo’ for goodbye,” he added.

Speech teacher June Finney said anything American was highly regarded by young people and it “stood to reason” pronunciations were changing to mimic the American accent.

“We live in a period where anything goes and sadly that seems to apply to our speech as well,” said Finney.

But Professor Sussex said it was unlikely the Australian accent would ever be completely erased. (ANI)

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