It’s easy for an Aussie expat to pick up a London accent, innit
But don’t just think the expat affliction of acquiring an English accent is necessarily about contracting posh, clipped tones and a habit of saying yo-gurt, instead of yogurt.
If there is one thing I really hate, it is a person who is being inauthentic. I despise people that do certain things or act a particular way because they think it is the ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ thing to do. Just the fact that I used the word ‘hip’ in the previous sentence proves just how uncool and proud of it that I actually am.
That is why I found myself in a predicament. You see, I have always had a tendency to pick up accents really easily. It isn’t an affected thing that I do on purpose to sound posh… Quite the opposite, as my time in London went on I could hear myself speaking more and more like a Cockney. What started as saying “innit?” and adding “yeah?” to the end of every sentence became a full-blown problem.
Going back even further, my Year 7 report card gives a glowing review of my performance, but makes a point of noting that I had a habit of mimicking other people without realising it.
It got worse when I lived in the USA as a teenager, where I was forced to adopt a pseudo-southern drawl every time I had to speak on the phone or order drive-through so that they would understand what I was saying.
Fast forward again to Blighty. Many Australians I knew at the time didn’t quite understand it. I got the feeling that they thought I was doing it on purpose, in some type of vain attempt to abandon my heritage and fully assimilate with my new London neighbours. I tried to put on my best Australian accent and insisted it wasn’t the case… but even as I tried to deny it, I could feel the urge to someone “ hey babes” or “hey bruv”.
It became blatantly obvious that my little problem had gotten way out of hand on an occasion when after an hour speaking to a local Londoner he asked me where I was from. I told him proudly that I was from Queensland, in sunny Australia. He was taken aback, saying that he had meant what estate had I grown up on rather than what country.
TOP IMAGE: By Ben Kerckx via Pixabay
Paul Bleakley is a journalist and academic raised on Queensland's Gold Coast. After graduating with a Bachelor of Journalism, he went on to teach high school English and History in his hometown. Paul's work on democratic revolutions is featured will be featured in the book 'The Cultivation of Peace'. He loves reality TV, wandering aimlessly and wearing thongs (flip flops) on cold days.