That’s not my name!

Can I have the chicken salad and a bottle of water please?


I just wanted to order the chicken salad. And a water.

*confused look*
I don’t understand you.”

I’ll spare you the entirety of this conversation, suffice to say it ended when I did my best Charlie Chaplin impression and just started pointing at the things I wanted.
Oh! You have an accent! It’s cute!” No teenager, it’s not cute. It’s annoying and frustrating.

This is not the first time I’ve been misunderstood or that the sounds I use to form words are not recognized as a discernible language to anyone in my vicinity.

Australia Day in the USA

There’s nothing worse than having to repeat yourself more than four times. By that point it’s time to pack up and go home because that horse is dead and you best leave it be.

I never thought I had a particularly pronounced Australian accent, but I cop strange looks for everything from “No” to “tea” and even my own damn name. Yeah Starbucks. Who is even called Kite?

The worst part is when someone clearly has no idea what you’ve said but tries not to let on. The panic in their eyes is terrible. I want to hug one of my spin instructors and assure him that no one knows what I’m saying, every time he tries to strike up a conversation with me. His mouth laughs but his eyes tell a completely different story.

Australian Words and Phrases That Americans Don't Understand

So here’s what I’ve noticed after three-ish months of American living.

  • The R factor: Think water (wa-da), poor (paw), door (doa).  I just want a glass of H20. Maybe even a bottle. I’m thirsty and you’re looking at me like I’ve violated some obscure human right. Like most Aussies, I don’t pronounce my r’s. It’s like they don’t even exist.
  • Ending in a: This follows on from the inability to pronounce the letter r. We replace it with an a. If I had a dollar (dolla) for every time a co-worker parroted my pronunciation of ever (eva), better (betta), or butter (butta)…. I’d have all the moneys.
  • Would you like to buy a vowel?: I can’t hear it myself but apparently we add extra vowels to our words. “No” is a prime example. I’ve been told it sounds more like a “naooouuoeeo”. They just don’t know how to get bang for their buck. Why use one vowel when you can crowbar most of them in there? 
  • That question was not a query: Do you enjoy a good upwards inflection? Like it so much that you don’t just want to limit it to questions? You’re in luck! Adopt an Australian accent and all your sentences end as if you’re asking something important. “Hi?”, “Actually I spent the weekend just vegging out?” etc.

If you’ve got any to add hit me with them!

Living overseas | Living abroad | Understanding Australians | Australians | Australian accent | Aussie accent | speaking American | Aussie | Expat | Aussie Expat in US

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