Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

A New Accent, Political Boundaries and Accents, Languages and Dialects

From:Tristan McLeay <kesuari@...>
Date:Tuesday, May 21, 2002, 9:18
Apparently, there is no longer a 'widespread homogeneity stretching from
Cairns to Hobart, from Sydney to Perth, a uniformity of pronunciation'
through all Australia (it might still be larger than any other
uniformity in the world which is what the article in the Macquarie
Dictionary actually says there, but the meaning was clear).

You know how I've said that I pronounce 'Melbourne' as /m{lb@n/. This
results in a new pair of synonyms here: 'celery' and 'salary' (and
indeed, the first time I attempted to spell the latter word, I thought
it was spelt 'salary', allowing for the fact that the memory is quite an
old one).

Anyway, a study by a university in Albury, which is just on the NSW side
of the NSW/Vic. border, has shown that it's possible to tell a Victorian
from a NSWelshman. Under 25s in Victoria will say merge /El/ and /{l/,
other people won't.

The interesting thing about this is that Victoria and NSW share a
border. On the Victorian side, under 25s will merge them, even in the
north of the state, whereas as soon as you get into Albury, people use
the unmerged pronunciation. The article doesn't say anything about
Wodonga, unfortunately (the difference between Albury and Wodonga is the
width of the Murry, the river that separates Vic. from NSW).

I've also noticed that you can fairly accurately say that someone from
Germany speaks German, whereas someone from the Netherlands speaks Dutch
and someone from France speaks French. It is fuzzled a bit by the
dialectal gradient between German and Dutch and moving political
boundaries meaning some French speak German etc. But I think (although
could quite easily be proven wrong) my point still stands.

Anyway, I'm just wondering. How much of an influence do political
boundaries have on accents/dialects? Am I making more of it than it
really is?

(See for a
article on the report.)

(You should all know my secret agenda behind this email, of course. They
never needed to carry the research, they just needed to ask me. :P)

And just a note on the article. It says:

    In [the 1960s in] Sydney most people spoke with a general accent, in
    Brisbane broad and Melbourne cultivated.

This surprises me greatly. I would thought Melb. and Syd. had their
accents reversed from what that says.

    People from NSW pronounced the `a' [in 'castle', 'dance', 'graph']
   `ar' while those south of the border [i.e. in Victoria] said `ah'.

I'm presuming the 'ar' is /A:/ and the 'ah' is /{/ (which is why I
thought Melb. and Syd. should've been reversed above). I have no idea
why the chose to show that as 'ah'. Perhaps based on 'ih' for /I/ and
'uh' for /V/.


John Cowan <jcowan@...>A New Accent, Political Boundaries and Accents,