What does the “Canberra accent” sound like?

richiedt 11 May 2015 28
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Yes folks. Apparently it’s a thing so I’m very interested in everyone’s thoughts.

What does the “Canberra Accent” sound like.

My feeling?

It’s a little bit toff with a good measure of Kambah twang thrown in. Vowels are sounded out quite roundly – like our roundabouts.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

If you want to join in the discussion on Twitter, please use #CanberraAccent.

Cheers

@RichardTuffin


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28 Responses to What does the “Canberra accent” sound like?
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Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 10:28 am 08 May 15

I was born and schooled in Canberra – all public schools too. My country NSW in-laws tease me for talking like an British toff. Why do you talk posh?

People always picked me as British over Australian while in Canada and USA too, which is a common mistake, I guess?

arescarti42 arescarti42 12:21 pm 08 May 15

Rollersk8r said :

People always picked me as British over Australian while in Canada and USA too, which is a common mistake, I guess?

I can’t comment on Canadians, but based on my experience living there, Americans are useless at identifying accents.

I even had one ask if I was Irish based on my accent.

dannybear dannybear 1:01 pm 08 May 15

I spent a while in the western suburbs of sydney and was regularly asked where my accent came from, I’ve lived in canberra my whole life.
my theory is that canberrans tend to speak with a cross between a general and cultivated accent which causes the confusion.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 1:03 pm 08 May 15

Are we talking north or south?

Dame Canberra Dame Canberra 1:19 pm 08 May 15

I’d never thought about whether Canberrans have an accent. I would have assumed no, because we’re such a transient population that we get a bit of a mix of everything.

That said, I’m pretty sure the bogan drawl gets stronger the further into Tuggeranong you go. As a former Tuggeranong-er, I think it’s okay to say that 😉

Matt Watts Matt Watts 2:43 pm 08 May 15

There is no accent. There have been strong influences from Melbourne and regional NSW over the long term, but nothing is dominant.

Becmaster78 Becmaster78 3:29 pm 08 May 15

Born here and whenever interstate get asked where my accent is from. Mainly get asked if British but my mum is so people attribute it to that. Even so I think my friends and family do speak with an accent. Certain words like Civic or Canberra give away a Canberra born n bred every time. I’m a northsider and cant speak for the Tuggers booners but I definitely think we have an accent here despite the transient nature of Canberra and the influx of interstaters over the last couple of decades.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:16 pm 08 May 15

Fascinated to know that “it’s a thing” – age and susceptibility to media/popular culture fashions, rather than location, seem to be much greater influences.

Maya123 Maya123 6:20 pm 08 May 15

Matt Watts said :

There is no accent. There have been strong influences from Melbourne and regional NSW over the long term, but nothing is dominant.

No, no, don’t say that. The Melbourne accent is one of the worst. Now you have me worried, as lately I have been less able to recognise it. Now from your comments I’m thinking that might be because I’ve developed a bit of a Melbourne accent. Nooooo…..

Grail Grail 9:26 pm 08 May 15

My brother and I were brought up in Canberra. Our history includes Higgins Primary, St John the Apostle, SFX, Marist Bros Pearce. We pretty much watched the same TV together.

I have the toff-ish Canberra accent, my brother doesn’t (but neither does he have the Aussie drawl mate).

I suspect the Canberra Accent might be common to people who were raised around pommy bastards like diplomats, senior plublic service in the ’70s, ten bob Poms, etc.

Oh, and Tom Baker as Dr Who, which I watched more faithfully than my brother.

mr_spoon mr_spoon 8:55 am 09 May 15

I get a lot of being mistaken for a Brit (even by Brits) but I do have a plummy accent – a lot like Whitlam’s, I think. Around Canberra I hear all three of the recognised variations on Australian English (broad, general, cultivated – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variation_in_Australian_English#Broad.2C_general_and_cultivated_Australian) although I think even the cultivated register has lost it compared to those lovely plummy intonations you hear in old ABC broadcasts.

But more importantly, where do you stand on the potato scallop vs potato cake dilemma?

rubaiyat rubaiyat 6:30 pm 09 May 15

To me it is somewhere between Patagonian Welsh and Tuvan throat singing, but it varies even within the ACT.

It is a little bit like getting a Kiwi to say “six” or a Canadian to say “about”

Get somebody from Tuggeranong to say “tram” and you can pick the Tuggers whine instantly. 😉

John Moulis John Moulis 6:58 pm 09 May 15

I’ve noticed variations between Canberra and Queanbeyan. For example Canberrans call a suitcase a port, whereas Queanbeyanites call it a bag or a case. Also people in Belco say Newcassle whereas people in Tuggers call it Newcarsle. People in Woden say devon whereas people in Gungahlin call it strass. The further south you go the more Scottish the accent sounds, for example people in Banks say “a wee bit” a lot. Note: The preceding is meant to be read with a touch of sarcasm 🙂

miz miz 8:24 pm 09 May 15

It’s a mix of Sydney and Melbourne, though Melbourne accent has noticeably morphed over the last decade or so, eg (weirdly) they now say they love in MALbourne, but pronounce the name ‘Malcolm’ as MELcolm. Maybe there are too many Kiwis there now!

Maya123 Maya123 6:35 pm 10 May 15

John Moulis said :

I’ve noticed variations between Canberra and Queanbeyan. For example Canberrans call a suitcase a port, whereas Queanbeyanites call it a bag or a case. Also people in Belco say Newcassle whereas people in Tuggers call it Newcarsle. People in Woden say devon whereas people in Gungahlin call it strass. The further south you go the more Scottish the accent sounds, for example people in Banks say “a wee bit” a lot. Note: The preceding is meant to be read with a touch of sarcasm 🙂

Never, never heard a suitcase here called a port in over thirty years by a Canberran. That’s a Queensland and northern NSW thing (I know that from having lived there), so maybe the person you heard say that came from one of those areas. It’s not a Canberra word.

Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 2:01 pm 11 May 15

rubaiyat said :

To me it is somewhere between Patagonian Welsh and Tuvan throat singing, but it varies even within the ACT.

It is a little bit like getting a Kiwi to say “six” or a Canadian to say “about”

Get somebody from Tuggeranong to say “tram” and you can pick the Tuggers whine instantly. 😉

I think you’re on to something with the pronunciation of certain words. Everyone from Canberra calls it “Canbra”. Barely two syllables.

Whereas I know a few interstate people, who’ve lived here for ten years, who still say it like wrapping their tongue around a foreign technical term “Can-ber-RA”.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 2:59 pm 11 May 15

Rollersk8r said :

rubaiyat said :

To me it is somewhere between Patagonian Welsh and Tuvan throat singing, but it varies even within the ACT.

It is a little bit like getting a Kiwi to say “six” or a Canadian to say “about”

Get somebody from Tuggeranong to say “tram” and you can pick the Tuggers whine instantly. 😉

I think you’re on to something with the pronunciation of certain words. Everyone from Canberra calls it “Canbra”. Barely two syllables.

Whereas I know a few interstate people, who’ve lived here for ten years, who still say it like wrapping their tongue around a foreign technical term “Can-ber-RA”.

One of my pet hates from outsiders is calling us Can-berry-uns.

We’re Canberrans.

John Moulis John Moulis 5:00 pm 11 May 15

Maya123 said :

John Moulis said :

I’ve noticed variations between Canberra and Queanbeyan. For example Canberrans call a suitcase a port, whereas Queanbeyanites call it a bag or a case. Also people in Belco say Newcassle whereas people in Tuggers call it Newcarsle. People in Woden say devon whereas people in Gungahlin call it strass. The further south you go the more Scottish the accent sounds, for example people in Banks say “a wee bit” a lot. Note: The preceding is meant to be read with a touch of sarcasm 🙂

Never, never heard a suitcase here called a port in over thirty years by a Canberran. That’s a Queensland and northern NSW thing (I know that from having lived there), so maybe the person you heard say that came from one of those areas. It’s not a Canberra word.

I thought I made clear in the last sentence that this post was satirical. I was transposing regional variations from other parts of Australia and New Zealand onto Canberra and thus attempting to be humorous. Satire and sarcasm were quite common on the old RiotACT, it seems people have forgotten about it already.

Dondon Dondon 8:14 pm 11 May 15

Sorry you born and bred Canberrans, you don’t have an accent. Stop kidding yourselves.

JimCharles JimCharles 9:42 pm 11 May 15

I like the Queanbeyan accent just because it’s monotone and understated, very down to earth and genuine. Similar inflection to the UK, without the strong regional variations. Just say it like it is and don’t make a bloody fuss. Less is more.

Canberra is totally different, very uppy and singy. You don’t need to watch The Sound Of Music to hear Julie Andrews, just nip into any coffee shop and listen to the women greet each other in the morning.
The remarkable AQI is fascinating and very confusing to observing foreigners, especially when Canberrans are doing it to each other.
Somebody asks a question. The respondent answers with a statement, but makes it sound like another question. Originator replies, it sounds like another question, but it’s not, it’s just a normal conversation. They get higher and higher in pitch, matching and raising the stakes each time.
I can sit there for ages just happily eavesdropping, it’s like watching a game of tennis wondering which one will give it up first.
The most annoying thing is that it’s highly addictive and if enough people do it to you, you end up doing it back to them, even though you’re trying really hard not to.

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