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Interesting and Special Australian English

[日期:2006-06-05] 来源:本站原创  作者:本站原创 [字体: ]

If someone asks you “What is your name?”, do you think you can understand him? Every student may say: Why? That’s rather easy. Everybody knows what it means. However, when you meet an Australian and when he asks you: “What is your name?”, maybe you will be at a loss for an answer. This is not scaring. Last year, I was embarrassed by the same question.

Before I went to Australia for culture exchange, to get us well prepared for our stay there, the former principal(校长)of Elizabeth College came to give us some necessary training in customs, culture and education as well as local accent and so on. When we first met in the hotel, he greeted me with enthusiasm in a joyful voice: “Nice to meet you. What is your name?” I felt puzzled by his surprising question. What on earth did he want to know? Wearing a blank expression, I asked him once more:Would you please say it again and slowly?. He smiled at me in a friendly way and repeated his question with a special emphasis on the word “name”. Once again I was all at sea, still not knowing what “name” is. There was an awkward silence for a second. By this time, I had become a little shy and upset, but I plucked up my courage and required:I am sorry, but would you please spell the word this time? After he slowly spelled the word n-a-m-e, I couldn’t help laughing.

 My God! Such an easy word as every student knows beat me and put me in a difficult position! That’s all because of the Australian English. The Australian people speak English, but with a very heavy accent.

 Several hundred years ago, when some English people were first sent to Australia as prisoners, they brought along with them the British culture. As time passed by, under the great influence of local culture, things changed greatly including the English language. Just like its culture, its language is also a mixture. The British English language has become Australian English with a special accent. In Australian English,eisounds quite likeai. Therefore, “day” sounds like “die”, and “classmate” is pronounced like “class might”. One of the very Australian greetings(澳大利亚人较典型的见面问候语) isG’ day mate”(你好). From today on, if an Australian greets you with a warm Go die might, you will not feel it strange or surprising. Instead, you will find it natural, because “G’ day mate” has becomeGo die might in Australian English, of course.

After a time of my stay in Australia, I talked about this Australian accent with my host family(房东). As expected, he laughed and said that Australian English is a little bit different from American English and British English. Australian English is very broad. Then this humorous host told me a well known joke about the local accent.

One day, two friends met in the street. One asked his friend: “Hi, guy, where are you going?”

His friend answered: “I am going to hospital to die.” (In fact, he said: “I’m going to hospital today”). 朋友关切地问他要去哪,他说“我今天要去医院看病”,但经过澳大利亚口音一过滤就成了“我要去医院死”。

There is one more interesting thing that impresses me most about Australian English. The Australian people like cutting a long word and throw away the last part. They like short words, perhaps because they are lazy, perhaps because they want to save more time.

They love “Australia”, but they think the word is too long, they don’t want to spend too much time saying one word, so they cut it short and change it into “Aussie”. But, still, they think it is too long, they continue to cut the word. Now they have made a good enough word, they think. That is “OZ”. They like using “Aussie” and “OZ” more than “Australia” in their daily life. The beautiful island state that I stayed in for almost three months is Tasmania(塔斯马尼亚洲), which they call “Tassie”, or “Tas”. The popular food “Barbie” is the short form for barbecue(露天烧烤). There’s a famous saying there: “If you don’t like “footy”, you don’t love Aussie. Do you know what “footy” refers to?----- Football! Can you imagine what word they use for “university”? -----Uni.

“I reckon” you have learned a little about Australian English today. The following problem is for you. Are you ready for the short Australian sentence “Howzat”? Read it again and again, faster and faster, and the meaning will be clear to you. Have you found the answer now? The meaning is: How is that? Or what do you think of that?

I am afraid you will think Aussie English is very crazy and that it is difficult to learn. “No worries”(Another Aussie lingo, which means: that’s ok, or it doesn’t matter). The best way to study a language is to jump in.
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