chapter  8
24 Pages

The Australian Accent

TheAustralianaccentisoneoftheclearestmarkersofAustralianness.ThreewordsfromthemouthofaHoges,andweandtherest oftheEnglish-speakingworldknowinstantlywherehecomes from.Butasabadgeofnationalidentitytheaccenthassomecuriousproperties.MillionsofAustralianviewerslaughatHogeson TV,asthoughhiskindofAustralianbelongstoadifferentspecies. Tosomeextent,they'reright.OnlyaboutathirdofAustralians speaklikeHoges.Therestaremoreup-marketAustralians,whose laughtermarkstheirsenseofsuperioritytothislowerformoflife. Butthat'snotallthereistoit.PaulHoganwasnamed'Australian oftheYear'in1986.Hehasshownthathisaccentandstylearenot onlyforhomeconsumption:theHogespackageisagoodexport commodity.InBritainitsellsFosterslager.InAmericaitsellsAustraliaitself.NonAustralians,it'sclear,listenandlaugh,feelwarm andbuy.TheAustralianaccentisbothuniqueyetinternationally recognisable,ridiculousbutpotent.ItunitesyetdividesAustralians themselves.Understandingsuchparadoxescangoalongway towardsunderstandingthecomplexitiesandcontradictionsof theAustraliannationalidentityandtheprocessesbywhichitis constructed.