It used to be amusing, but after two decades, being a hard-to-understand Australian in America is getting a bit old.
Back in the nineties, it was kind of understandable—about the only Australian sound most Americans recognized was Steve Irwin’s auditory smack in the face. It was so rare to hear the dulcet tones of my people on the streets of New York, I would hone in on even a hint of a strangled vowel from a footy field away.
However, these days, it seems, you can’t walk more than a few steps without mumbling Aussies drifting into earshot. We’re everywhere, especially playgrounds. Don’t ask me why Australians assemble in numbers around small folk on swings in foreign countries but we do. (And it’s a slide, not a slippery dip, Cheryl.)
Despite our relative ubiquity, I still regularly feel separated by a common language from my American friends. If you’re visiting here, you should be aware that if you talk as you would to a mate in Australia (swiftly, into your beard, full of colloquialisms), no-one will understand you. They may say they “love” your accent and could “listen to you talk all day,” but they’re lying. Some of them think you’re Austrian.