Regional difference hits our mind first as the major factors behind variation in language accent. While this may be true for languages spoken in different parts of the world, the same holds no ground when we talk about Australian accent. Interestingly, regional aspect has nothing to do with the prevailing accent in Australian English neither does class, education or urban/ rural background. This however does not imply that, there exists no accent variation in the English spoken on the continent. In the year 1965 linguists Arthur Delbridge and A.G. Mitchell presented a loose classification of Australian accents into three categories called broad, general and cultivated varieties.
Broad accent is spoken by a relatively small section of Australian population, say around 10 percent. The landmark for this type of accent would be Australian ex-Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Steve Irwin. This type of accent is heavily marked with syllable assimilation and restricted or complete omission of different consonants. The accent has very low pitch and the user speaks slowly too. Not just that, broad Australian accent also exhibits nasality. Besides, this accent, which is considered to be masculine, is largely used in advertisements.
A vast majority, which amount is up to 80 percent of the Australian population, speaks what is called the General Australian Accent. Typically used by radio announcers and television news readers, this form of Australian English accent is lies mid way between Broad Australian accent and the cultivated Australian accent. The characteristic users of this type of accent include Nicole Kidman, and Hugh Jackman. This most commonly used accent is also considered as the standard Australian language. The user makes an intelligent use of Broad and cultivated English accent to generate an end result which is unique in itself.
With 90 percent of the Australians opting for either Broad or General English accent, the remaining minority of 10 percent speaks what is known as the cultivated accent. This type of accent is used by a segment of population that wishes to portray elite sophistication. Indicating high social class or good education this type of accent emerged as a result of received education and is most widely used by radio announcers and television hosts. Its most famous users include Australian ex-prime minister Malcolm Fraser, Kylie Minogue, Kevin Rudd and Alexander Downer.
Australian accent thus, has very little to do with regional variation, quite like its commonwealth counterpart, Canada. Both of the nations are geographically spaced yet, show very little accent variation as a result of regional differences.
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