Who knew you could tell so much from the way a person or regions speaks! In terms of this website I would have to say that I don’t highly disagree with the content because, when read carefully, most of the information within the website has great relevance, is backed up by creditable evidence and reflects the way in which the Australian language works today. Despite saying this, there is a small segment of information in which I would like to question before I go against the grain and comment on the section in which I highly agree with.
The section in which I have to question in paragraph four which says that there is a significant difference between how men speak and how women speak in Australia. The paragraph states the following directly, “It is quite rare to find a woman speaking with a broad Australian accent, and quite rare to find a man speaking with the cultivated accent.”1 I question this statement because is it quite possible to find men and women who speak like this and is evidently becoming more common these days. This can be a result of many elements in a person’s life such as:
- The environment in which they are raised in
- Homosexuality (Generally you find males with more feminine or ‘cultivated’ accents and females with deeper more ‘broader’ accents.
- How a person’s larynx develops during puberty (Sometimes it is possible for a females Larynx to grow quite large forming an ‘Adam’s apple’ in which makes a females voice deeper2
The section is which I agree with is paragraph eight. It explains the difference between American English and Australian English in terms of informality.
‘In America and England, the use of informal English is often interpreted as a sign of rudeness. Consequently, titles and family names are used to maintain a degree of social distance between people. In Australia; however, formality is more typically used by professional that don’t like each other. The difference is most clearly seen in greetings used in business letters. Whereas Americans usually greet with Dear Ms/Mrs/Mr (family name), Australians are more like Dear (first name.) Likewise, boss and workers get on first name basis far more quickly than they do in other English speaking countries3’
This is a very interesting point to make and I can relate as I see this every day with my workplace. It has been said that within a local Council there should be a professional distance/ boundary between the elected members and the council staff to maintain a high level of professionalism. Employees are here to operate the day to day operations of the Council; whereas, the elected members, not our superiors, and are here to serve the community and empower by making decisions that are to ultimately benefit the community. Therefore, as you can see, there is a vast contrast in job roles which is why there should always be that professional distance between the two segmented groups.
I personally believe that elected members or high profile employees should always be addressed by their family name as should always be in a formal manner. Despite my thoughts, I also believe that this is a trend that will keep growing. It will get to the stage where the majority of Australians will be addressed by their first names.
But then again, people would rather be addresses on a first name basis rather than by their family name. So in some situations it becomes very hard to judge how to address someone without knowing their preferences. So, what should we be doing?
1Convict Creations, “The language of poetic deception”, Convict Creations, http://www.convictcreations.com/culture/strine.htm (accessed July 13, 2012)
2David Hiskley, “Some women do have adam’s apples”, today I found it: feed your brain , http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/04/some-women-do-have-adams-apples/ (accessed July 13, 2012).
Convict Creations, “The language of poetic deception”, Convict Creations, http://www.convictcreations.com/culture/strine.htm (accessed July 13, 2012)
Hiskley David, “Some women do have adam’s apples”, today I found it: feed your brain , http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/04/some-women-do-have-adams-apples/ (accessed July 13, 2012).