As a western person living in Ukraine, I teach English here. Many people have asked me to share my experiences with them, so I’m happy to talk about some very interesting things in my life.
- While living in Ukraine, I realized that many people are curious about the broad Australian accent.
The broad Australian accent is associated with Australian masculinity. Notable speakers include Paul Hogan and Bill Hunter. Though the accent is only spoken by a small number of Australians, it has a lot of cultural credibility. This is shown by the fact that it is commonly used by newsreaders.
Very few ladies use broad Australian accents, possibly because the accent is associated with Australian masculinity.
- Teaching English in Ukraine means I usually speak cultivated Australian Accent.
10% per cent of Australians speak with a cultivated accent that sounds like Prince Charles. It is often spoken by ladies who would like to portray an elegant image. In the past, the cultivated accent had the kind of cultural credibility which the broad accent has today. For instance, until the 1970s newsreaders had to use the cultivated accent. As there was a shortage of Australian men who could speak in this accent, male newsreaders were imported from the UK. (At the time, ladies were not allowed to be newsreaders on TV.)
- Common myths about the Australian accent (frequently asked questions):
The first myth – There’s some regional variance in pronunciation.
Some people believe that everyone in Queensland uses the broad Australian accent. The stereotype is not true. People in Queensland have the same variance in accent according to ideology and gender that is seen around the country. Some individuals believe that people in South Australia talk like New Zealanders. But that is not true. South Australians also have the same variance in accent according to ideology and gender which is seen around the country. Although the myths of regional variance are common, it is quite unlikely that the geographical origin of a player on the cricket team could be discerned from their accent alone. Similarly, it is also unlikely that the geographic origin of a politician could be discerned from their accent alone.
The second myth – There’s certain ethnic variance in pronunciation. This might be true if you observe people from different backgrounds when you live in Ukraine. But it’s not true in my country.
Most immigrants who speak English as their 2nd language have an ethnic accent. The immigrants’ children, who speak English as their 1st language, oftentimes use a broad, general or cultivated accent. Sometimes immigrants’ kids will put on their parents’ accent as a joke. For instance, Mary Coustas created the character of Effie who literally used an ethnic accent. However, it wasn’t Mary’s real accent at all.
The third myth is – Poor Australians speak with a broad accent or low-class / cockney accent – this is something that many people are wondering whether it is true or not, according to my experience when I’m living in Ukraine as an English teacher.
Much like Effie, the characters of Kath & Kim involved the creation of fictional stereotypes of low-class people who can be subsequently laughed at. Contrary to the fictional portrayals, there is no real relationship between socio-economic status & the way of speaking. It is, nevertheless, more likely that ladies from rich families will speak with a cultivated accent as it is more likely that their parents will send them to a posh private school to cultivate a manner of speaking associated with sophistication. The refined image will be beneficial for the ladies, for there is ridicule associated with Australian girls who lack elegance when they are speaking.
As a result, I usually prefer a cultivated accent as a teacher teaching English in Ukraine. (Most of my students want to learn a refined accent).
“Many foreigners prefer teaching English in Ukraine if they decide to live in Ukraine for a several years. I think it’s a great lifestyle.”