Backing in February 2005, I came to Australia for the first time, I started my preparation course for entering a Master’s degree at the Australian National University, Canberra. I’ve begun my Aussie life from scratch. I decided to live with a host family, although I gave up living there in less than 2 months due to having difficulty getting along with them.
The difficulty included some misunderstanding with respect to that homestay rules and simply language problems. Although I should not whinge about their English, they could’ve tried to neutralise their accents at a minimum level. I tried to neutralise my Japanese accent at that time, but they did not understand properly, nor did they even try to listen intently to what I was trying to say.
So, I thought their strong accent always hampered my comprehension at that time. But the reality, I’m thinking now, is that that was 80% of my fault. I should confess, because, although I tried to keep my Japanese accent to a minimum, I mispronounced some particular sounds, which could have impeded their understanding. Maybe not quite correct, but I reckon I should acknowledge it now. If I can meet them and talk to them now, then I would certainly be able to communicate with them without having significant problems. That’s how I’ve grown up my English skills as of today.
Of course, as you know, there are simply three different Aussie accents: namely, Cockney, Broad and Cultivated accents. I’m not saying which one is better or not, but since I haven’t got any deep knowledge about working class cultural backgrounds, I should like to aim to be proficient in Cultivated accent. This accent has become an Aussie standardised English accent amongst people mainly in metropolitan Australian cities. And, definitely it’s easy to understand. As an ESL, I should not use slangs too much on a daily basis, instead I want to get used to more formal and legit phrasal verbs and expressions.
In the end, misunderstanding is not necessarily caused by someone’s accent, but by mispronunciation or unwillingness to listen intently or proactively to someone’s talks. If you think I am one of them, then please give the refinement of your pronunciation a go!
Thanks for reading today!
Very good morning, and have a good one.