History, sociology, and linguistics lessons today
Trip Start Dec 18, 2011
23Trip End Sep 15, 2013
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I wonder what this discombobulation of the seasons has done for the brain formulation of native Antipodeans. It feels very strange to look at the sun in the northern sky. When the British decided to ship their convicts to the farthest point on earth, they weren't far wrong, even though they were using primitive 18th century tools to figure things out. Here's how you figure out the antipodal point of any place on earth: Take a globe, choose a spot, and then imagine a new axis going from it through the center of the globe
When I'm at school or at the shops, I look at the faces around me and try to figure out when their ancestors came here, and where they came from. It feels even more a nation of immigrants than the US--perhaps because the longest any foreigner has been here is 230 years, or perhaps because everyone knows their story. I read in the newspaper that one of every two people in Sydney is foreign born. The Hunter Valley is a pretty homogenous place for Australia, though one of my friends (mom of one of Liam's friends) is half-Aboriginal, and another of my friends (mom of one of Andy's friends) moved from India when she married. The rest of the people we've met seem to have English or Irish ancestors.
My friend and I were out walking, and we struck up a conversation with an 80-year-old man tending to his roses. As with some people who've not had experience with people of different backgrounds, he was cordial to me and rude to her
Until we open our mouths, people assume we're native Australians. Then we speak, and all the heads whip around. Some of our Australian friends can do hilarious American accents--it's a hoot. Australian speech is amazing with the diphthongs, however. Those are the words that contain two vowel sounds--the vowels slide from one to another. Australians take a one-vowel sound and make it a diphthong. Hearing someone say "hello," or "now" is just amazing. The "o" sound has ALL the vowels plus an "r" and an "n" sound! A director said in a newspaper article that is the hardest habit for Australian actors to break when they are working on their accents.
As predicted, Liam is the first to slip into Aussie-speak. Little things come out, and he sounds just like his friends. I don't think Andy is going to switch accents because he is too thoughtful about his words, and I think the habit of shortening all nouns and adding a "y" sound is ridiculous, so I doubt I'll ever sound like I belong here
To end this amazingly long post, here are some more words. See if you can figure out what they are meant to be.
Manchester (not the city)
tatts (always in the plural, even when talking about one)