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False Advertising

Cross-posted to Lost In Transit

So here's the biggest filthy lie everyone will tell you as a wide-eyed young Aussie backpacker about to jet off – that your novelty accent shall be a one-way ticket into the hearts and minds and underpants of every foreigner you'll meet.

It just hasn't turned out to be the case, simply because there's just too many bloody Australians in Edinburgh to ever be considered a novelty. Everyone knows that London is brimming o'er, but I never expected so much of Down Under to be Up North.

On any given bus trip, you're guaranteed to hear at least one other Aussie, usually chirping away on their mobile phones about their forthcoming trip to Turkey, mate. I've also encountered a hairdresser, two recruitment consultants, one boss, assorted shop assistants and drunken dozens in the queues for Fringe Festival shows. And just when I'd got used my Scots gym instructor yelling at us to "squat doun!" or to "poosh! poosh!" those barbells, she was replaced by a Melbournian with a rippling torso.

So for the most part, people over here don't even notice that you talk funny, let alone whip off their dacks because of it. The only time my accent has been seen as different, it has led to confusion and tears. I'm working at Geriatric Rescue again, where elderly people call if they've fallen and can't get up. Between their thick and wobbly tones and my horrible drawl, it's been a struggle. I try enunciating clearly, ironing out the harshness of my vowels. But it's not working too well. One creaky old man shouted in frustration, "I just cannae understand ya, hen! It's like you're speaking a foreign language!"

And then last week, there was a little old lady with strangely suspicious and accusing tones.

"Where are you from?" she asked, after I'd most kindly called her a doctor.

"I'm from Australia."

"Aye, aye," You could almost hear her eyes narrowing. "I thought as much."

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


10 thoughts on “False Advertising

  1. how weeeeird. i’ve been reading your journal backwards. i never realised you lived in bathurst then canberra. i lived in canberra and now…bathurst. small world…kinda.

  2. Aren’t most of the Australians in Edinburgh working in youth hostels there? They were when I was there.

    Though surely your red hair would make up for your accent’s lack of kilt-lifting potential.

  3. So start speaking in a fake accent. And keep shifting it. It’ll drive men wild just trying to guess where you’re from. Is that India? China? Peru? Russia?

  4. I’ve found that UK people suffer from the inability to separate a South African accent from an Aussie. I frequently get asked what part of Australia do I come from and I have a mild SA accent, compared to some out there (i.e. them what get subtitled even though they’re speaking English.).

    However, get me in a room with expats from anywhere in the southern hemisphere and my accent thickens in self-defence. :g:

    The Irish on the other hand, bless them, spent a lot of time calling me the bloody English. When they weren’t calling me ‘Sheila’, that is.

  5. Honey, come to Scandinavia and you’ll be adored and stalked right out of your pants.

    We’re crazy about them ozzies here. 🙂

  6. Aww, c’mon Shauna, you’re doing ok! You should try being a Scotsman in Edinburgh…that’s anonymity for you!!

  7. Damned UK habitat. Shauny, come to the States. Hell, come to my town. Before you can say Ewan McGregor, I’ll guarantee you’ll be steeped in sin with an endless procession of attractive gentlemen. We just love those wonderful Aussie accents. And contrary to reports, we’ll get horizontal with the French as well. Hell, why not a French-Australian-American three way? Long live international relations.

    San Francisco. We’ll get into anyone’s knickers anytime. I guarantee it. We’re all polymorphously perverse here. Which is more than you san say for those schmucks in Peoria or that dumbfuck in the White House (who, strangely enough, seems to be leaning towards Australian wines over French).

  8. Yeah and having a scottish/irish accent really worked ion australia too.

    Actually it did, hurrah, point to me !

    pol x

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