For years, the Australian media has tended to follow any new developments in American media. For example, way back in the 1960s, when some radio advertisers in the USA began to shout their messages, Australia followed. Until recently, a particular presenter on Australian tv shouted his wares as if he had to rush off to void something.
Then, more recently, tv news readers on the national broadcaster and on the multicultural channel (part subsidised) began to interview reporters during the news broadcast. Unlike the olden days, when the speech sounds were (sort-of) British, the accents heard in recent decades were those of educated readers speaking Australian English.
Now, there has developed a new trend. Increasingly, some presenters and reporters are attempting to speak American English. I set out below a letter I wrote for publication in my local newspaper; it did not see the light of day.
“Speaking American English on ABC tv and SBS tv
It is fascinating to hear some Aussie newsreaders and reporters on ABC tv and SBS tv attempting to speak American English. They do this by accenting the first syllable; for example, Sah-hara (the desert), dough-nation, dee-fence. Increasingly, we also hear nairies and tawries, like ordi-nairy and terri-tawry.
Are we preparing for the privatisation of these two institutions? Or for that desirable shift from satrapy to new American state? Heh! Heh!”
In view of the probable isolation of Australia on the edge of Asia, when mother hen progressively gathers the chicks wandering about on their own up north, as well as for a desirable shift in Australia away from policies based on welfare to individual enterprise and effort, and for us not having to pay for our military equipment, I have recommended in my book ‘Musings at death’s door: an ancient bicultural Asian-Australian ponders about Australian society’ that Australia should seek to become the next state of the USA.
Although my adopted nation (of which I have reason to be proud) is clearly a satrapy of the US hegemonic empire, rushing off to back the USA in any conflagration commenced by it, our media and politicos pretend that we a middle power. That we may be as well, but we cannot be an Asian nation.
I find it fascinating to hear how some readers and reporters try to emphasise that first syllable in what apparently is the way Americans speak. However, some words, like ‘missils’ (for missiles), pose no difficulty.
How do our school children cope with this dual approach to speech, with their teachers speaking Aussie English and tv offering American English?