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I have a different sort of question here . . .

One of my character is from Australia. I frequently put in the term, mate when he's talking to a friend, along with him speaking with more relaxed than most of his friends. But then again, i know some/a lot of people like to write how they pronounce their words. for example, instead of, "He's over there," someone might put, "He's oveh theh". I know this is a weak illustration, which is part of the reason i need help: i don't know how to write that way 😞

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions on this?


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Just remember, they think they pronounce words the way they should be, just like New Englanders and Texans and Mississippians do.


Check through some older threads. There is advice there on writing dialects. If I remember, the bulk of it is to just write the words they way they are spelled. Maybe in the beginning, do a little dropping of "g's" (with an apostrophe) and maybe some "oveh theh," but let it slide away, because it slows down the reader. Maybe mention that they are from Australia and speak with somewhat of (but not exactly) a British accent. Unless it's important to the story, don't emphasize it.

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yeah I'd be careful not to do phonetic spelling to try and create an accent. If you point out that he is from Australia, then use Aussie slang sparingly in place of normal phrases then it would more likely that your readers can imagine him speaking like an Aussie as most people know Australia actors and how they sound. Much like British accent if you try to force it, then it will more likely sound like someone trying to sound like an Australian rather than being an Australian.


For example if one of your characters was worried about achieving something,

Pacing they say, "Look, I don't think I can do this."


a normal response might be

"Don't worry about it, you'll do fine." where an Aussie might say "No worries, mate, she'll be right."


Another character might say, "You idiot! Do you have any idea what you are doing?"

Where an Aussie would say, "Oi you drongo! Have you got rocks in your head?"


Our slang can be a little confusing and generic because we might use the same phrase for multiple situations which is usually explained by the context of the conversation. 

Edited by Amosathar
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  • 3 weeks later...

I agree with @Amonthasar. It's not so much attempting phonetic spelling rather than colloquialisms that will sell the character as being Australian. 


the easiest colloquialisms involve shortening words and ending them differently. One eg is "-ie". Eg a BBQ (the grill/cooking on grill) becomes a barbie. Football becomes footie. 


Oh but be careful with your choice of slang. It's changed over the generations & there's differences in how ppl talk for city  vs country folks & educational backgrounds - working class vs upper middle classes. 


if you want to describe the way Aussies talk, the rising tone inflection has a strong grip with many. This is the voice going up at the end of a sentence. It creates a sense of asking a question, - but also is linked to looking for approval/ confirmation listener is listening.  It's just a vocal habit that's spread through younger generations - like vocal fry has in the US. 


The Macquarie dictionary is an Australian online dictionary that includes slang. 



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Adding to this: 

It's the everyday words that are important. The vocabulary is different because of the British history connection. These everyday words are used by all classes / ages of ppl and have less potential snares to them such as belonging to older generations or educational backgrounds. 


Eg include

Bonnet/hood, boot/trunk, bumper bar/fender, windscreen/windshield, trolley/shopping cart, car park/parking lot, garage sale/ yard sale, roundabout/traffic circle, primary school/elementary school, chips/french fries, soft drink/soda, biscuits/cookies, burger/sandwich



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