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Department of Linguistics

Why is there so little regional variation in the Australian English accent?

The Australian English accent is quite similar throughout the country. There are four main reasons for this. Firstly, the Australian accent is quite young. It has only been spoken for over 200 years and this is a short time for language development. Secondly, the accent developed very rapidly in the early period of the colony and quickly became well established as the dialect of the white native born. Thirdly, there was a large amount of internal migration in the early history of colonial settlement and so the accent was transported around the country when settlements were still being established. Finally, Australians have a stronger sense of national identity than they do of local or state-based identity so it is not necessary for accent differentiation between states to exist as a way of separating groups of speakers.