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How to do an Australian accent
As explained by, well, Australians

"You certainly can't tell an Australian by the way they look, but the minute they open their mouths, the guessing is over." So says the program summary for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's 2007 documentary The Sounds of Aus.

The film looks at the history of the Australian accent (debunking claims that it comes from squinting in the sun, inhaling pollen through the nose, or restricting the opening of the mouth to keep out flies) and explores a variety of Australian accent types beyond the typical Outback Steakhouse/Crocodile Dundee version.

In this clip, Australians including actress Rachel Griffiths, comedian Denise Scott, and accent coach Victoria Mielewaka offer helpful tips for getting your Aus on.

They include:

  • Keep your intonation steady. Picture a long flat line of words coming out

  • Don't let your tongue be so hyperactive. Picture it like it's lying over an exercise ball.

  • Flatten that r.

  • Let relax your soft palate downward.

The clip ends with a montage of people speaking the ultimate accent test sentence: "Ask the master to pass the banana."

Arika Okrent is editor-at-large at TheWeek.com and a frequent contributor to Mental Floss. She is the author of In the Land of Invented Languages, a history of the attempt to build a better language. She holds a doctorate in linguistics and a first-level certification in Klingon.

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