Feature

Australia: I refuse to speak American

Australians have been adopting the lingo of Americans—and with it, their “toxic culture,” said Andrew Herrick in The Age.

Andrew Herrick The Age

Australians have been adopting the lingo of Americans—and with it, their “toxic culture,” said Andrew Herrick. “Besotted by Americanese,” we have adulterated our native tongue so much it will soon be a dim “cultural memory.” The transition began slowly, as we adopted American terms that are only slightly different from our own: The Aussie sandpit became the American sandbox, our peak hour became their rush hour. The more we spoke American, the more American we became. Time was, we didn’t need terms like “homey, mugging, drive-by shooting, gated community, and panhandling—because they were foreign concepts.” Now they’re not only part of the Australian lexicon but of our way of life.

Words are changing our national character. We used to be known for “our admiration for a good loser” and our contempt for gloating. “Our tennis champions didn’t pump their fists in the air.” Now, Aussie youths sneer that someone is a loser, the ultimate insult in U.S. culture, “where only winners are valued.” Don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate America. In fact, I love its “verve and creativity.” But I value even more “the traditional Australian characteristics of affability, openness, and a fair go. And so I choose not to speak American.”

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