How Many Times Will I Have to Listen to Americans Destroying The Australian Accent?

When will they stop with the "Throw a shrimp on the barbie"?
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Quentin Tarantino couldn't help himself in Django Unchained. Horrible 

Why do Americans love Australian accents so much?

It’s a question that’s been plaguing me since the inevitable rise of “oh nawrrr, Cleo” on TikTok. If you’re not across viral videos or memes, it’s a famous line from the Australian kids show H20: Just Add Water, a program about three teenage girls who turn into mermaids when doused with uhhhhh… water. It was a staple in after-school TV for Australian youth who grew up in the 2000s, and has made a splash (pun intended) across the internet.


While ‘oh nawr’ had its heyday in 2019, the imitations continue. Some are funny and some are even good, like the one where one American TikToker asks Australians how they say “Mojo Jojo” from The Powerpuff Girls, ('“Is it Mawr jawr jawr jawr?”). Some Australians are in on the joke, too. But why are Americans so obsessed? 

Some news for Americans: No one tries to copy the American accent unless they’re making a joke about something stupid: perhaps the economy collapsing, the election of another insane person to lead the country, a continued commitment to not doing all that much about everything wrong with the nation.

But the weird and sometimes annoying phenomenon of American obsession with the Australian drawl seems to happen every decade or so, mostly in the context of a meme. Regardless of technology, physical or otherwise, lines like “G’day, mate”, “Throw another shrimp on the barbie”, ‘“How the bloody hell are ya”, or “Crikey” are heard more online and in another hemisphere than they ever are down here. 

These are the words that come out of American mouths when they try to imitate an Australian.

But the Australian accent has begun to split into a few different dialects, mostly between metropolitan hubs and the country. 

There’s one TikTok that highlights this nicely. “No wakkas mate,” says an Australian girl in a demonstration of the accent to her American friend. They burst into laughter.


“Why would you do this?” an Australian begs in a video reply. 

“They already think we talk funny. PSA to the whole planet, we don’t speak like this, we’re not all degenerates.”

But back to the question: Why are Americans so obsessed?

To answer this, I started in the only place you can start when asking a stupid but simultaneously culturally important question: Reddit.

One American said, “I like it! It sounds very friendly and relaxed. It's also not that common to hear Australian accents here, so maybe the rarity is part of the appeal”.

A second gave great insight: “Because it sounds so cool.” Hm, helpful.

A third was slightly more insightful but equally as obvious. “Because two words: Steve Irwin.”  Yeah, I’d agree with that. “Don’t forget Crocodile Dundee,” someone replied. Of course not.

The fourth and most to-the-point: “Yes, it is very sexy.”


Next I went to Quora, where a guy who claimed to be a linguistics professor suggested that Americans like the Aussie accent because of its rarity and the general perception of Australians as being interesting, friendly, “exotic”, and generally harmless.

What can be deduced from this surface-level research is that 1) The Australian accent sounds friendly, relaxed and casual compared to the American (gun laws probably help), 2) Our accent is meme-able and memorable and 3) Australians are sexy (full-stop) .


When I was travelling once I met an American backpacker who told me “If you went to America, they’d be all over you, just for your accent.” Oh god, no, please.

And yet, is it possible that Americans just find Australians undeniably attractive and, as a result, are incredibly jealous? And why wouldn’t they be? One of our cities is regularly number one as most liveable in the world. We have great healthcare in comparison. Our minimum wage doesn’t rely on tips. 

While there’s still a lot of bad things in the works, and a lot to improve on, of course we’re relaxed. Of course our accent reflects that.

In the end, the horrible attempts of Americans copying the Australian accent aren’t the end of the world. It’s cute, it’s tacky, it’s annoying, it’s obsessive. I like to think they look up to us, like an annoying younger sibling copying the exploits of an older one. Like that old saying goes: Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

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