AE 461: How to Pronounce the Australian ‘O’

Learn Australian English in this pronunciation episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you to pronounce the Australian ‘O’ vowel sound like a native English speaker.

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AE 461: How to Pronounce the Australian ‘O’

Alright, so we’re almost at the end of the field here where there’re trees

and I just don’t want to make too much noise, ’cause I know that I’ll probably scare them.

What’s going on, guys? I thought we could do a vlog today, ’cause I’ve had quite a few questions regarding the Australian ‘O’ sound.

So, let’s go and do a ‘vlog’. Let’s just go.

Alright, so I am going to find a nice shaded spot to sit down in and do this lesson.

This looks perfect. Look at that! That was made to be sat on! That was definitely made to be sat on. So, I’ll set up and let’s do this. Boom!

So, how’s this, guys! A bit of Australian pronunciation in the bush, or at least as close as I can get currently in the Australian bush.

So, you’re probably going to hear things like crows singing in the background, and maybe currawongs, you’ll hear birds, all sorts of stuff.

But, this is the office for the day and I wanted to tell you how to do the ‘O’ sound in Australian English.

Okay. The ‘O’ sound. So, the Australian ‘O’. There are two things happening here. This is a diphthong so there are two vowel sounds. You’re going to hear “O-o”, “O-o”. Okay? It’s going to go “O-o”. It sort of rounds. Okay? It goes “O-o”.

How do we make these two different sounds? First, obviously, we have the mouth a little bit more opened and the lips are rounded. Okay? Like, “O”, “O”.

And then the jaw comes up a bit and the tongue gets closer to the top of the mouth. So, it sounds like “o”. Okay? And the lips have rounded ever so slightly.

So, I always try and explain this to my students by saying there’s a bit ‘O’ at the start with your lips, ‘O’, and then it goes to a small ‘o’ by lifting the jaw, ‘O-o’ x 3.

Okay? Say that with me.

‘O-o’ x 4.

Good, good, good.

Now I’ll try a sentence for you guys, or a few sentences, that you can repeat after me in order to perfect your pronunciation. Okay?

So, let me just think here for a sec, ’cause I’m doing this on the fly, I’m doing this on the spot.

You never know when to go.
You never know when to go.

I throw toes at Beau’s nose.
I throw toes at Beau’s nose.

So, I don’t know if Beau won’t go.
So, I don’t know if Beau won’t go.

Dingoes and crows go after snowmen.
Dingoes and crows go after snowmen.

Good job, guys. So, I hope that helps. I hope it gives you a bit of an idea. Just keep listening, repeating, listening, repeating. Really try and nail this vowel sound in Australian English as it will really, really help you sound a lot more like an Australian.

And it tends to be one of the first things I notice when I hear foreigners speaking English if they get it right. It really sticks out and I’m suddenly like, oh, okay, this person’s working on their Australian accent. That’s pretty good.

So, I would love to ‘know’ what you guys think. So, ‘go’ down to the comments and let me ‘know’. Let me ‘know’.

Alright, I will see you in the next one, guys. Peace!

So, I just decided to lift up this rock here to see what we would find.

What do you guys think this little dude is? Or should I say this little lady?

This is one of Australia’s most dangerous spiders that is called the redback spider for obvious reasons.

So, we might leave her here, but yeah, this is one nasty little spider that if you see it, probably just leave it alone and definitely do not pick it up.

So, usually, there’s a whole heap of kangaroos in this field here, especially at sunset.

So, the sun is… can I get my hand in front of it? Right here-ish, and it’ll probably set in about an hour maybe a bit more.

But there is… there’s water down here, there’re trees down here, so they sit there and rest all day, and then at night or in the evening when the sun sets, they come out in this field here and eat this kind of grass.

So, that’s why I thought I would come down here, but they don’t seem to be out just yet. But, I wonder if they are lying under the trees chilling out, scratching their balls, and waiting for the sun to go down. So, let’s see if we can get a little closer and have a look.

Alright, so we’re almost at the end of the field here where there are trees and I just don’t want to make too much noise, ’cause I know that I’ll probably scare them, assuming they’re here that is.

So, you’ll be able to see here behind me, I don’t know what this is for exactly, but the wire’s pointing in, which means we shouldn’t go in, and I’m not going to go in, but obviously, it’s not trying to keep the kangaroos in, it’s trying to keep people out.

But there… I’ve seen 100s of kangaroos in here before. I’ll show you what I’m looking at.

So, if we get close, hopefully I’ll have enough time to switch lenses so that I can get a closer look for you guys as I’ve brought Kel’s camera with me, which has a much bigger lens on it.

So, a bit of a biology lesson for you guys. Kangaroos tend to stay out of the heat in the middle of the day when the sun’s out, because unlike humans they can’t sweat.

A lot of mammals, you might be surprised to know, can’t sweat in order to lose heat like humans. They have to… they have to pant to cool themselves down.

And so, one way for kangaroos to avoid overheating is obviously avoiding the daylight and instead being active in the evenings when it’s still warm but it’s not really, really, really hot. They’re not going to have direct sunlight. And a really cool thing that they do when they want to cool themselves down, if it’s a hot day, even if they’re in the shade, is that they… they lick their arms. So, they have veins on their forearms really close to the skin and they wet the skin in order to allow heat transfer to occur more rapidly. So, they cool down. So, they actually have this cool adaptation of putting saliva on their arms, wetting the fur, and then when that evaporates it cools them down.

Anyway, I don’t know where they are. They mustn’t be at this end… They mustn’t be at this end. I’ll have to keep exploring and we’ll see if we can find something interesting.

Well, it looks like they don’t want someone in here. They’ve obviously gotten some kind of machine and dug this huge ditch here across this road, right across this road, so that people can’t drive in. However, it seems that they have gotten around that by simply going around the trees here. So, there you go.

So, we know we are in the right place, because these are kangaroo paw tracks on an ant hill here. You can see these holes in the ant hill. And there is also kangaroo faeces.

So, mister kangaroo has been kind enough to crap on mister ant’s ant hill. So, at least we know they’re around here somewhere.

Alright, so I found the kangaroos. They are about… they’re about 1 kilometre this way, unfortunately. However, I did also see… I can see one from here, actually, way over here. So, I might go check that out. But yeah, bugger! (I’ll) see if I can get a shot of these for you guys. Right above my finger there way, way off in the distance.

The funny thing is too, there’s so many animals out here, right? I can see ducks, I can see coots, all of these water birds, swans, and then we’ve also got a bird of prey sitting up here watching over the creek where I am. Or the creek, the dam, whatever this is. There’s a bird of prey. I think it’s some kind of kite. Let’s see if I can get a shot of it.

So, I’ve already seen some kangaroos, guys. They’re right here in front of me. I need to probably whisper because they can see me, they’re all looking at me now actually. They’re about 100m in front of me. I’m going to try and get some good shots of them whilst they’re eating. So, let’s see how we go.

Alright, guys. So, this is about as close as you can get to kangaroos in Australia without frightening them off. Well, they just ran off a little bit, but there’s still a really, really big dude here that I’m not going to mess with, hopping around somewhere. And you can see too how quickly they disappear. There is actually probably about 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 kangaroos in front of me here, but as they bend down into the long grass you can’t see them at all. You just see these little curves. So, pretty cool. Pretty cool. Anyway, I’m going to let them eat and I’m going to head home. Night, guys!

God damn it!

I tell you what, guys, I think this comes under the heading of “No shit Sherlock!”. “Road closed”. What road?

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