Australian vs French Culture with Cara Leopold

In this Interview In Depth lesson, we’re going to study a portion of the episode: AE 441 – Interview: French vs Australian Culture with Cara Leopold.

Read and listen to the full interview here.

How to complete this lesson:

  1. Listen & read
  2. Complete the quizzes

AE 441 – Interview: French vs Australian Culture with Cara Leopold

Difficulty: Beginner

Blue text – Lesson vocab

G’day guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I have a special guest for you today, on today’s interview episode, and you might notice that she has a slightly different accent from me. Cara from leo-listening.com. Thanks for coming on the podcast and chatting to us about getting subtitle-free.

Hiya Pete, yeah, thanks for introducing me, and yes, we do have a slightly… a slightly different accent.

Can you tell me where yours is from? Can you tell me about…

Well, mine is a bit… Mine is a bit of a mess… because I… I as a kid I used to live in Scotland. So, I lived in Scotland until I was 11 or 12, and you know, All my family are Scottish, you know. And then so when I was 11, almost 12, we moved to England. We moved to a city called Nottingham, in England. So, like, my accent started to change really rapidly because I was kind of dropped straight into secondary school, and everyone was like, you know, “You sound so Scottish!, I can’t understand you!”, I didn’t have like a really… You know… I didn’t have like a really broad Glaswegian accent like…

Billy Connolly!

I hadn’t even lived… I was born in Glasgow, but I actually lived somewhere else in Scotland. So… Like, I actually… like me and my brother had different accents to my parents, because my mum is from Glasgow, my dad’s from another place, so like, we all had different accents. So even the people talking about the Scottish accent, it’s so… Like… It’s quite fine tuning in the UK. Like, you kind of go 20 miles and it changes, which sounds crazy!

I always wanted to know how does that… how does that… I guess, continue into modern day life when the world is so connected, and you would think in England, that being such a small island or group islands in the Britain, that you guys would mix around a whole heap! But is it just that everyone is spending their developmental years, as kids, in a very small region, getting their accent kind of cemented, and then when they leave they still hold on to it?

Yeah, it’s a good point, because obviously, like… We’re massively influenced by, like… I mean I’ve always liked watching TV. Like, as a kid I would get up really early on the weekend and, like… Watch programs, and you know… A lot of them are obviously American or even Australian. So you’d think our accents would be influenced as well by like, media. But I don’t know, I think ultimately we’re more influenced by kind of the day to day, like… Context. So when you’re growing up it’s other kids, You don’t want to sound, like… Too different

Yeah, you don’t want to be the outsider, right?

Exactly! Yeah, and I mean obviously that was the case when I moved to England, and I think I quickly adjusted my accent because I didn’t want to, like, stand out… Too much, and I wanted people to understand me but I think they were exaggerating a little bit!

You get sick of repeating yourself, right? When people are like, “What!? What!? what did you say!?”, and you’re just like “ughhhh”, and that pushes you to kind of blend in.

Exactly, yeah. So my… My accent changed quite a bit. Like, some people… Some people still know that I’m… They know that I’m Scottish after speaking to me, even just for, like, a couple of minutes, like, they know. And I mean, I’ve had another Scottish person say to me, you know… Act like I basically know which village you’re from! Because he was from… He was from the same area! He was, like, from the next village. I mean, that sounds insane, but that’s how… Kind of, yeah, specific.  Each… Each accent is. I mean, yeah… That sounds… That sounds crazy, because… In Australia, does it vary very much?

Not the same way. Ours is kind of… There are three… I just did a video on this… There are three sort of accents, or dialects. And it’s the Cultivated which is more your upper-class, received pronunciation, like the British, you know? You would speak with a very… Very clearly. You would pronounce all the words correctly. Or, at least properly, like according to the dictionary, and you would… You would be very well educated. Have… Tend to be from a rich family. Then there’s the general, which is kind of just everywhere. And then the Broad. And the Broad tends to be associated with people of… Either from, like, rural areas, where they’re away from the city, or it kind of blends in with the lower-class a little bit. So especially with guys. Guys who hang out together a lot. Only Aussie guys. Together they tend to develop a bit of a broader… broader accent than uhm… And especially the further away you get from the cities. But that’s why England fascinates me: Because you guys don’t seem to have the same pattern. And we came from England, right? So we originally came from… At least the majority of us, when we colonised Australia, we’re all from small parts, I think, of England. Some of us kept the Cockney accent. I think that’s part of why we ended up with rhyming slang. Yeah. But it’ s always funny! I just… It blows my mind how much difference there is in England, and how you guys still have trouble with each other. Because you would imagine, if you… You know, the average Australian hearing Cultivated, Broad or General will pretty much understand everyone. But then you hear people like, such as yourself, who say kids had trouble understanding you in school. And you’re kind of like, “Don’t you guys watch TV and see Scottish people on TV?”

Yeah… Yeah I don’t… I don’t think it’s 100 percent… I think everyone’s exaggerating a little bit. Like, it doesn’t take that much effort to tune in to someone else’s accent. Especially because, in general, like… It’s only… Like, not everything changes. Not every sound changes, you know? In Scottish… In Scottish-English, like, we pronounce our R’s at the end of the words, which you don’t do in other accents of English. Some of the vowels are different, like… But it’s not massively different. And especially when your accent is quite… isn’t very strong. But yeah it is weird… It is weird, you know… And now, obviously, it’s more acceptable, like on TV and in the media, to hear all the different regional accents and some of them are considered quite cool. So yeah. In theory, we should be a bit better at understanding each other, but…


ST = something

SW = somewhere

SO = someone

100 percent – exact
A mess – a dirty or untidy state of things or of a place
A rural area – an area or region far away from the city
A special guest – an important person who is invited to visit SO’s home or attend a particular event
A whole heap – a lot
Acceptable – able to be agreed on; suitable
Adjust (ST) – alter or move (ST) slightly in order to achieve the desired fit, appearance, or result
An outsider – a foreigner; SO from outside a group of people
Be associated with ST – for two or more things to be closely connected with one another
Blend in (with ST) – look or seem the same as surrounding people or things and therefore not be easily noticeable
Blow SO’s mind – really shock, surprise, or impress SO
Broad Glaswegian accent – A very strong Scottish accent from the city of Glasgow
Cemented – settled or establish ST firmly – here, she means for an idea to be fixed in SO’s mind
Cockney – a native of East London, traditionally one born within hearing of Bow Bells
Colonise ST – settle among and establish control over a new area of land
Developmental years – the early years of a person’s life, i.e. when they’re a child, and are crucial for developing
Exaggerate ST – represent (ST) as being larger, better, or worse than it really is
Fascinate SO – attract the strong attention and interest of SO
Fine tuning – make small adjustments to (ST) in order to achieve the best or a desired performance
Get sick of ST – become tired or annoyed with ST
Hang out (with SO) – spend time socially (with SO)
Hold onto ST – keep ST that you have
I was kind of dropped straight into secondary school – I was kind of put directly into secondary school
In theory – theoretically; used in describing what is supposed to happen or be possible, usually with the implication that it doesn’t in fact happen
Lower-class – relating to the social group that has the lowest status; the working class
Massively influenced – be greatly affected by ST
Notice ST – perceive ST by smelling, seeing, tasting, hearing, etc.
Rapidly – quickly; in a fast way
Rhyming slang – slang terms used by British and Australians that including rhyming words
Right? – used to check if what you said is correct or agreed with
Slight – small in degree; inconsiderable
Sounds crazy! – used to suggest what was said seems impossible or ridiculous
Stand out – be very obviously and noticeable
Subtitle-free – without subtitles; free of subtitles
Tend (to do ST) – usually (do ST)
Tune into ST – get used to and notice or understand ST
Ultimately – in the end
Upper-class – relating to the social group that has the highest status in society, especially the aristocracy