Be part of history with Aus Kid Talk

Did you know the Australian accent is in a constant evolution and that dialect changes begin with children? 

The Australian accent as we know it today began with the children of the First Fleet. It’s heavily influenced by English and Irish accents of the 17th Century, but it’s been on a huge journey since then!

Throughout the 20th Century, Australian accents were described as being either Cultivated (a little like an English accent), General (more relaxed) or Broad (think of Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee!). These days, linguists recognise there is a LOT more diversity of Australian accents than that – including Ethnocultural and Aboriginal Australian English varieties.

Like any accent, the Australian accent doesn’t stand still – it’s constantly changing and being influenced by a range of factors. Migration, pop culture and the ways we communicate are just some of the factors that contribute to its evolution.

That’s why capturing recordings of speakers is so important as it provides a historical record of how the Australian accent is changing.

Researchers from universities across Australia have joined together for two projects focusing on children’s speech, accents and language acquisition, and Viva Voice families are invited to get involved. 

The Bear in a Window project is inviting children to share reflections on life in lockdown during 2020. Their audio recordings will form a database that captures stories from this significant time in history, while also gathering valuable audio samples of children’s accents and speaking patterns at this moment in time.

It is part of a larger project, Aus Kid Talk, which aims to create a large research database of children’s speech that can be used to develop future apps and tools for children.

Both projects are calling for children aged three to 12 to submit audio recordings. A perfect project for Viva Voice students to get involved with these school holidays!

All information about both projects is available via the links above.

You can also read more about Aus Kid Talk in this article from the ABC.