5 Australian TV Shows to Train Your Aussie Accent

If I asked you what are your favourite Australian TV shows, would you know what to answer?

When we meet a fellow English learner, we always ask the same question: What variety of English are you learning, British or American? And indeed, the vast majority of English textbooks, such as Oxford’s English File, come in both versions. So, what about Australia? The fact that this beautiful country is way down under does not mean that their particular (lovely, if you ask me) way of speaking should be disregarded, don’t you think?

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If you’re planning to travel or relocate to Australia in the near future, make sure you watch the five Australian TV shows I’m going to tell you about in a minute, so you can start working on your Aussie accent from now on!

Features of Australian English to listen out for:

Australian English pronunciation is typically described as being ‘broad’, with vowels drawn out and a tendency to merge a few of them together. For example, the word ‘about’ is pronounced as ‘aboat’. Here are some more words to watch out for:

  1. ‘th’ sounds are often replaced with ‘d’ : ‘this’ ➜ dis; ‘that’ ➜ dat; ‘the’ ➜ duh
  2. The letter ‘r’ is often dropped at the end of words: ‘car’ ➜ ca
  3. Just as in British English, the ‘r’ sound is not pronounced at the end of words or before consonants: ‘flower’ ➜ flowah; ‘dark’ ➜ dahk
  4. The letter ‘g’ is often pronounced as a ‘j’: ‘girl’ ➜ jirl
  5. Australians also like to shorten vowel sounds: ‘get’ ➜ git

As regards vocabulary, a common feature of Australian English is the use of the word ‘mate’, which you can use it as a term of endearment, or to address someone informally!

Oh, and if someone invites you to a ‘barbie’ (“G’day, mate! The weather’s perfect for a barbie today!”), don’t worry, it has nothing to do with dolls. That’s just Australian short for barbecue.

Now that you know what to listen out for, let’s move on to the shows!

Please Like Me (Netflix)

What is it about?

Please Like Me is a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama TV show created by and starring Josh Thomas. It chronicles Josh’s life from the age of 22, when he comes out of the closet to his family and friends, to 23.

What can you learn from it?

In addition to giving you a good insight into what life as a young adult in Australia is like, Please Like Me is a great show for anyone interested in learning about LGBT culture. Moreover, most of the characters speak rapidly and use a lot of slang, which makes it an ideal show for advanced learners looking to improve their listening skills.

Kath & Kim (Netflix)

What is it about?

Kath & Kim is a satirical comedy TV show that follows the lives of suburban mother Kath Day-Knight and her daughter Kim Craig. The show pokes fun at Australian stereotypes, such as our love of shopping and going to the beach, as well as the way we speak.

What can you learn from it?

If you want to learn about Australian culture, then Kath & Kim is the show for you. In addition to giving you a good laugh, it will also expose you to common Australian expressions such as “One for the road”, which means ‘a last drink before going home’, or ‘Crikey, blimey’, a phrase used to express amazement or surprise.

Summer Heights High (Prime Video)

What is it about?

Summer Heights High is one of the best comedy Australian TV shows. It is set in an Australian high school and it follows the lives of three characters: Jonah Takalua, a rebellious teenager; Ja’mie King, a spoilt private schoolgirl; and Mr G., an eccentric drama teacher.

What can you learn from it?

Summer Heights High is a great show for anyone interested in learning about Australian high school culture. In addition, the fast-paced dialogue and use of slang make it a great option for learners who want to learn idioms and informal uses of the language. For example, this show taught me the expression ‘blokes and sheilas’, which means ‘men and women’. Later, I learned that when Julia Gillard was elected as Australia’s first female prime minister, it didn’t take long for people to start calling Gillard’s husband “the first bloke”, which I find hilarious.

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Everything’s Gonna Be Okay (Hulu)

What is it about?

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay is a comedy Australian TV show created by Josh Thomas, from Please Like Me, who shows impressive range by playing a shy man that is the opposite of his iconic character from his previous show. Nicholas and his two half-sisters must deal with not only the death of their father but also the knowledge that it is up to Nicholas to step up and take responsibility for his sisters.

What can you learn from it?

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay is a great show for anyone interested in learning about family life in Australia. In addition, it deals with some sensitive topics such as death and grief, which makes it a great option for learners who want to improve their vocabulary around feelings and emotions.

Moreover, one of the show’s best characters, Matilda, often uses colloquial expressions that are typical among Gen Z youngsters who, by the way, would never use the word “youngsters”.

The Block (Prime Video)

What is it about?

The Block is a reality TV show in which couples compete to renovate and sell houses. One of the popular reality Australian TV shows out there, The Block is popular for its high drama and emotional rollercoasters.

What can you learn from it?

If you’re interested in property or construction, then The Block is the show for you. Not only will you enjoy watching people renovate their houses to spectacular effect, but you will also learn lots of vocabulary about construction, buildings, and house parts, which may come in very handy for those who work in real estate, house decoration, or construction.

In addition, the fast-paced nature of the show makes it a great option for learners who want to sharpen their listening skills.

Whether you’re interested in culture, comedy, or reality television,  Australian TV shows have something for everyone. So why not sit back, relax and learn a thing or two about the Aussie way of life while you enjoy a nice ‘barbie’?

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Would you like to go beyond Australian TV shows, improve your Australian English accent and sound just like a native from Sydney? Take a personalised, one-to-one course with one of our Australian tutors and boost your pronunciation in no time. Send us a message now and get a free trial online lesson.