Ya gotta love cultcha!

Tags: ,

Clay Adams | June 12th, 2014

I was officially told this week that I have a problem with my ars.

Now that comes as no surprise as I hear my ars mentioned a lot, especially at home and usually in conjunction with words such as dumb, tight, smart, etc. But when I received formal confirmation from a fellow professional, I realized it was time to concentrate on what I was doing with my ars and deal with it.

You see, the scope of my problem became apparent during the recording of the first episode of VCH News Radio, our organization’s new podcast.

As I was recording, our producer kept highlighting that I was putting too much emphasis on my ars. My initial reaction was to sit up straighter, eat less and exercise more.

But I was wrong. He was talking about my pronunciation of the letter “r”. It seems that I have a habit of dragging my ars (or “r”s I suppose) and that makes me sound, well, odd.  If only it was that easy to explain.

Now for those of you who don’t pay attention to things like accents – or, frankly, have more important things to do like wash the cat – we Australians have a habit of dropping our ars when we speak.

For example, take my home town of Melbourne. North Americans pronounce it as “Mel Born”. We Aussies call it “Melbun”. What we call a car here, is a “cah” down under. Even my beloved Socceroos are “sock her roooos” here and “sock a roos” to Aussies.

We pronounce Hyundai as “High Un Die”, not “Hun Day”; Nissan is as it is spelt, not “Nee San”; while Chrysler is, well, rubbish.

Thongs are for feet

In Australia, thongs are things you wear on your feet and not something from a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. We eat biscuits as cookies are for computers; and we support our sporting heroes, not root for them as doing so would be naughty.

Hockey is a game played on grass while football (or footy) is Aussie Rules, Rugby or Soccer depending on where you live and what you like. We love our Vegemite instead of peanut butter, which, BTW, would be eaten with jam, not jelly (the latter being what North Americans call Jello).

And as for things like beer, well what can I say? Beer (or “beah” or just grog as Aussies would say) is just beer. Who cares where it comes from our how to say it? Just open a darn bottle, throw some snags (sausages), chook (chicken) and slabs of meat (steak) on the Barbie (BBQ) and have a good old yak (conversation) with your mates (friends) one arvo (afternoon).

So if you are wondering what the point of all this is, don’t worry. So am I. I think the issue of my pronunciation challenges hit home how important it is to be sensitive to the culture and traditions of others.

Trying to fit in

My effort to “Americanize” my speech is a result of trying to fit into the place I now call home. I am conscious of Aussies having that nasally tone that some find quaint but others find difficult to understand. As a communicator, I need people to understand what I’m saying – even if it still makes no sense.

Our brand new VCH News Radio podcasts are not, thankfully, dependant on me as the sole voice. My learned colleague Laurie Dawkins is my co-anchor and ad-hoc translator, while CEO Mary Ackenhusen shares her voice of experience, reason and leadership in a manner we can all understand – and that has nothing to do with how she speaks, but is all about what she says.

The podcast is something different for VCH and public health care generally. We hope you will find it interesting and a communications medium that works within our rapidly-growing digital age. Please take a listen and let me know what you think.

In the meantime, I have to go work on improving my ars. Funny, my missus tells me that all the time.

About the Author

Clay Adams
email iconClay.Adams@vch.ca  

Clay Adams is vice president of Communications and Public Affairs and has extensive experience in strategic communications and planning, media relations, issues management and stakeholder communications in Australia and Canada. Clay writes on communication related topics with a wry humorous style and has an interest in discussion about how we want to be understood by others. View all the posts by Clay.

A Beginners Guide to Disqus

Disqus is a great platform for adding comments to blogs and articles. For the most part it's straightforward and easy to use, but at first the amount of options can be daunting and intimidating. Luckily for us, once past the initial process, commenting is really made easy.

This guide is to help users understand the user interface of Disqus in order to use it in the most effective way for their needs.

Note: You can write the comment at any time during the process, before, after, or during.

  • 1. Your first click:


  • 2. Choose your account, or dont:


  • 2. a) Facebook example:


  • 2. b) Guest example:



  • 3. Submit your post:



  • 4. You're done, that's it!

    All comments are moderated, so if your comment doesn't appear right away it's because it is awaiting moderation from administrators.

5 comments on “Ya gotta love cultcha!

  • Maria Denholme says:

    You just keep your ars they way they is.. or are… I just got back from
    a month in Newfoundland and am working on reclaiming my Vancouver
    accent (which, on occasion while traveling, has been erroneously
    identified as Bostonian?!?). I am a terrible unconscious mimic.
    Canadians have such a mixture of accents and are so mobile that we don’t
    appreciate the wealth of information available to people from countries
    with distinct accents. I was once in a little village in Donegal when
    someone came up to a woman in our party and, based on her accent,
    identified where she was from and discovered that they had cousins in
    common.

    We need to be sensitive to everyone’s culture and
    heritage languages, including those of the former colonies! I you can
    make yourself understood “good onya” 🙂

  • Diana Pham says:

    Great article filled with personality and humour Clay!

    Here’s a link to the podcast if anyone is looking for it: http://vchblogs.ca/lets-straight-talk/

  • Croc Dundee says:

    Strewth! That Sheila doesn’t like your ars?
    Fair dinkum you can yabber!

  • Liz Denton says:

    I love your article! I am not an Aussie but I am married to one & spent a few years living in Sydney back in the 80’s. I had picked up all the lingo by the time we returned to Canada. I remember that Hyundais first arrived in Australia while I was living there & I could not figure out what a “Hun Day” was when we arrived back here the first time I heard it! We also used to call flipflops “thongs” in Canada (at least we did in Toronto) many moons ago when I was growing up & before anyone had even heard of Victoria’s Secret.

  • Moya says:

    Vegemite – that explains everything.
    Marmite rules!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated.

Email addresses will not be made public.

You may comment anonymously, but a valid VCH email address is required to verify that you are an employee.

Only comments attributed to a valid VCH.ca or providencehealth.bc.ca email address will be published.

Quality Safety & Patient Care.

This is the place for discussion, debate and collaboration on issues and ideas that advance engagement with VCH’s strategic True North goals and objectives. It is not just for executives, but the tone of this stream is tailored to those serving in a leadership role or those who have interest in the “why” behind organizational priorities.

Recognizing Excellence & Success

This is the place for discussion, debate and collaboration on issues and ideas that advance engagement with VCH’s strategic True North goals and objectives. It is not just for executives, but the tone of this stream is tailored to those serving in a leadership role or those who have interest in the “why” behind organizational priorities.

Photos & Fun

This is the place for discussion, debate and collaboration on issues and ideas that advance engagement with VCH’s strategic True North goals and objectives. It is not just for executives, but the tone of this stream is tailored to those serving in a leadership role or those who have interest in the “why” behind organizational priorities.