When we compare a typical Australian accent and a Canadian accent, probably the main differences are in the vowels. And it seems the Australian vowels are more similar to each other than the Canadian ones.

I have always found it interesting how babies are born with the facility to make and recognize a specific range of sounds,. Some of these sounds are very difficult for adults to reproduce (except for those who have that sound in their language.) Gradually, over time, as babies are exposed to the local language or languages, they loose the facility to make certain sounds while gaining others. According to the following article, the Canadian accent seems to be easier for babies to recognize despite having been born in Australia. This seems to be due to the similarity between many Australian vowels which makes them difficult to distinguish.

Australian babies ga-ga for Canadian accent but baffled by their mothers’ native lingo

  • University study finds Aussie babies prefer Canadian accents
  • The 48 bubs tested were confused by the sound of Australian vowels 
  • Pronunciation of words like sheep, ship or shoot could be misunderstood 

Australian babies struggle with their native lingo and find it easier to understand Canadians, a new university study shows.

Boffins from the University of Western Sydney (UWS) conducted research on 48 Australian babies of 15-months-old and were astonished to discover they can’t distinguish certain vowels.

Yet when they heard the same words in a Canadian accent they found them easier to understand, Associate Professor Paola Escudero, who led the research with the university’s Dr Karen Mulak, says: “Young infants are more likely to understand words spoken in their native languages.”

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