Understanding Accents and Identity

There were two of us waiting for the lift (elevator) at a hotel in the USA. When the car arrived, the other man got in first, pressed “9” and said to me (with an English accent), what floor do you want?I said “12 please”.He said: “oh you are an Aussie“.From two words, he worked out where I came from. Yet after travelling to the USA for twenty years, I cannot tell you how many times people have assumed I am English or asked me if I am from “over the pond”.

How come an Englishman can tell after two words that I am Australian and Americans cannot? Likewise why can Australians identify a kiwi or a South African immediately but confuse a Canadian with someone who is from the USA. Why do Aussies think someone from Wisconsin sounds the same as someone from Florida or Texas?


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