Noice or Not Noice

Mar 28, 2023


Noice is the Australization of the word that the rest of the English-speaking world pronounces (more or less) as “nice”. See previous blog post entitled, “How (Not) to Speak Australian” for a link to a YouTube video in which Australian comedian, Magda Szubanski, hilariously schools reality TV star, Kim Kardashian, on how to pronounce words like “nice” (noice), “thrice” (throice), “splice” (sploice), “dice”(doice), mice (moise), and “like” (loike) with an Australian accent.

Given our close collaboration with Dr. Richard Gordon from the University of Queensland Research Centre in Brisbane, and our sincere desire to learn more about his adopted country, we decided to conduct an informal poll of 2 Australians that we know. Both were presented with a word, name, or phrase related—or not—to Australia, and asked to choose between, “noice” or “not noice” i.e., like or dislike. Below are their responses.

  1. “Crocodile Dundee”: One “noice” and one “bloody brilliant”
  2. “Vegemite”: This is a salty spread made from yeast that tends to elicit strong reactions by non-Australians that try it for the first time. Both respondents said, “noice”. They also agreed that vegemite is “high in vitamin B” and an “acquired taste”.
  3. “Maccas” (McDonald’s): Both said “noice”. One commented, “quality coffee”.
  4. “Foster’s beer”: One said, “tasteless” and one said, “never heard of it”. Apparently, all beer in Australia is served cold and hence is also known as coldie.
  5. “Sunscreen”: For context, Australia is known to have one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world. Both respondents said, “noice”. One said, “I follow slip, slop, slap, wrap—I slip on a long-sleeved shirt, I slop on sunscreen at least 50 SPF, I slap on a hat, and I wrap on sunglasses”.
  6. “The dingo took my bay-bee!” This is an infamous line delivered by the actress Meryl Streep in the movie, “A Cry in the Dark,” about a woman named Lindy Chamberlain whose daughter was killed in the Australian outback. Mercilessly lampooned by Australian critics for her “mangled” accent, Meryl Streep’s performance apparently lives on in Antipodean ignominy alongside actors Quentin Tarantino, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zac Efron, and Robert Downey Jr. who are also said to have categorically murdered the Australian dialect.[1] (Truthfully, we wouldn’t know). These actors are contrasted with Kate Winslet from Britain whose “strine” i.e., Australian accent is described as “fair dinkum” or spot on. In the opinion of the two respondents, Meryl Streep’s strine was very definitively “not noice”. One commented, “it was grating” and one said, “nails down a blackboard”.
  7. “Novak Djokovic”. This is the Serbian tennis star that was deported from Australia on the eve of the 2022 Australian Open in January for having refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Both respondents said, “not noice”. However, no one offered that “justice was served”. That, of course, was a play on words. How do you rate it? Noice or not noice?