Why do Australians dislike their Queen so much?

Let’s try a more historically informed attempt at an answer.

The USA within the Anglosphere had a very early strain of resistance to British authority, which made it a Republic. Ireland had an even earlier strain of of resistance to British authority, which made it a Republic a lot later.

Most erstwhile colonies and dominions of Britain became Republics as well. Those that haven’t are the 15 Commonwealth realms. They include much of the West Indies and the Pacific, and I don’t quite understand what happened there. Among the dominions (I’ll be blunt: among countries that were majority White Britisher), they include the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Of these four countries, Australia is the one with the most prominent republican history. So when you ask why Australians dislike their Queen so much, those other three countries, UK, Canada, and New Zealand, are who you’re comparing Australia to. And the question is only meaningful if you make that comparison.

Australia has had a republican movement since before Federation. The disproportionate presence of Irish in Australia compared to elsewhere was one cause for that; the convict origins somehow another; the national mythology of Australia as an improved and self-reliant version of Britain a third.

The Australian mainstream was as forelock-tuggingly British as it was anywhere else until the 70s, and delayed ratifying the Statute of Westminster 1931 (when the UK really finally kicked us out of home legislatively) for a decade. But there was an ongoing undercurrent that was not as pro-British, and a sequence of jabs at the mother country; us daring to have Isaac Isaacs as a Governor General for example, or the trade boycotts provoked by the Bodyline controversy in cricket, or us pivoting away from Churchill and towards FDR in WWII.

That level of republicanism and resentment of Britain may have been a minority narrative in Australia; but it was certainly much more prominent than in Canada (who after all needed to differentiate itself from its southern neighbour) or New Zealand (which is a gentle easy-going place).

The resentment of Britain is pretty mainstream now; anyone who speaks with a Cultivated Australian [= tweaked RP: Variation in Australian English] accent now is a figure of derision. I note with amusement the accent of Georgina Downer, scion of a long line of Tory Australian politicians, and daughter of Alexander Downer. Her dad still speaks with a plum in his mouth, and is the High Commissioner to the UK, like his father before him. Georgina does a lot of radio as a member of the local libertarian think tank (she’s waiting for preselection somewhere); and she sounds ’Strayan, because that is now the only way to become a politician in this country.

The resentment of British authority and the republicanism translate to antipathy to the monarchy, though it has to be said, minimal personal antipathy to Queen Elizabeth. Even our arch republican and Last Visionary prime minister Paul Keating has said as much. There is celebrity interest in Wills and Kate, and a complacent “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” sentiment from the majority of Australians; republicanism remains a minority sentiment. But it’s a sizeable minority.

How does IPA keep up with the constant change of sounds in the languages?

Several ways to tackle this question. And it’s a very good question.

Both consonants and vowels in the IPA are defined, not against a word of a language (they can indeed change), but against an articulatory gesture. Because people’s oral cavities are pretty much the same, that works. [ç] is defined as a Voiceless palatal fricative, not as the <ch> in German ich (Which dialect of German?), or as the χ in Greek όχι (Which dialect of Greek? Which period, for that matter?)

For vowels, it’s only slightly more complicated. There is indeed a continuum of articulation, of where you place your tongue in your oral cavity, to produce vowels. But:

  • There are eight reference vowels, the Cardinal vowels, which are defined through articulatory gestures as signposts for the rest of the IPA vowels;
  • There is an articulatory space defined for vowels —

  • —but the two dimensions of the space can actually be plotted precisely based on the formants of the vowel—the first and second peak of the vowel sound in a spectrogram. See Vowel diagram. So you can run a spectrogram on vowels, and get a precise plot of vowels like this:

—the classic vowel trapezium plots F1 against F2–F1.

In any case, the IPA is not intended for a precise plot on the trapezium. It’s intended for a close enough area of the mouth, that sounds the same to listeners as other speakers’ vowels, and that sounds different to other vowels of the same language. Two speakers’ vowels are not going to plot to exactly the same place. The IPA is used for linguistic transcription, which is based on contrast; it is not intended to substitute a spectrogram.

So if people start pronouncing cat slightly differently, but it’s still in the general area of [æ], few linguists are going to care. Particularly if the [æ] is still nowhere near the [ɑ] or [ɐ] or [a] of that dialect of English. If it does, why, we’ll relabel it to the other area of the vowel chart that it’s moved to. /kʰæt/ used to be /kʰat/ (and still is in some dialects of English).

If you’re one of the few linguists that do care, you’re not looking at the IPA anyway. You’re looking directly at the spectrograms.

You’ll see that the IPA vowel chart allows 7 degrees of height, and 3 degrees of backness; diacritics allow both to be tripled. The 7 degrees of height is new-fangled, and I’m not sure whether symbols like Close-mid central unrounded vowel [ɘ] have really been used seriously. Even with the diacritics ̟ ̱ ̝ ̞ , I doubt most transcriptions have ever bothered with more than four degrees of height.

So the IPA doesn’t need to make more symbols to keep up: it’s got an oversupply if anything. (The Labiodental flap symbol /ⱱ/ is the first new IPA consonant in decades.) You just make sure the definitions of the symbols are independent of words in any one language.

Do you think it would be helpful if questions identified where the OP lives?

OP, thank you for clarifying the question. Given the clarification: absolutely, where relevant. There are a lot of questions that assume the OP’s location, and that get answered by others in ways that the OP didn’t anticipate. That’s not a privacy issue; that’s a good question formulation issue, and it’s incumbent on us the community to help the OP clarify the question.

Better us than Quora Content Review. “Needs Improvement” with no explanation ends up doing far more damage than good. “What the hell do I reword to get the bot to shut up?”

One of the two times I’ve been blocked to date is when someone asked about common law marriages, someone answered, neither specified what country they were talking about, and I chimed in with “that’s a very US-centric answer to a US-centric question.” I hope that guy is enjoying his Nick-free feed, but the fault wasn’t me, the fault was with the OP not being explicit in narrowing down their question.

EDIT: Ah, shit. Tonka Sukic already said all this, better.