Jonathan Swan: Why does he sound not quite Australian to me?

Link. JS is the younger guy in the dark jacket, if anyone can’t tell.

I hear this guy on talk shows a lot lately, and the first time I heard him I thought: OK, this guy is Australian. But the more I hear him, the more his accent seems like Australian mixed with… something else. Maybe like he grew up in Australis but has lived in the US for a long time. But it doesn’t appear that he’s been in the US for more than a few years.

I’m usually pretty good at picking out accents. I don’t get confused between British, Australian or South African accents, and can even usually tell Kiwis from Aussies if I hear them speak long enough.

So, am I imagining things, or is there something not quite fully Australian about his accent? Just heard him on PBS this evening, and thought I’d see what you guys think. Comments from our folks Down Under especially appreciated!

Sounds pretty Australian to me. Not as ocker as some.

Right. It’s not Strine or anything, but it’s definitely Australian.

Like any country, there’s an urban accent, a rural accent, a lot of cross-cultural accents, and everything in between within Australia. He sounds just like my suburban neighbours to me, though as he is a very worldly person, and is likely to have travelled widely, that may have had some impact.

His father Dr Norman Swan is a physician well known in the media here.
Norman is a Scot who has been out here since the early 80’s but still has a distinguishable burr.
Jonathon has probably taken a bit of the edge off his Aussie accent for the US market.
I don’t know if it’s definitely Australian but it’d pass muster as a local out here.

It’s hard to judge from that clip, where the conversation is going back and forth fairly frequently…I went and looked up some other youtubes of him giving reports and I don’t think you’re entirely imagining things - it’s mostly that australianisms like really->rooly mate->mite are all absent plus a bit of ‘young folks accent’ (I think we may have discussed before on this board the Ellen->Alan and America->Amarica shift that’s going on at the moment) And in the other clip I looked up he had “in the fall” tripping off his tongue in a very natural sounding way … I wouldn’t say he sounds unaustralian exactly but I bet he meets a lot of Americans who don’t really notice he’s not from round there

Yeah, that was not the best clip, but just the best I could find searching for a few minutes. To give another example of what I was wondering, if you listen to Lauren Cohan (“Maggie” from The Walking Dead) speak, it’s obvious that she is neither British nor American, but some combo of both. Not that Swan is quite that extreme, but I was just thinking that maybe an Australian would think his accent didn’t sound quite local. But from what people are saying here, it fits in the range.

He sounds completely Australian to me, with a slightly idiosyncratic twist that’s either a regionalism or possibly a mild speech defect - I think he’s pronouncing some of his L sounds as W (listen to: “skilled” in the opening dialogue; “kill or be killed” at 37 seconds; “these people all know each other very well” at 1:11