Speak Like an Aussie: Australian Language Guide

by Brooke on January 4, 2011

by Brooke | January 4th, 2011  

dictionaryAustralian English is a unique mix of different words and a whole lot of slang. It’s not always easy to understand for those that haven’t yet been exposed to it – and, no, watching Crocodile Dundee a hundred times will only begin to prepare you for what’s in store.

To be honest, I am still surprised by the amount of slang I come across in my daily life here in Australia. For it being such a lazy language, it seems like people sure do go out of their way to think of the strangest ways to explain things.

To help get you ready for your trip, I’ve put together this ultimate guide on how to speak like an Australian.

It’s Strine

The Australian language is commonly referred to as “Strine”, a pronunciation of the word “Australian” through closed teeth. The Australian language follows closely British English spellings and terminology as opposed to American English, yet with a dialect completely their own. You can read a more in-depth analysis on Wikipedia’s Australian English page.

The Australian Accent

Do you love a good Aussie accent? Take it from me, an Australian accent is one that can make the American ladies swoon; it can also make you cringe if someone does it wrong. Looking to improve your Aussie accent, then this video can get you started:

Saying G’day Mate

I mentioned it in another post on Aussie slang, but talking like an Australian is like talking with your mouth full. It’s kind of a lazy language in typical Aussie laid-back fashion, so rolling words together is a way to approach speaking like a local.

When many Aussies speak, they do so with what is known as a rising intonation — something that resembles asking a question even when they might just be stating a fact.

You should also have a read of Aussie Language Differences Involving Pronunciation

Aussie Slang

You will need to brush up on some of the Aussie slang that is a part of Australian English in order to fully understand what people are saying. You can watch this video if you want a little intro to what Aussie slang sounds like:

You can also read through some of the posts on my favorite Australian slang:

But learning certain key phrases and Australian idioms is only the beginning. Did you know there’s such a thing as Australian rhyming slang? Oh. my. goodness. This really takes the cake. It’s like pig-latin, but way more difficult to understand unless given in the right context. For example, they might say something like “Al Capone” instead of “phone”. Luckily, this isn’t really popular, so you don’t have to focus on it.

Some Words Are Just Different

One of the words that gets the biggest reaction whenever I use it is “aluminum”. I might be talking about aluminum cans or aluminum foil, but the Aussies (and the Brits) call it “aluminium”, which is apparently the correct word for it. The Americans have just decided to make it more efficient and take out the “i” (which is my response). Just be aware, my fellow Americans in Australia, you are bound to be subjected to criticism from the moment the word leaves your mouth.

Aussie Slang Books

Perhaps you much prefer to have a guide on-hand wherever you go. If this sounds like you, then an Aussie slang book or dictionary can set you right. I recently received a couple for Christmas, one which actually explains the history of the word or phrase at hand, and I must say these would make for an excellent gift for anyone looking to travel to Australia.

Photo credit.


{ 2 comments }

Voucher Codes January 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm
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I am learning Australian language from some days. And believe me there are lots of unknown words which I never listen in my life. I also bought Australian books to familiar with these language.
Voucher Codes

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Fraser May 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm
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I have no idea when an intelligent extra-terrestrial life form may visit earth, but I know what its first two words will be.

In our Universe, when one intelligent life form greets another intelligent life form the first two words that are used in the greeting translated into the common English language are “Hello” and “Breed”.

Hello is used because it is a greeting that is a non-offensive acknowledgement of the other life form.

Breed is used because it is an encouragement of the other life forms continuation and advancement, and at the same time an acknowledgement of the species contribution to the Universe.

In the Australian vernacular the word “G’day” is used in place of the word Hello. G’day is an intelligent word because it is a non-offensive acknowledgement whilst also being a common greeting, one which implies equality because there is no ‘superior’ grace in the casual greeting which is a slang abbreviation of the more formal words “Good Day”. The “G” in “G’day”, whilst obviously an abbreviation of the word “Good”, does away with the superior, righteous, judgemental and virtuous associations with the word “Good”. The use of the abbreviated “G” in “G’day” gives the listener permission and logical reason to interpret the “G” as referring to the more informal meanings of the word “Good”, such as happy, appropriate, great, OK, courteous, accomplished, suitable, healthy and kind-hearted.

Whilst the word “Good” is abbreviated to a simple “G” the word “Day” remains in its full form. “Day” is intelligent because it recognises a common element of the Universe which is that life forms are surrounded by planets that revolve and are located in various proximity to light and heat sources such as Suns; the common feature that planets have is that there exists periods of night and day. The human word day can encompass a whole twenty-four hour period but in the greeting G’day (Good Day) it does not necessarily have to relate to the current day, it could be a reference to a future day, or even covering all of time, because on a rotating planet that is rotating around a Sun, “days” have the characteristic of relentless repetition. So if the greeting G’day is used at daytime it can of course apply to the immediate, whilst if it is night the greeting can equally apply to the night or apply to a future day. Thus, G’day (Good Day) has dual coverage of present tense and future time. So whilst there are life forms that inhabit the night, the shared element is that we all experience night and day but it is Day (light or sunlight) that sustains planetary systems that support life. The word G’day, by mentioning the word “day” also makes reference to the universal concept of time. The intelligent life form that greets us may have a completely different definition for the word “day”, one that pertains to their place in the Universe. “Day” does not exclusively describe a specified length of time; rather it is a word that describes that which is frequent, persistent, recurrent, constant, continuous, relentless, regular, habitual, unfailing and universally overt to all intelligent life forms everywhere in our Universe.

Australians use “Mate” in place of the word Breed. Mate is a very intelligent and clever word because Mate encompasses all that is in the word Breed, and at the same time easily communicates the comforting affirmation that you are my friend. Mate also implies “oneness” because as life forms we mate (breed) and we “Mate” as in being in a state of connectedness (love). In the old Germanic languages the word mate related to Meat and the underlying notion being that of eating together – thus mutually sustaining life through means other than breeding (offensive – Fucking), which in and of itself may be an out-dated concept to an advanced intelligent life form that may reproduce by other means.

Consider the following awkward list of the two words Hello & Breed translated into other possible words: G’day Mate, Salute Partner, Welcome Consort, Hail Match, Salutation Copulate, Compliments Couple, Regards Reproduce, Hiya Procreate, Hi Multiply, Howdy Propagate, Chairein Beget, Hey Fuck.

G’day Mate is the most intelligent greeting that has ever been uttered by humanity.

Intelligent life exists, and it is in Australia.

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