It is not really difficult to understand an Australian if you have a good level of English. However, Australian people also have their own accent and slang. And the further you are from the big cities, the stronger the accent will be!
Go Study will help you to understand and talk like a real Aussie with this quick guide to understanding Australian Slang. So go get yourself a coldie and let’s get started!
The Aussie pronunciation
If you want to talk like an Aussie, you will need to change the pronunciation of a couple of your vowels:
-a [eɪ] becomes -i [aɪ]
E.G.: mate becomes ma-ite
-ou [u:] becomes -eah [eə]
E.G.: see you becomes see yeah
-i [aɪ] devient -oi [‘ɔɪ]
E.G.: night becomes no-ight
Did you get it? Now try to pronounce those words with the Aussie accent. You need to speak out loud!
fight – date – miss you –
The Aussie words
Another trend in the Australian slang is to cut the words and use shortened versions: football
Have a look at this video to get an idea!
Short list of Australian slang
Find below a list of the most popular Australian slang. You need to learn them to properly understand an Aussie!
- Ace: something really good
- Arvo: afternoon
- Aussie: Australian
- Barbie: barbecue
- Bathers: swimming suit (Victoria)
- Big Smoke: a big city
- Bogan: Australian redneck
- Bottle-o: Liquor shop
- Brissie: Brisbane
- Bush: Australian countryside
- BYO: Bring Your Own – When you can bring your alcohol
- Cab: taxi
- Coldie: beer
- Croc: crocodile
- Cut lunch: a sandwich
- Down Under: Australia and New-Zealand
- Footie/Footy: Australian football
- G’day: good day (hello)
- Heaps: a lot
- Mate: friend
- Onya: good on you
- Oz: Australia
- Ta: thank you
- Toot: toilets
- Kiwi: New-Zealander
Short list of Australian expressions
Australian people know how to create really poetic expressions!
- As useful as an ashtray on a motorbike
To say when something is really useless.
- Don’t come the raw prawn with me
Don’t disappoint me!
- Flat out like a lizard drinking
Be extremely busy
- Going off like a frog in a sock
Be really energetic
Origin of the Australian accent: influence of the alcoholism?
According to Dean Frankel, a linguist at The University of Melbourne, the Australian accent is the consequence of the alcoholism of the first British settlers.
The nasality, the elisions of the vowels and their transformations come from a laziness of the mouth initiated by the drunkness of the first English speakers in Australia. According to him, the average Australian speaks two-thirds of his muscular abilities of diction.
True origin or whimsical hypothesis, the opinions diverge in Australia. What you choose to believe is up to you!
To learn and perfect your Australian slang, there is only one solution: go to Australia, speak with Australians and do not hesitate to ask them to repeat themselves!