I’m finishing off my guest blogger siesta with the wonderfully funny Steph from “She Said What?“. I was drawn to Steph as a blogger because she always seems to see the little things that slip right past others– and then she doesn’t look away, whether it’s funny, sad, or an outrageous version of either of those things.
So pop over to her place, fill up on insight, and rawr some love:
An Insiders Guide to Australia – Part 1.
I am writing this post as part of a series on Australianisms. I have way too much material for one post. This first post will focus on language, words and phrases. Subsequent posts will look at culture, geography and wildlife, and will be published over on my blog.
Aussie language, words and phrases.
As English-speaking nations we assume we speak the same language and that our cultures are fairly similar. They are, to a point, but there are a lot of differences, especially language differences. Take this for example…
To decode that video for you to “I’m gunna shoot through to Maccas this arvo”, means you are going to leave wherever you are and go to McDonalds this afternoon.
I thought I’d give you fellas a quick run down on the Aussie lingo. That way when you’re cracking a tinny with your new Aussie mates you won’t seem like there’s a few roos loose in your top paddock.
Australians tend to shorten things. We don’t like extra syllables. So “sandwiches” become “sangas”, “McDonalds” becomes “Maccas”, even the name of our country “Australia” becomes “Straya”. The exception is if the word is already only one syllable. Then we add an ‘a’ or an ‘o’. This is especially true for names. “John” becomes “Johnno”, “Baz” becomes “Bazza”, and so on.
We also have some interesting takes on common words and phrases. I originally had over 50 of these. I’ve narrowed it down to a few of my favourites (by the way, we spell it that way here.
These are thongs. They are not flip flops. The fact that they have the Aussie flag on them tells me they probably belong to Yobbos.
This is a g-string. This is not a thong. These are commonly worn by Sheilas, although blokes often give them a go, especially at mardi gras.
This fantastic pair of swimwear (which is coincidentally being modelled by our new Prime Minister, the right honourable Tony Abbott) are referred to as “budgie smugglers”. Why? Well because you could smuggle your budgie down the front.
These are chips…
These are also chips…
Which chips are we talking about? Depends on the context. If we’re standing in the local fish ‘n chip shop then it’s probably the second type. Fries? Don’t have any. Crisps? Watcha talkin’ bout?
This is a power point…
This is an outlet…
And these are taps…
Faucets? Nope. Don’t have any.
Here’s a quick list of a few more common words and phrases…
- Arse = you guys call it an ass
- Bottle-O = liquor store
- Bowl-O = The local Bowling club. These are an Aussie institution.
- Snags = sausages
- Sheilas = women/girls/female humans
- To carc it = to die (I think it comes from the word carcass?)
- Durry = a cigarette
- You betcha = you bet
- Abso-bloody-lutely = Absolutely (of course!)
- Strewth = swear word. It’s negative.
- Crikey = a word of exclamation. You could substitute OMG
- Kaput = something dies (not a living thing, living things carc it. Machinery can also carc it, but kaput is just for things) i.e. your car might go kaput (but your car can also carc it. Just pick one. You, however, cannot go kaput, you have to carc it.)
- Rellies = relatives i.e. I’m having dinner with the rellies
- Yobbos = Undesirables, mostly loud and uncouth.
- Bogans = like yobbos only worse.
- Heaps = used as an adjective or adverb to imply a more extreme form of something i.e. “That’s heaps cool”, “You’re heaps sick bro”, “That car is heaps mad” (all of which are complimentary)
- Root = sex
- Togs = swimming costume
- Barbie = BBQ
- Popper = you guys call it a juice box I believe? It’s a rectangular thing with juice in it that kids drink with a straw
- Get a dog up ya = what it sounds like. It’s an insult
- Shit on a stick = when something is really bad we can say it’s like shit on a stick
- One eyed trouser snake = euphemism for penis
- Old fella = another euphemism for penis (we like those)
- Arvo = afternoon
- Flanno = a shirt made of chequered flannelette, most commonly worn by Bogans
- She’ll be right mate = it will be OK
- Back of Bourke = if a place is very far away it is “out the back of Bourke”
- Whoop whoop = the same place as out the back of Bourke
- The town’s a tinderbox = lots of combustible material in the town so it will burn easily and quickly in a bush fire
- Bush = what you guys would call forest or wilderness
- A roo loose in the top paddock = someone is crazy or stupid. They have a roo loose in the top paddock
We also like to understate things. On a day where the temperature hits 45 degrees celsius you can expect a lot of people to be walking round saying “It’s a bit warm today”, and so on.
We also like opposites. If you have red hair Australians will refer to you as a “ranga”, pronounced as in “I rang you on the telephone” with an ‘a’ on the end (in an Aussie accent – go on try it). Your nickname will be “Blue”, or “Bluey”. Just roll with it. Red cattle dogs are also called Bluey a lot. It’s just how we roll. In Australia everyone has a nickname. It’s a cultural must.
Speaking of words, it is common knowledge that most Australians only know the first verse of our national anthem. The second verse is the one we mumble in tune to so it looks like we know the words.
Join me next time for a journey into Aussie culture. We will talk about the Bowl-O and the meat tray, what is with Tasmania, and why our “Liberal” party is full of conservatives (I told you we liked to do things backwards). We will also discuss Australia’s love of the big things. Here’s a sneak peek…
This, my friends, is the big prawn (we don’t have shrimp here. They’re American).
Well this Aussie has to shoot through. See ya later mate. It’s been fun.
Now that you have a brand new vocabulary in which to beguile and charm your friends the Aussie way, don’t forget to head over to Steph’s and use as much as you can. I’d start here:
But before you go, let me ask– do you have a roo loose in the top paddock? What’s one of your favorite colloquialisms from your area of the world?