and she said; “Do you come from a land Down Under”?
Aussie slang is the lingo from the land Down Under. The language is full of interesting and a sometimes odd mix of words and phrases.
Our use of unusual colloquialisms is sure to confuse even the most ‘clued-up’ traveller! Spoken widely down under, Aussie slang is commonly known as strine and combines a mix of unusual words, rhymes and phrases.
It’s likely that trying to make sense of our language will provide you with much entertainment so let us give you a few tips!
Aussies speak funny
Despite the strange lingo, Australia is an English speaking country. Proudly we have put a unique twist on the traditional English language. The best advice I can give you is .. don’t take it too seriously!
You may find that Australians tend to speak quickly and have an unusual way of pronouncing words. We Aussies have a quirky sense of humour and take every opportunity to have a laugh where we can. We often use our language to do that.
From time to time, we will use some of that Aussie rhyming slang that we are famous for. The trick is to familiarise yourself with some of our lingo before you arrive in our colourful country. Rhyming Strine can be fun.
Our language has evolved from all who have settled here
Australia is a nation of many cultures. Many of us are direct descendants of English convicts who were sent to settle Australia from England in the late 1700s. Many early settlers were rogues, murderers, thieves and opportunists. I’m sure some may say ‘not a lot has changed’!
Today we are proud of our multicultural culture. Aussies of today include the first Australians, Italians, Greek, Maltese, Chinese, Vietnamese, South African and Europeans and people from other countries. It is who we are, and we love our differences!
We’re proud of our ethnicity and we are especially proud that our language has evolved. We have become one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.
[bctt tweet=”Do you know how to speak ridgy-didge genuine Aussie?” username=”aussiemob”]
Accent? What accent?
Australian slang is rich with humour, wit and rhyme and it’s is not just about the accent. Most Aussies will stand tall, put their hand on their heart and tell you indignantly, they don’t have an accent!
Our lingo is unique
Simple things such as shortening words or adding an ‘o‘ onto the end are quite common practice and can easily confuse visitors.
As an example: We might shorten the word aggressive to agro or refer to a journalist as a journo. Often we might add an ‘o‘ to someone’s name such as calling Craig, Craigo or Damien, Damo. All done in friendship, and never with someone we don’t know well. Think of these variances as a ‘term of endearment’ or acceptance. There is no rationale to it all, but it makes sense to us!
Redheaded men are often referred to as ‘Blue‘, or Bluey. We’re not sure where this came from but it’s thought to be attributed to red-haired Irishmen who were known to be hot headed and prone to fighting. Hence, a ‘blue’ is also a term we use to describe a ‘fight’ or ‘argument’.
Slang or commonalities used in America or England won’t always have the same meaning in Australia. My advice is, that unless you are absolutely sure of a word or a saying, don’t be tempted to use it. Chances are that it can mean quite the opposite and may result in total embarrassment!
Speak Aussie to me
I had never considered that Australians spoke differently and it wasn’t until I stayed with friends in Pennsylvania that I realised that I was indeed, different!
This memory still makes me smile!
Jesca, know that you’ve made a lasting impression on this Aussie!
One morning (way too early for grown-ups), their 3 year old climbed into bed beside me. She held my face in both hands and whispered loudly (as only 3 year olds do); “Speak Aussie to me”.
‘Struth mate‘, who would’ve thought!
Commonly used words and colloquial phrases are referred to as strine.
Musicians, writers and poets and those with the gift of the gab!
Much of our lingo has a uniqueness that invokes a smile. Many musicians, poets and songwriters have woven our unique and quirky sayings into songs and poems which have iconised our uniqueness, and our language.
- The renowned ‘Men at Work’ song has used a number of Australianisms in the very popular song Land Down Under when they sang; “he just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich’.
- Slim Dusty’s famous song ‘Pub with no beer’ evokes a sense of desperation for those who fear the pub will run out of beer! Serious business to be sure!
- Dorothea Mackellar’s poem “My Country” talks of of the rugged country we Australians call home; “I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains”.
Australia has always been painted a tough country, and the Aussies, even tougher! We’re full of bravado on the outside but really we’re just marshmallows on the inside. Ask any Aussie!
Don’t be a ‘Galah’
The movie introduced the Australian language to the world, ‘Crocodile Dundee‘ should be given some credit. A fun movie that did great things for tourism in Australia and taught the world how to say G’day, Aussie style.
Saying G’day is not used as often as it once was.
To call someone a ‘galah‘ is definitely not a compliment! We really don’t often say things like ‘crikey‘, or ‘fair dinkum‘, or ‘stone the crows’. Just for reference, girls get pretty cranky if they’re called a ‘sheila‘. Most self respecting ‘blokes‘ wouldn’t dare risk it!
[bctt tweet=”Did you know that calling someone a ‘galah’ is definitely not a compliment! Check out our post on the infamous Aussie strine.” username=”aussiemob”]
Aussies are a curious mob
We Aussies are a strange bunch. If you are dreaming heading Down Under, there are a few Australian terms that you should know to help you get through day to life.
Let me introduce you to this fascinating website … Australian Slang. Well researched, this site has put together an extensive list of Australian slang and their interpretations.
Reading this list was refreshing. I can’t deny there are some very odd things that we Aussies say from time to time! You may be forever trying to make sense of our crazy banter!
It’s clear that Aussies take every opportunity to ‘pull your leg‘ so my advice is to go with the flow, enjoy our lingo but don’t take it all too seriously!
Pin it this little gem to Pinterest … you may need it later.
Here’s some more information if you’d like to read more of our posts
- Australia Travel Tips – Things to know before you go
- Get your guide to the best cities in Australia
- The legend of Lassiters Lost Gold Reef