Thursday, October 25, 2012

Australian English

I've been having fun with English this week -- mostly US and UK variants, and now it's time to have a look closer to home. Australian English is most closely related to UK English, but I think we've developed a unique turn of phrase. Combine that with an accent that doesn't bother much with that pesky annunciation stuff, and thinks that spaces between words are unnecessary, and you've got a version of English guaranteed to be misunderstood in most other corners of the world. 

Sometimes, it may even be mistaken for its own language. 

Here are a few phrases I picked up while eavesdropping at work these past few days. To me, these are totally normal but I'm hoping that some of them, out of context, might trip up the non-Aussies.  

It wasn’t too exy, I got mates’ rates.

Did you call the ambos?

It’s somewhere out Woop Woop.

You’ve got Buckley’s.

They bogged the ute.

I’m on the bones of my arse this week.

They’re at the servo.

He went off like a frog in a sock.

Aussie English is fun, and you find it in some unexpected places. Once, in Istanbul, a shopkeeper greeted my brother-in-law: 


"How's it going?" Mark said.

"Oh, mate," the man said, flipping straight into our vernacular, "I am flat out like a lizard drinking!" 

He got the sale. 


Have you got a common word or phrase in your English vernacular that might cause me to come a gutser? Figuratively speaking, of course. 


  1. I have no idea what you are talking about and none of those phrases made sense to me. I must use them all immediately.

    How about these I've heard and said in the last week. (Texas English)
    1) Come to find out, it was there all along.
    2) On the cool, I had no idea.
    3) I'm fixin' to get to it, ya'll.
    4) I will beat you back to next Sunday. (self explanatory.

    This is fun.ha

    1. I think I got numbers 3 and 4...but I have no idea about the first two! I'm going to use them anyway, and see how they pan out. :)

  2. Coming from Georgia, the words I remember are frequently run together (no spaces either) and generally OTT.
    "Don't go running all over Creation." (that's a lot of territory); "Well, I s'wanee" (well, I never saw such or heard such nonsense), s'wanee relates to the Suwannee River.

    Now in Canada, I had to learn the proper way of saying salmon (no L sound-sammon). Words and how we abuse them is fun.

    1. Make that 'Word use and abuse is fun to play with'. Got to get more coffee, French roast.

    2. I love "Don't go running all over Creation." That is awesome!

      I thought everyone pronounced salmon with the silent L. Weird!

      And I second you on the need for a caffeine fix.

    3. Yep, I'm loving that Creation one too - awesome! :D

  3. I'm hoping Maine character busts out some of his Maine vernacular for you. Can't understand a word those people say in the northeast. :P

    1. Well, I'd like to say I glob around all the time with hunters in Larrigans, but when I do, I usually catch only a scrid of their meaning, which makes me feel gaumy, if not number than a hake.

    2. I think I almost know what you mean...but my advice to you is that if you ever feel gaumy you should immediately go and see a doctor. Antibiotics will clear that right up.

    3. I pulled out my trusty Maine to English book of translation and I think what he said is that he and Hunter S. Thompson got hammered in a bar somewhere back in the 80's.

    4. It's like I know the things he was writing were words, but at the same time they weren't. Like halfway though a sentence things just went yellow plastic gibbon harpsichord.

    5. Now you know what it's like listening to you Fair Dinkum, ridgy-didge, bogan-bashing banana benders. :-)

      And to LG, actually it was a log cabin in the early '90s, but not bad for someone from Colorado. :p

  4. I honestly have no idea what any of that Australian stuff meant. I guess as a writer I'm only good with English. ;)

    1. Yes, I'm bilingual. I speak English AND Australian. Or, as it's known: Strine. And you have to be from Australia (or "Straya") to know how to mangle "Australian" into "Strine". Four syllables into one. It's a linguistic gift.

  5. I knew most of these, clearly but I'm wondering if some are more QLD-centric, i.e.

    "too exy"

    (expensive, I'm assuming, but yeah, never heard somenoe say "exy")

    I definitely talk about Woop Woop all the time ;)

    and finally I have NOT heard that frog in a sock one ;)

    The Turkish people are so funny and friendly - I definitely approve of that country!

    1. Woop Woop is ubiquitous.
      Maybe exy is a QLD word... but you picked it.
      I love frog in a sock -- so descriptive!
      And Turkey is awesome! I loved it so, so much.

  6. Hey! Aunty Jen - this one gave me a really big grin. Loving the flip-flop takes on English around the world. If only I were brave enough to attempt it in one of my stories?

    1. Thanks, Mark! And you've got to try it. What have you got to lose? :)

  7. One time I did a horrible Australian accent as part of a radio drama. I relied heavily on the phrase "g'day" to indicate I was supposed to be Australian. From this post, it sounds like I may have enunciated too much.

    I'm gonna go bog the ute.

    1. But if you bog the ute we'll need to get a towie, and that's gonna be exy, maaaate!

      And you must never over-annunciate. You must pronounce the word "Australian" as "Strine." And if possible make it sound like a question. And then you have it.



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