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Fair dinkum, mate. Australian English has its own brand of unique expressions,mate. Australian slang is particular to Australia. Can't say dunny anywhere else or in the arvo or make me some brekkie, can ya? Fair dinkum and true blue. Captain Cook and rhyming slang. How about let's go root a sheila in the dunny in the arvo.


Australian English


"The miner rushed towards us with a grin a mile long across his face.  'G'day, mate.  In the arvo I just rooted some sheila in the dunny in my donga. A sandgroper.  Bloody ripper!' It was only later, after getting my Ph.D in Australian English Applications at numerous pubs around the country, that I comprehended that this miner had had a stupendous afternoon having sexual intercourse with a Western Australian woman in the toilet of his room."  Doug Knell, Doug's Republic
Australian English

Australian (or Strine) is not a separate language.  It's more like an informal version of English.  

No Anglophone visiting Australia is going to be feel like he can't communicate.  Most of the time, the Australians will use nouns, verbs, and adjectives, just as they're used everywhere else.  There are some key differences you should be aware of though.   We'll teach some of these in four basic lessons.  Advanced lessons would take years to master.


Typical Australian manTypical Australian woman

Fluency in the lingo is possible over several drunken nights of study
 Australian slang
Australian English 101:  Basic Australian Translation

Lesson 1 - Use of G'day and Mate

Liberally pepper your dialogue with the words "G'day" (meaning how are you or what's going on) at the beginning of a sentence and "mate" at the end.  Remember to use the plural, mates, if speaking to more than one person.  You would not want to use "mate" more than once or twice per paragraph of dialogue spoken.   Examples:

USA:   Do you know where the store is?
Australia:  G'day, do you know where the store is, mate?

USA:  Raise your hands or I will blow your brains out.
Australia:  G'day, mate(s).  Raise your hands or I will your brains out.

 

Lesson 2 - Expletives

In polite American and British speech, you would shun expletives.  In the US, expletives, when used discriminately, can add emphasis, urgency, importance.  Examples are below.   Expletives are dashed out here so that this site doesn't get mistakenly flagged by search engines as a pornographic portal.  

Normal American usage:  Where are my bacon and eggs, miss?
Emphasis:  Where are my f--king bacon and g-ddam eggs, b--tch?


The expletives, when used as adjectives before the bacon and the eggs, convey an overwrought customer who's had it UP TO HERE!   In Australia, expletives are used more liberally.  The more, the merrier.   This a country where the word 'bastard' is a term of endearment.   Look at the examples below.

* How the f--k are ya, y'bastard?
* Good onya, mate.  You f--king did well taking the f--king piss out of that yobbo.

The foul language isn't required.  It adds no emphasis.  It's just there as filler.  If you want to fit in, sprinkle a few unnecessary obscenities into everyday situations, like:

*  I'm heading to the f--king toilet, mate.
*  I'm f--king preparing a bit of tea.   What the s--t do you want to eat, bastard?


Australian slang
Commit to memory and add an obscenity

Lesson 3 - Noun Shortening

Shorten all multiple syllable nouns, where the meaning is clear from first syllable, by removing all syllables but the first one and adding "ie" or "o".  Examples:

*  Breakfast becomes brekkie
*  Surfer dude becomes a surfie
*  Douglas becomes Dougie
*  Tracksuit becomes trackie
*  Chocolate becomes chokkie
*  Chewing gum becomes chewie
*  Vegetarian becomes vego
*  Documentary becomes doco
*  Kerosene becomes kero
*  Kindergarten becomes kindie
*  Fishmonger becomes fisho
*  Postman becomes postie
*  Poker machines, which Australians would marry in a chapel if it were legal, become pokies
*  Freemantle (Western Australia) becomes Freo
*  Gynaecologist becomes gyno
*  Politican becomes polly
*  Septic tank becomes seppo

Some incorrect shortened nouns are listed below.   The first syllable is too general to define the entire word once the additional syllables are removed.

*  Dinner cannot be turned into dinnie.   Sounds too much like the Australian word 'dunny,' which means toilet.  Coincidentally, the toilet is where most traditional Australian dinners belong.
*  Computer cannot be turned into compo or compie.   Too many English words begins with 'comp'.
*  Kangaroo cannot be turned into kango.   This is an irregular shortened noun.   Australians shorten kangaroo to roo.
*  Prostitutes, which Australians legally adore, cannot be turned into prostos.   That sounds more like a shortened noun for a prosthetics device.

There's no reason you can't shorten nouns on a whim.  Somebody had to shorten a noun first before the rest of the Australians thought it sounded nice and immiated him.  Some possible new shortened nouns:

*  Jackass could become jacko, which in American English refers to Michael Jackson, whom many people believed was a jackass.   R.I.P. Jacko.
*  Prime Minister could become primo, pronounced pry-moh
*  Kiteboarding kits (= kites and kiteboards) could be referred to as kities.
*  A gourmet, a lover of fine foods, could be called a gourmie.

 

Lesson 4 - Rhyming Slang

Australians have a unique way of using rhyming associations to describe rather mundane activities or things. This was a custom borrowed from the Cockneys in England who originally formed the bulk of Australia's immigrants.  It does make for colorful speech but adds unnecessary syllables to sentences.

Here's how it works.   Think of a word you want to say, such as 'look.'   What rhymes with look?   Cook.   How can we turn turn cook into an expression?  The Australians brainstormed Captain Cook.   So "Let's go have f--king look, mate" becomes "Let's go have a f--king Captain Cook, mate."   Who knows why Captain Cook caught on?  Perhaps others were using "Bonny Brook."   Some expressions catch on, some don't.  Alliteration, no doubt, helps.   Had Captain Cook been General Cook, the expression probably wouldn't have lasted.    Other examples:


* An American becomes known as a Seppo.  Seppo is a shortened noun form of septic tank, and tanks rhymes with Yank.
* 'To bolt' becomes 'to do a Harold Holt.'   Harold Holt was an Australian prime minister who took a swim in the heavy surf off Victoria in December 1967 and was never seen again.  Rumors have it that he emigrated to China -- a Chinese submarine was conveniently waiting to pick him up.   Most sensible people, however, think that if he wanted to emigrate to China he would've done so via a Chinese Embassy or Consulate and not via the cold Southern Ocean off Portsea. 
*  Police becomes 'ducks and geese.'
*  Phone becomes 'dog and bone.'
*  Dollar becomes 'Rhodes scholar.'
*  Perve becomes 'optic nerve.'

You don't have to be of Cockney descent to invent your own.   Go ahead.   The problem is that since rhyming slang isn't so obvious as to what it means, no one will likely understand a word you said, you'll be laughed at for trying to imitate Australians, and this could all possibly lead to deportation if the person who laughs at you works with or for the Australian government.   Some possible newly invented slang, which we take no responsibility for: 

*  Overthrow could become 'stage a show'.   "Let's stage a show for the government, mates!"
*  Sleaze (= most of the backpackers who travel around Australia) could become 'pigs and cheese.'    "Wanna stop by the sh---y Hellhole Hostel for some pigs and cheese, mates?"
*  Super spank could become 'rob a bank.'   "You'll need a high-powered rifle to super spank ANZ or Commonwealth, mates."


Be creative. That's what it's all about, mate.  No worries.

 

Miscellaneous

There is not a rule for every term or expression used in Australia.  Most of the local lingo just came about as language evolves.   The only way to get a handle on it is to study it and immerse yourself in it.  

Many terms are borrowed from the British, while others involve different ways to describe things Australians use or do.    For example, an esky is an insulated food and drink container used for picnics and barbeques.   An American would call this a cooler.


Some places to study Australianisms and slang:
Australian National University                      Australian National Dictionary Centre
Australian Slang In Alphabetical Order
Australian-American Dictionary




 

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Computer Comprehensive Companion

 Australian English is different. Different as night and day. Rhyming slang. Captain Cook have a look. Australian English has its own Australian slang that you can't compare to other countries. Lot of Australianisms will be discussed at Doug's Republic. If you want a root, you're normal. Need a dunny, you're normal. If you want to get a root in the dunny in the arvo, you're also normal, too. Rhyming slang is fantastic.