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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Batterson

Do Australians Speak English?

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

When I got asked this question before our departure to Oz a few months ago, I admit, I was baffled. But now that we've lived here about five months, I'm not as baffled.

Yes. Australians speak English.

Sort of.

Let's see if you can decipher/define these Australian-isms (feel free to comment with answers- no Googling, that's cheating!) :)

Brekky - breakfast

Pokies - poker/gambling

Rekky - reconnaissance (like a recon-mission)

Brizzy - short for Brisbane (pronounced Briz-bin)

Sunnies - sunglasses

Lollie - candy of any kind

Chook - chicken

Maccas - McDonald's

Duna - a comforter for a bed

Slip Road - on-ramp, or a road you can use to merge into traffic.

Ute - a truck with a truck cab front and a metal tray on the back (short for utility vehicle)

Footy - this answer depends on where you're at in Oz, could mean Australian rules football, could mean rugby. Never means soccer.

Entré - the main meal

Long Black - a black coffee, essentially an Americano

Tradie - a tradesman (someone that works in construction or similar field)

Flat (not referring to an apartment) - dead - as in my phone is flat and needs a charge.

Rockmelon (this is present in America as well) - American's would call this a cantaloupe

Bush bashing - hiking

Drop Bear - a joke Aussies made up to fool the tourists going on hikes.

Okay... that last one is a joke. But still. Continuing on the subject of language, they also seem to have thrown phonetics out the window. Not that American English is much better. But. Well, you decide. Comment with how you think the word would be spelled, based on my phonetic spellings below.

kanz - Cains

lahn - Lorne

melbin (okay that one's easy) - Melbourne

koomrah - Coomera

choogin - Tugan

mujerahbah - Mudgeerabah

Whilst figuring out the Australian language system, we've also been getting used to some other interesting things that are part of life in Oz. (they like to shorten things, if you haven't noticed yet)

For one, they will park anywhere. At least that seems to be the case in Queensland. The neighbors actually had a wooden pole installed (resembling a pole you'd tie a horse to) because their previous neighbors kept parking in their grass.

In Queensland particularly, barefoot is totally acceptable. Anywhere. Barefoot being acceptable wasn't abnormal for us, having lived in Tanzania for four years. But seeing it in a developed nation was bizzare at first. Like even in restaurants and grocery stores and malls. Kids. Adults. And not just by the beach - you could be anywhere!

Restaurants here oftentimes have either a "BYO" sign or a "Fully Licensed" sign on their door. It took me a couple weeks to figure it out- and at first I was a little skeptical because, well gosh I hope you're licensed if you're an eating establishment! But if there's no "Fully Licensed" sign, it actually means you Bring in Your Own bottle of alcohol. Apparently becoming licensed to sell alcohol isn't a given thing for many restaurants, so they become BYO licensed instead. Some will even charge a 'corking fee' to uncork the bottle of wine you brought!

Shopping malls are a thing. And not just department stores. Almost every store, of any kind, is a part of either a strip mall, or a full-fledged shopping mall. Grocery stores, pharmacies, Target, Kmart - almost never stand-alone stores. Because of this many of the multi-level malls have installed inclined moving sidewalks, so people can tote their groceries around in the cart/trolley/buggy (depending on where you're from). When the cart is on the moving sidewalk, the wheels lock so it can't slide/move until you get off at the other end.

Speaking of shopping - the pricing here is great. The tax is pre-calculated into the prices, so what you see on the shelf, actually adds up to what you pay for. It's super helpful!

There are parks everywhere. From most areas in Queensland, it seems you can find a park within a 10 minute's drive or less. And at the parks Aussies are so creative- we've yet to find two parks that are the same, and we've been to so many! And they love spinning things - every single park we've been to has had at least one object that spins, and I'm not talking merry-go-rounds. Often it's a disk that's on a slant and uses gravity to spin you around, or something similar. Also, all the bigger parks and public spaces have public restrooms. We're past this stage with O, but I remember wishing the parks in the states were as well-equipped because it never fails that someone needs to go when you get to the park!

We're still getting used to life in Australia, and we certainly haven't learned everything there is to learn about this beautiful nation. It's such an honor to be here, learning yet another culture/lifestyle and watching our boy also adapt to his new environment. Hopefully you got a chuckle out of these Aussie-isms, like we do. It's not meant to be a bash, or disrespectful in any way. We are loving life Down Under, and learning to speak the language as best we can! ;)


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For answers to Aussie English highlight the space next to the word :)

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