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English - Really just one language?

A travelers guide to Aussie English.
12 years ago, April 7th 2009 No: 21 Msg: #68506  
B Posts: 11.5K
Paul : "My mate left his wife n kids to hit the road" ?? ;-) Reply to this

12 years ago, April 7th 2009 No: 22 Msg: #68536  
Oh yay! A guide to the Australian language that is actually accurate! Guys despite the stereotypes we don't all say "G'day mate" or cook on "barbies" or call idiots "gallahs" or say "bloody" after every word.

I thought of a couple more.

Chemist = Pharmacy
Woolies = Grocery Store (the most popular chain is Woolworths)
Handbag = Purse
Macca's = McDonalds
Cheerio = the breakfast cereal called cheerios has only just been introduced in australia but typically when we say cheerio we mean a sausage with red skin (you can imagine the first time i heard the term "milk and cheerios I was DISGUSTED)
Togs = swimming costume.

My English friends were also giving me funny looks when I said; "douche" = idiot.
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12 years ago, April 7th 2009 No: 23 Msg: #68561  

Australia Spunk=Goodlooking person
UK Spunk =Cum

OMG now that you mention it I have heard that meaning for it before! I just never put the two versions together. Lol. Gross.

I LOVE Irish and Scottish accents. Very sexy. I also think things are funnier if you say them with a Scottish accent. (Billy Connelly anyone?) I have heard about the north of England being very hard to understand as well. Very broad. I find it amazing that there are people in England who can actually narrow down nearly to the street where you grew up because of your accent. I find that amazing for such a small country. Aussies aren't all that different I don't think and we're spread out MUCH further. Reply to this

12 years ago, April 7th 2009 No: 24 Msg: #68562  
Interesting Krystie. Which state are you from? I'm from Victoria and we've always had Safeway which is only now beginning to change it's name to Woolworths so that we match the rest of the country. (That name always makes me think more of somewhere like Lincraft than a supermarket.) As such we don't have that slang here. And I always thought the little sausages with the red skin were called mini frankfurts? Never heard then called Cheerio's before. When I hear people say 'cheerio' they're usually saying 'goodbye'! And we don't use the word 'togs' much either! Lol. I guess we're more different from state to state than I thought. (I wonder if Macca's is the slang for McDonalds all over the world?) Reply to this

12 years ago, April 7th 2009 No: 25 Msg: #68584  
Macca's is definitely not used in the US. Its part of the Aussie custom of shortening anything longer than a few syllables, like calling Magnetic Island Maggie. In the US, McDonalds is McDonalds. I have heard a few people call it Mickey D's but its not very common.
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12 years ago, April 7th 2009 No: 26 Msg: #68585  
B Posts: 71
Yer its hilarious to me to think how much a language can vary depnding on where you are from. Being from Australia, I grew up with all the Aussie slang unaware that most of it was slang at all. When I moved to England I had a few troubles with a few words and sayings...

When I first arrived at the place I stayed, they showed me my room and I asked for a "doona" for the bed, which to me seemed like a perfectly normal request. The guy looked at me and said "What the hell is a doona?" "Ohhh you mean a Duvet!". To which I replied "What the hell is a duvet?"

After sorting that out I went to get some food from the kitchen. I was looking for a Capsicum but no one had any idea what I was talking about again until I learned that a pepper is the word to use.

The other thing that took a bit of getting used to was a common English greeting. A simple little "Hey, you right?" Which in Australia would mean a sincere "Are you OK?" or "Do you need help?". So for a while I would respond with "Yer I'm just doing..." until someone told me, "You know, we dont care what you're doing its just like a simple Hi"

When I asked people for chips they would try and organise a plate of hot chips for me when I just wanted what they call "crisps". All that took some getting used to.

The US provided a few mishaps also. When I ordered a burger and chips then got a burger with a bag of "crisps", I realised that I should've ordered a burger and fries. Tomato Sauce also confuses Americans when they would usually hear Ketchup.

Sometimes the same word with the same meaning gets lost in translation. When on the plane to Canada and my mate asked for a beer the woman had no idea what he was saying. "A beer. A BEER. A BREW! AN ALE!!" It took him pointing at the can for her to realise and say "Ohhhh a beeeeeRRR" with the strong "R" that North Americans have.

Speaking of the Irish, I've had a few struggles when trying to serve them in bars in Australia. Especially after a few. One came up and said something like "A ge ah scorna a ah fee bean e oo poi" I took me four goes to get that he wanted a "Schooner of VB and a pie".. "Aye a pie cant ya oonderstund wha im sayin?". Looking back its a wonder I survived in Ireland.

And then the worst of all is when you can't even understand your own fellow countrymen. One guy came up while working at that same bar and asked for a "Pot of gold".. I was new on the Sydney bar scene so I responded with "Dude, what do you really want?".. "No really a Pot of Gold". What I learned was, what we call a Middy in Sydney, they call a Pot in Queensland and Victoria. Gold referring to the beer XXXX Gold.

It sucks sometimes but when you look back on it... Good times! Reply to this

12 years ago, April 8th 2009 No: 27 Msg: #68627  
Stacey; ha ha that's hilarious. I'm in Brisbane but I didn't realize it was so different either. I've travelled to Sydney, Perth and (briefly) Melbourne and I've never picked up on those differences. We might have to start a qld vs victoria slang thread.

Mini frankfurts = if you said that in Brisbane the only people who'd understand you is a butcher. And the amount of people I've heard say that they're going to "woolies" when they actually go to coles is unbelievable. Nowhere but Australia... Reply to this

12 years ago, April 8th 2009 No: 28 Msg: #68765  
In Eastern Canada we have Newfies (from the province of Newfoundland). They are a breed of their own and unless you've grown up there it's almost impossible to understand what they say!! They have an accent, talk really fast, use slang and drop the "H" from where they're supposed to be or add them on when the word starts with a vowel ... it's awesome!!

Some Examples:

Stay where you're at till I comes where you're to = Wait there for me
Hows you gettin' on cocky? = How are you today?
Squat that nipper! = Squish that mosquito!
Eh b'y = to agree with what someone is saying
I's da b'y dat builds de boat = I's the boy that builds the boat
Eyes like a caplin goin' offshore = His eyes were bloodshot!
Giv us a bitta dat luh = Give us some of that
Oh me nerves, de got me drove! = My nerves are bad!
Arse foremost = Backwards
Da' roads are like da' bottle = The roads are slippery
crooked = mad/annoyed

... the list goes on and on and on ... google them!! 😊 I have friends who are Newfies that I've known for years and I still have to ask them to repeat what they just said or to speak "real" english! Haha! Reply to this

12 years ago, April 8th 2009 No: 29 Msg: #68766  
^^^^ See being an Aussie and all I don't understand any slang where you make saying something longer so I'd have no hope. Reply to this

12 years ago, April 8th 2009 No: 30 Msg: #68768  
Oooh, and a random English thing that got us some funny looks this year ... apparentlly not all animals around the world say the same thing!!

While travelling, in order to covey the animal I wanted (or in many cases, DIDN'T want to eat), we mock the animal and mimic the sound it makes. So, let's say I want chicken, I'd put my hands in my armpits like I had wings and say "Baaawk, Baaawk", "Woooof!" for a dog, "Moooo" for a cow or my personal favorite "Oink Oink" for a pig (complete with pushing the tip of my nose up into a snout). We'd always get strange looks, but just thought it was because we were grown adults mooing like cows and oinking like pigs!

It turns out that in Thailand, cows don't moo, pigs don't oink, chickens don't bawk! How embarressing!! We bumped into a friend of a friend from Canada who has lived in Thailand for years and he filled us in on the sounds that the animals would make in Thai. It wasn't even in our range of thought a cow might say something different in Thai or Chinese or German! We assumed that because cows moo Canada, they must moo in all other parts of the world as welll!! (If you listen to a cow, that IS what he's saying!!). Oy!
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12 years ago, April 9th 2009 No: 31 Msg: #68865  

Arse foremost = Backwards

Love it! Isn't slang just the best? And cows moo in Oz too, so I wouldn't have thought they could sound different elsewhere either! Thanks for the tip!

When it comes to the distinction between chips and crisps Nomad I'm a bit anal about it myself too but only because my mum's English and she bashed it into my head.
"Can I have some chips?"
"No, I'm not turning the oven on."
"Not them, the cold ones."
"You mean crisps?"
"Yeah, chips."
"What are they?"
"We don't have any chips but if you want crisps yes you may."

And the amount of people I've heard say that they're going to "woolies" when they actually go to coles is unbelievable. Nowhere but Australia...

Lol! Yeah that sounds about right. Like me going to the chemist and asking for 'the aussie panadol'. I mean Heron, I just couldn't remember the name!
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12 years ago, April 11th 2009 No: 32 Msg: #69168  
B Posts: 109
refering to the post about animal sounds in different languages... I found this page describing some of them


apparently depending where you live dogs say

woof, wan wan, ouah ouah, guv guv, hof hof, vah vah

pigs dont just oink they
knor knor, groin groin, boo boo, hrgu hrgu

LOL.. so funny

loved all your aussie isms.... another one my expat friends notice is the use of the word "Heaps"
eg that was heaps of fun, heaps cool

and my best american friend had heard lots of aussies saying "Good on Ya" and she thought it meant good job or the like, so she used it on her aussie landlord who looked at her strangely.. she asked me what she did wrong later... I said that is kinda a sarcastic term for when you havent done a good job.. or you made a mistake... Good on YA!!
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12 years ago, April 14th 2009 No: 33 Msg: #69455  
Yeah 'Good on ya' is a funny one. It is often used sarcastically but can be sincere as well depending on the circumstances. I think if it's sincere we're more likely to say 'you' than 'ya' though. Never really thought about that one before! Reply to this

12 years ago, April 14th 2009 No: 34 Msg: #69475  
My take on "good on ya": I never heard it used sarcastically the entire time I was there!
Is this a city versus outback thing, or a east coast versus west coast thing? Perhaps it's more likely to be sincere in the outback. I lived in both Perth and outback while on my year down under, and I after 6 months in the desert, I had no idea that "good on ya" was a sarcastic phrase. When they said it they meant it!

Oh, and in the NT, you'll find plenty of your stereotypes! Bloody oath, mate!
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12 years ago, April 17th 2009 No: 35 Msg: #69968  
Lol. I always had a feeling that's where the stereotypes were to be found. The accent's much stronger there. I really should travel my own country... Reply to this

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