16 Mar 2008

Australian Lingo

I wanted to document here all of the words and phrases that Australians use that either we don’t have or don’t use as often as they do. I need to do this right now, before these phrases become integrated into my vocabulary and I forget which ones were once new to me. I’m sure that I’ll get back to the states in July and people will look at me funny when I use these words. Everything on this list is something I’ve heard used in actual conversation.

Before doing that I need to correct a popular misconception. An Australian would never say “throw a shrimp on the barbie” because here the word for shrimp is “prawn.” I have yet to eat a single prawn since arriving here, but I’ve tried duck, kangaroo, and lamb, and liked all of them.

And without further ado, the list:

Letters:
‘z’ is pronounced ‘zed’
‘h’ is pronounced ‘haich’ (with a leading soft h sound)

Words:
mate - buddy, good friend
brekkie - breakfast
pissed - drunk
Macca’s - abbreviation for McDonald’s (similar to Mickey Dee’s, I suppose)
cheers - thanks
seedy - dirty
dodgy - sketchy
uni - short for university (which is what they call college here)
goon - really, really crappy wine (usually boxed)
seppo - American (derived from septic tank, which rhymes with yank)
pom - Brit
bloke - guy
keen - as in ”I’m keen to hit up Macca’s right now”
jelly - Jello (Australians don’t do PB&J sandwiches)
kebab - kabob
gridiron - American football
footy - AFL (Aussie Rules Football)
Aussie - Australian (pronounced Ozzie)
bottler - liquor store
budgie smuggler - very skimpy bathing suit (speedo)
skull - chug (as in an alcoholic beverage)
grog - alcoholic beverage
middy - small size (285ml) beer glass
schooner - large size beer glass, similar to a pint
rubbish bin - trash can
toilet - bathroom
washing - laundry (as in “I need to do my washing today”)
washing powder - laundry detergent
sunnies - sunglasses
shrapnel - change, coins
notes - bills (as in “five dollar notes”)
tute - tutorial (similar to a recitation)
timetable - class schedule
bush - the outback
queue - line
Tazzy - Tasmania (Although, incidentally, I’ve started using it to refer to a person from Tasmania, not the actual country, as one of my good friends who lives right next to me is from Tasmania and I need a word to come back with when he calls me a seppo. It’s catching on.)

Phrases:
How’re you going? - How’s it going? (This one really bothers me, as it sounds like a combo between “How’re you doing” and “How’s it going” but it’s used quite often and I’m starting to get used to it.)
No worries - No problem
She’ll be right - Don’t worry about it
Good on ya - hard to define, but similar to “good job” or “nice”
Full stop - said after something to provide emphasis, such as “If I don’t get some food right now I’m going to pass out, full stop.”
Get on the piss - start drinking