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A Quick Guide to Aussie Slang

The Australian laidback attitude is well-known all over the world. It’s no wonder life is more relaxed in the land down under. The heat, pace of life and friendliness of the locals creates a vibe that’s sometimes a little leisurely but one that always has a lot of heart. And, when you think about Australia there are no-doubt some iconic places, people and, of course, words that come to mind. Anyone for a barbie?!

Yes, Australians love to abbreviate their words which can be a bit of a learning curve for international visitors. With this in mind, we have put together a brief list of some of the most common words, pronunciations and expressions so you can speak like a local in no time at all!

So, how about pronunciation?

Throughout the world, you’ll find local pronunciation rules and quirks. Australia is no different. And, you need to look out for differences in pronunciations of some vowels in particular.

  • ‘a’ becomes ‘i’. It may sound a little strange in theory, however, in practice, you’ll know what we mean. For example, mate becomes ma-ite.
  • ‘ou’ becomes ‘eah’. Putting this into practice, a phrase such as ‘see you’ becomes ‘see yeah’.
  • ‘i’ becomes ‘oi’. Taking this pronunciation into account, the word ‘night’ will become ‘noight’.

As you spend time here, you’ll tend to notice these little differences less and less until you’re speaking like a local yourself!

Don’t Australians tend to cut their words short?

One hugely noticeable trend when it comes to Aussie slang is to use shortened versions of as many words as is humanly possible. You’ve already heard of the word barbie being used instead of barbecue. Similarly, afternoon is arvo, football is footie and so on. (Bear in mind though that Australians don’t shorten every single word so you’re sure to be able to understand most conversations with ease!)

What are some commonly used Aussie expressions?

As with all languages, Australians have a few expressions that are typically Aussie. Examples of ones you’re likely to hear include:

  • Can’t be bothered – I could do that, but you know what? I just don’t feel like making the effort, so I won’t.
  • Cool as – The ‘as’ provides emphasis, so if something is as cool as then it’s extremely cool!
  • Deadset – True.
  • Dodgy – If something is dodgy then it’s not right.
  • I’m knackered – I’m totally exhausted.
  • Taking a sickie – Telling your workplace you’re unwell when you’re not!
  • Woop woop – Middle of nowhere.

These are just some expressions you’ll hear. There are plenty more you’ll learn when you get here!

Short list of some Aussie slang

The following are some of the most popular slang terms in Australia. You’ll likely hear at least a few of these on a daily basis.

  • Bogan – Australian redneck
  • Bush – Australian countryside
  • Croc – crocodile
  • Heaps – a lot
  • Maccas – McDonald’s
  • Servo – Petrol service station
  • Ta – thank you

So, there you have it – a quick starter guide to Aussie slang, commonly used expressions and pronunciations. As with everything, you’ll learn better in actual practice than you ever could from just reading about it. However, these are some good tips, so you’ll be ready to come and say g’day!

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