I have a good friend, Katrina, who lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Over the years, our correspondence has rendered me “bilingual”. I can now speak American English and Australian English. Now I can read her emails without asking for a translation!
My buddy Les is from a different part of Australia, Queensland, which is adjacent to and north of South Australia, so I expect there may be some regional differences. Some of the terms shown below are courtesy of Les.
Australians have a fondness for shortening words and adding “y” or “ie”to the end. Or they’ll drop the end of a word and make up something entirely different. Here are some examples below:
barbie = barbeque (everyone knows this one thanks to Paul Hogan, aka “Crocodile Dundee”)
Pommy = an Englishman
Chrissie = Christmas
chocky = chocolate
piccy = photo or picture
chook = chicken
hoon (my personal favorite Aussie word) = hooligan
mongrel = general word for a person of low repute
arvo = afternoon
have you been crook? = have you been under the weather?
dunny = toilet
rels = relatives
my shout = my turn to pay the tab
brown-eyed mullet = a turd in the sea (where you’re swimming!)
petrol = gasoline
Hooroo = goodbye
Now all you non-Aussies, play along. Try to guess the American English equivalent to these Oz words:
cocky (used as a noun, can actually mean 2 things)=
My biggest wish (besides owning my own bookstore) is to visit Australia someday. Kat has invited me a million times, but I am waiting until my body is physically reliable to make a trip of that magnitude. At the moment I think the 18 hour plane ride would do me and my muscles in (I have a connective tissue disease similar to lupus), and I also get migraines fairly often. Here’s hoping I get there soon – the ‘roos are waiting!