My experience with the ‘Aussie’ slang

When I arrived in Straya (Australia) I thought my English was not too bad since I’d been travelling for almost a year and I was always able to communicate and understand people. I came to Australia with the main purpose of working and shortly after my arrival I scored a bar attendant job in a very small country town in the northwest of Western Australia. The bar manager picked me up from the airport and the first sentence he said was “G’day mate. How ya goin, alright?”. I was kind of surprised because he called me mate and it sounded more like greeting a man than a woman. Soon I learned it is common to say mate even to women. The ride from the airport to the town was quite interesting. My new boss had the strongest Australian accent I’d ever heard and I had to ask so many times if he can repeat what he just said. It was quite embarrassing for me but he had a lot of fun 🙂

In the evening of my first night I went to the pub (as a customer). The bartender asked me “What ya after?”. I must have had a big question mark written on my face since everyone around me started laughing. The girl next to me translated and told me it means what I would like to order. I asked if they have vegetarian food and the guy behind the bar said “Veggies and chippies” what means vegetables and hot chips (French fries). He asked if I want a middy of beer and again I had no clue what he was asking. A middy is a small glass of beer in Western Australia whereas it is called a pot in Victoria. While I was waiting for my food a guy next to me got his dinner served and said “Tar” to the waitress. I was curious and asked him what he just said. He explained that “Tar or ta” is like saying “thank you”. After all the travelling and learning I got really tired and told my new manager that I would need a bed. He said “ You wanna bail already? Hang on, I’ll give ya a lift in a minute” (You want to leave already? Wait a minute I’ll give you a ride). Of course I didn’t understand and had to ask for a ‘translation’.

The following day was my first working day and I was really nervous. Would I understand our customers? And what if I get an order wrong? Well, since almost everyone in this town had a really strong accent it happened a few times. Lucky me most of the Australians are laidback and it was never a big deal 🙂 In the restaurant downstairs I saw a sign that said B.Y.O. I’d never seen this sign before so I asked what it means. It stands for ‘bring your own’. If you see it in a restaurant it means you can bring your own alcohol and consume it in the restaurant. For me as a German that was something completely new.

As I mentioned it was a very small town and the community was like a big family. They always did things together where I got invited to. One day a lady came to me and said: “Hey darl, we’re having a barbie this arvo on the beach and watching footie later on. Bring an esky with some stubbies, your bathers and some bangers for the barbie. The kiwi fella can come too. And don’t forget to put on repellent, there are heaps of mozzies around”. I felt like I was in a non-English speaking country, so many words in one sentence I didn’t know. Here the translation: Hey darling, we’re having a BBQ at the beach and watching Australian football later on. Bring an ice box/cooler with some bottles of beer, your swimsuit and some sausages for the BBQ. Your colleague from New Zealand can come too. And don’t forget to put on repellent, there are many mosquitoes around.

I could write endless stories about my experience with the Aussie slang. You should have realised by now that Australians love to shorten words and put an ‘ie’ at the end. Following a few more words that I hear quite often and might help you to get by:

To bail – leave, disappear

Beanie – woollen cap or hat

Bloke – guy

Bloddy oath – that’s certainly true

Bottle shop – shop where you can buy alcohol (you cannot buy alcohol in supermarket)

Booze – alcohol

Brekkie – breakfast

Brizzie – Brisbane

Chrissie – Christmas

To crash – go to sleep (usually at someone else’s place)

Cuppa – cup of tea/coffee

Good on ya mate – well done, congratulations

Hair of the dog – alcoholic drink taken to relieve a hangover

Lippie – lipstick

Lollies – sweets, candies

Macca’s – McDonald’s

Mate’s rate – discount

Milk bar – local shop selling take-away food and other convenience food

Mucking around – playing around with no real purpose

No worries – easy, no problem, it’s ok

Off one’s face – to be very drunk

Old man – father

Push bike – bicycle

Rego – vehicle car registration

Rubbish (verb) – to criticise (that’s rubbish – that’s not good)

Servo – petrol station

Shout – your turn to buy or purchase a round of drinks (it’s your shout)

Pull a sickie – day off work with pay because of pretended illness

Sook – cry baby

Spag bol – Spaghetti Bolognese

Sparky – Electrician

Station – not a railway station but a big farm

Stoked – happy, pleased

Stuffed – tired, worn out

Sunnies – sun glasses

Tea – dinner

Thongs – flip flops

Tomato sauce – ketchup

Torch – flashlight

Vejjo – vegetarian

Will be all right – it will eventually be ok


Leave a Reply