By Tony Fogarty
When Australia was first settled by the British in 1788, this sun-drenched land down-under was introduced to the English language. It was spoken in all its English and Irish accents with a bit of Scots and Welsh thrown in as well. Over time, the amalgamation of the accents plus a dose of cockney rhyming slang has created a unique Australian brand of English which can be a little daunting to first-time visitors.
For example, let’s repeat this first paragraph.
When Oz was first invaded by the Poms in 1770, this sun-burnt dustbowl was exposed to the Pommy lingo. They rabbitted on in all its Pommy and Mick accents, with a bit of Haggis and Taffy chucked in as well. Over time, the mix of accents with a bit of cockney slang has created a ridgy-didge Strine make of Pommy which can be a little daunting to virgin visitors.
Many common words are rounded off to end in ‘o.’ Arvo for afternoon, bottlo for bottle-shop, smoko for morning or afternoon tea break, and vego for a vegetarian. Some words are fairly obvious, like barbie for a barbeque and bathers for a swimming costume, but you might be in a quandary if you are invited to a blue — a fight. If you eat a chook it may mean you have been to Kentucky Duck, and a drop kick and a dipstick are both references to foolish people.
Aussie is pronounced Ozzy, Brisbane Bris-bn, and Melbourne Mel-bn. Online you will find numerous websites with a collection of Aussie-isms. Just Google ‘Australian slang phrases.’
Next time you are in Oz, if you aren’t ‘flat out like a lizard drinking,’ chuck on your ‘stubbies n thongs’ and rock around for a barbie. We’ll ‘crack a few tinnys’ and have a ripper of a night!
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