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We’re both speakin’ English!


Lately more than ever I’ve been noticing the subtle differences in the American, English and Australian grasps of the English language. I’m misunderstood almost daily and therefore this topic has been quite significant to me recently. From the beginning of my time abroad, I never expected to have such a difficult time being understood in America, I mean we’re all speaking English after all. But oh boy, it’s been tough, especially when ordering a steamer in the ‘stro! My problem is definitely a combination of my accent and the fact that I talk a million miles an hour, but since being here I have learned that Aussie’s are slack buggers when it comes to language – we cut off the ‘g’ on almost every word ending in ‘ing’ and we compact the ‘er’ sound in to a simple ‘ah’ sound. I know most people think that’s a sign of laziness, but as an economics major I’d argue that it’s efficient and kind of brilliant.

Basically, I’ve noticed how our relaxed, chill way of life is really reflected in our relaxed, chill, lazy/efficient grasp of the English language. Can you blame us, though? Who has time to waste on proper pronunciation when there’s the sun to enjoy, the beach to chill at and shrimp to chuck on the barbie!
Over my time here I’ve compiled a list of words or phrases that have really confused people or caused misunderstanding, and I’d like to share it with you all. Mainly so that next time anyone attempts to mock my accent or fool me of their heritage, they might be a little better versed in how to speak Aussie, and perhaps a little more convinced:
G’day – Hello
Hoo-Roo (which we’d probably just pronounce as ‘oo-Roo) – Goodbye
Bogan – kind of like a Redneck
Drongo – Idiot
Let’s blow this popsicle stand (a favourite saying of my father’s) – Let’s go
Sheila – Female
Bloke – Male
Grog – Alcohol
Bottle-O – Liquor store/Bottle shop
‘ow yer goin’ – How are you
Fair Dinkum – Fair/true/legit
Steamer I’ve noticed we pronounce more as steama
Laugh we say more as laff
Class – Claass or cl-ahh-ss
Due – Doo (as opposed to d-yew/dyu)
Stewed – Stoowed (as opposed to st-yew-ed)
Multi task – multee-task (instead of mult-eye-task)
It’s difficult to convey the difference in writing, so I’m more than happy to illustrate the accent in person, fair dinkum! And if confusion still arises, consult this great online dictionary of Aussie slang:
It’s a little bewdy 😉

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