Skip to content

Thinking in Australian

IMG_3090On arriving in Australia, you are at once assaulted with a variety of new accents, languages and slang terms. While you won’t catch me trying to sound Irish or German and I have no idea what those Norwegian people just said, I can help you a bit with some of the terms Australians tend to use.There are a huge amount and these are just the ones that come to mind right now. There are a couple rules of thumb. If you can make it shorter do it. Sometimes that requires putting a y or an o at the end, eg Brissy for Brisbane or Robbo for Rob. And second, trying to say a place name without vowels will get you pretty far.Petrol is gas to us North Americans. Gas to them is LPG which is propane for cars.Arvo means afternoon.G’day… I think this one is pretty self explanatory. It gets used a lot. “How you going” is often used instead. There really is no response expected with this one. It basically means “Hi”.Toilets are obviously restrooms or washrooms. They are quite interchangeable but in some towns they will look at you funny if you say washrooms. I’m not sure if this look means they don’t like you because you are trying to be snotty or they just don’t understand. Someone told me the other day that Canadians say washroom and Americans say restroom. Can anyone else attest to this?Stingers are jellyfish that can usually kill you. Pay attention if you hear this word and are near the water.Jumpers are hoodies or sweatshirts. Sounds like jumpa when said with an Australian accent.A ute is a small car-like utility vehicle. They have the back of a truck but are small and low. They always remind me of El Camino’s except normal people drive them.Short Black, Long Black, Flat White = Coffee. A flat white is made with steamed milk and I’m still not sure what the difference between a short black and a long black is.Mackers is McDonalds. A hangout of mine lately because of the free wireless. The coffee and muffins aren’t bad either. I have to make sure I eat before I go now so I don’t buy any more greasy food. It’s still hard to resist the fries flowing out of the box in the poster. Anyone heard Dane Cook?Servo is a gas station. Most of them have restaurants or cafe’s attached to them. Sometimes a garage or some sort of mechanics station is there as well.Bogan. A very slang term for the, err, unfavorable types that tend to drive around done up cars with huge rims and massive stereo systems. You can usually spot them wearing wife-beaters.Heaps means lots.Hook turn. This really only happens in Melbourne. It’s where the drivers that want to make a right turn(from driving on the left) will pull over to the left side of the road and then cross and turn when all the traffic has gone through. Make sure the intersection doesn’t have a turn lane first since you’ll need to use that if there is one.I’ll add to this list as I hear more. Anyone who knows any more please add them to the comments!