15 Aussie English
In the 200 odd years since settlement, Australian English and British English
have drifted apart. Words that met an untimely death in the old country have
remained alive in Oz. New words have been invented. I'll stick to words and
phrases that are so deeply entrenched that I have to remind myself that my
British and North American friends might not understand what I'm saying. I
hasten to add that I was born in the UK and retain some memory of how English
was spoken in that country.
Ocker: vulgar speech: sometimes faked by middle-class Australians pretending to
come from working-class backgrounds: developed to perfection by former Australian
Prime Minister, Bob Hawke. Based on Oscar, a vulgar little larrikin in a 1960s TV
Larrikin: boisterous, often badly behaved young man. 19th century English dialect.
Galah: Stupid person. After the rosy cockatoo, famed for hanging upside down in
Tucker: food. From early 19th century British slang.
Mate: Used by people trying to be friendly and people with a bad memory for
Thongs: sandals, flip-flops. Not to be confused with the North American "G-string".
Wowser: censorious person. Used of killjoys trying to stop you having a good time.
Dunny: toilet. From Scottish dialect.
Thunder box: toilet.
Poor bastard: term of affection.
Clever bastard: term of abuse.
Mob: crowd. Used for both animals and people.
Wog: minor infection.
Hoon: lout, especially one who drives dangerously.
Dinkum: genuine, true, honest.
Sheila: girl or woman. From Irish form of Celia.
Shonky: unreliable, dishonest.
Spiel: story. From German.
Wag: play truant.
True blue: worthy, genuine.
Bitumen: tarmac. Refers to sealed roads as opposed to dirt roads.
Creek: intermittent watercourse, usually s teep-sided. Differs from American and
Billabong: water hole, particularly in a dry riverbed . Aboriginal.
Property/station: large farm or ranch. The British term "farm" didn't seem
appropriate for the huge holdings allotted to early settlers.
Grazier: Someone who farms sheep or cattle.
She'll be right: Don't worry.
Good on yer: thanks.
Goodbye: God be with you. No longer used in that sense.
Gorblimey: struth. From "God blind me." Not much used anymore.
Wotcha: hullo. From "What hails you?" Not much used anymore.
Exercise: Translate the following:-