Australian Culture Geographic

A form of English, known as strine, or Aussie slang, has evolved over time and reflects the uniqueness of the Australian culture and language.

Friendly lot the Aussies. They'll invite you to a barbie in their backyard,toss a shrimp on it for you...greet you with a "g'day mate" and proceed to delight you with the colorful language that comes from emerging as a nation in complete geographical isolation from the rest of the world. Of course not everyone speaks "strine" ("Australian" pronounced the Australian way). The following guide will help you, though, to understand those down under at the average informal outback gathering.

One trend you might notice, when listening to Australian speech, is the use (or perhaps over use)of the long "e" sound, which is tacked on to the end of many a word. If you are offered a tinnie, for instance, -take it, as it is a can of beer. If a mate will be back in a minnie, you can safely expect him back in sixty seconds. If the postie has delivered a pressie- then you are in luck. You have been given a present and it has arrived courtesy of your mail man. Unless he has "˜chucked a sickie" of course. (Telephoned to say he will not be at work..perhaps for no reason other than he feels like a day off or at the


In your conversations down under, if you want to fit in and show you have mastered this "ee" rule, be sure to call your breakfast your breakkie. Your sunglasses, your sunnies. A piece of candy, a lolly. (Don't do your lolly though, for that means you have lost control and are angry.)

Call a biscuit- a bikkie. And the mosquito buzzing by you,-a mozzie.

When you are told something that just leaves you totally surprised and stunned, your expressive cry should be either "Crikey!".(Oh my goodness!) or the slightly stronger

"Blimey!" (Oh my golly goodness!).

For a touch of variety, Aussies have been known to change the "ie" emphasis to "o" in a lot of their informal lingo, too.

Get petrol for your car at the servo, for instance. (Service station) Be sure to pay its rego. (Registration)

Perhaps this arvo, if you can. (Afternoon)

Australian language is also colorful . And not just in its nature. If something is true blue- it is genuine 100% Australian, or "dinky-di", as one says in Oz-Speak. If you have a blue, however- that is something of which to be less proud. You are having an argument with someone, and it is heated. This is also called "chucking a wobbly" or "spitting the dummy."

You might hear references to your rellies, too, when you chat with an Aussie. These of course are your relations. If you are told "Bob's your uncle", there's no need to scratch your head wondering how the Australian managed to find out the names of your family members. That expression simply means "ok..everything is under control."

It's similar to "she'll be apples, mate!" and is said to reassure you that everything is going as planned - fairly much in line with the laid back 'all will be well in the end' attitude that is so common in the Great South Land.

Yes positive souls they are down under..if someone wins $2 in the lottery but was hoping for $2 could expect the average response to be something like "better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick." And you can't argue with that!

"Positive speak" down under also includes phrases such as "good on ya" ( "oh well done", said in praise) and "Bonza mate' (Good my friend!). Some patting on the back is a little more cryptic than the above though. Strange as it may seem, you can even consider it a compliment if you happen to be called a "˜dag'( someone who doesn't dress in a chic manner and could even be called a nerd) or a "˜nong' (someone silly) by your peers. Yes "ya dag!" can be translated as "oh you are truly unique and we accept and like you!" In Australia, when uttered appropriately, a put down can be the ultimate expression of acceptance. It even leaves one feeling loved. It's not really wise to call your potential boss at a job

interview a bit of a dag or a nong-head, but among acquaintances and in informal situations,it's how friendship is expressed.

Years of isolation from the rest of the world perhaps have made Australia a nation of people who lend a hand to each other, as there is no other way to survive. So you

might well feel welcomed when mixing down under and have a tinnie or stubbie (beer in a bottle) thrust in your hand. Just don't get carried away waving back to Aussies if you are outdoors and see them waving to you, though. Particularly if it is hot and you are near food. They aren't saying hello. It's just the Great Australian Salute. And they are shooing away the flies.

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