More than just saying “G’day, mate” in that distinctive Australian accent, there’s another aspect of the language in the land down under that you need to be familiar with: Aussie slang. Visiting this country-continent is famous for having excellent beaches, deserts, urbanised cities and the Great Outback. As such, no matter what type of adventure it is that you are looking for – whether it’s being in the middle of a busy city lifestyle or immersing yourself in the great outdoors – Australia has all these for you and more.
A Brief Background of the Australian Language
The good news for Americans and those who consider English as their second language is that almost everyone in Australia speaks English. Perhaps the only ones who are not adept at speaking English are a few elderly who immigrated to the country as adults. There’s not even one common second language in Australia, except for some cities where a high population of Vietnamese/Chinese immigrants or Japanese tourists are present.
If you would like to sample Chinese food in Sydney’s Chinatown, you will find that Cantonese is a dominant language. For tourists who do not speak English, make sure to book for tours which come with guides who speak your particular language so that you can learn more about the country’s history and culture while you’re there.
The Top 10 Aussie Slang Terms to Remember
Now, if you do speak English and you find yourself in a local bar in Sydney, it’s good to familiarize yourself with a few Aussie slang terms. Although most locals are familiar enough with the differences between Australian and typical American English, you don’t want to be the brunt of jokes so make sure that you are in on it by learning about a few Aussie slang terms. Here are a few slang terms that you can arm yourself with prior to gearing up and travelling to the land down under:
- “I’ve gone walkabout.”
Most of the Aussie slang terms are derived from its indigenous culture. When you say that you’ve gone walkabout, it means that you enjoy travelling – be it backpacking around Asia or going on a well-planned trip in an exotic destination outside Australia.
- “Let’s hit the frog and toad.”
Think of this expression as the American equivalent of “Hit the road, Jack.” It simply means “Let’s get out of here, mate.”
- The gray nurse, pineapple and lobster.
These three phrases refer to the notes used in Australia. The gray nurse is $100; the pineapple is $50 and the lobster is $20.
- “How about one for the road, mate?”
Similar to the English expression, having “one for the road” means that you are getting one last drink before going home.
Another variation of this is blimey, which is a simple term used to express surprise.
- “Let’s throw a shrimp on the Barbie.”
This is a local way of inviting someone over to your house for lunch where you can have a barbecue party.
- “No worries, mate. She’ll be right.”
Aussies say this when they mean that there’s really no point in worrying about something.
- “What’s the John Dory?”
John Dory is a fish found in the Sydney Harbour – although the expression has nothing literal to do with that. It simply means “What’s up” or “What’s the story” when someone wants to know what the latest gossip is.
- “Wrap your laughing gear around that!”
Laughing gear basically refers to your mouth – so the expression simply encourages you to eat whatever “that” is.
- Dog’s breakfast.
This expression is usually used by parents who think that their kid’s lives are messy or a “dog’s breakfast”.