One thing that takes a bit of getting used to when travelling abroad is the variety of different languages, accents, and voices. In Asia, those languages are plentiful, rapid, and loud, but English is spoken to a high enough standard that you can get by. In Australia, even though they do speak English, some Aussie slang may make you makes you question whether English is actually the first language.
Aussies have a few turns of phrase that are sometimes baffling, but if you stay here long enough, you may end up speaking the language. We have noticed that some of the things we say now come straight from the mouths of the natives. To make sure that you’re ready, here is a collection of phrases.
A favourite of Aussie cricketer, Michael Clarke, this is usually said when someone is about to tell you something profound like; how the match went, or how bad the traffic is.
If you’ve asked a question, don’t expect a straightforward answer. This literal ‘yes/no’ answer is used at the start of almost every sentence here, and once you’ve noticed it, you’ll laugh every time.
Similar to above, this punctuates most answers to simple questions. “Have you had a good day mate?” “Ah yeah mate..”
GREETINGS AND MEETINGS
‘How ya goin?’
Often pronounced ‘haa ya garn?’ this is the ultimate in grammatically incorrect greetings. Australians are mostly friendly cobbers and you’ll hear this dozens of times a day. Shop assistants, baristas, tradies, your mates, everyone uses this phrase instead of a simple hello.
The quintessential Aussie slang word, you should answer with ‘G’day mate, how ya goin?’
Almost everything Aussies say is enthusiastic. Sure, Steve Irwin and Crocodile Dundee are caricatures of what Aussie blokes are like. Nevertheless, you’ll be lucky to meet a more excitable nationality of people.
‘Ya beauty/ya rippa’
Exclaimed when a goal is kicked in AFL, a 6 is scored in the cricket, or when you’ve been told you’ve got steak, chips, and beer for dinner.
This is Aussie slang for definitely – a very confident exclamation of agreement.
This is Aussie slang for ‘damn right’ – a very, very confident exclamation of agreement.
Translation: “Oh really, do you think so?’
You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me
I know that other nationalities say this as well, but it seems that Aussies say this is an extraordinary amount of times. “Is that the time? You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me!” “40C? You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me!”
OTHER AUSSIE SLANG
= Lots of. Simple as that.
Bus drivers seem to say this a lot. It’s an alternative of ‘no worries’.
‘No dramas mate’
I’ve only ever heard this word used by tradesmen; carpenters, electricians and the likes. Australia’s construction industry is huge and is the lifeblood of it’s economy. Tradies use this word to express that something was enjoyable: “Did you have a good weekend?” “Yeah, it was grouse mate!”
Translates as busy or full, this word is used to describe Melbourne’s perpetually busy roads: “Jeez, the freeway is chockers tonight!”
‘There’s been a smash…’
When it’s chockers on the freeway tonight and there’s been an accident. It’s not an accident, or a crash, its a violent, flame-covered, SMASH!
GOOD ON YA, COBBA
Aussie slang comes in all shapes and sizes and, if you’re not from here, really can take you by surprise. Hopefully this short guide will help you navigate any potential awkward conversations when you get here.