One of the most fun things about being in Australia is distinguishing their vernacular from my own.  I picked up on a lot of expressions and fun words during the first few months of Matt’s and my relationship, but now I have an entire city of Aussies to observe.  I thought I should share some of what I’ve heard!

1. The first rule of Aussiespeak is to replace words like lots/really/very/many with the word “heaps.” Ex. I love him heaps, that place is heaps far, there are heaps of kangaroos over here.  I think anyone who’s been to Aus probably picked up on this fairly quickly.  It’s definitely the one I’ve noticed most since I met Matt.

2. Young people in Australia rarely seem to “arrive” somewhere, rather they “rock up.”  This one took me awhile to figure out, and I eventually had to ask Matt what people were saying.  In the Aussie accent it sounds like “ruck up” so I needed clarification. Ex. I rocked up after everyone had already left, we’ll just rock up around 5 o’clock.

3. The one that probably made me giggle the most is “how you going?”  I assume this is shortened from “how ARE you going.” For some reason this hasn’t yet ceased to make me chuckle on the inside.  It’s such a minute difference, but I myself would never say “how are you going” rather than “how are you doing/how’s it going.”

4. Chips=fries. Same as in the UK.

5. Footy (with a y, never an ie) refers to Australian football.  You didn’t know there was such a thing? Neither did I until I started dating Matt.  Ex. We’re going to the footy tonight (We’re going to the football game), I’m not watching the footy tonight (on TV), let’s go kick the footy around (the ball).

6. I’ve heard both Matt’s mother and his cousins refer to a napkin as a “serviette,” which is actually the French word.  I’m not sure if this is universal or just a family thing.

7. I think my favorite thing I’ve heard so far is “chucking a sad.”  This is to describe someone who’s upset or pouting. Ex. Carrie chucked a sad when she didn’t get her way, he’s chucking a sad and won’t come out tonight.

8. Takeaway=To go, carry out, take out. Ex. We don’t have time to stay so we’ll grab that in a takeaway cup.

9. Trolley=Cart at the grocery store.

10. Hire/hire out=Rent. Ex. Want to hire some bikes for the day and go touring?

11. Sultanas=Raisins. Fun fact: Kellogg’s Sultana Bran has way more raisins in it than Kellogg’s Raisin Bran. And the flakes are different.

12. Capsicum=Peppers (red, yellow, orange and green) This one still doesn’t make much sense to me.

13. Prawns=Shrimp. Though we argued about this when I first arrived because I think prawns and shrimp are two different things. I think wiki determined so as well, but I can’t remember.

14. Soccer=Soccer! Since they have Australian Football (footy) here, they use the word soccer like us!

15. They often use the word “partner” instead of husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend here. Apparently it’s a Kiwi (NZ) thing, but it’s spreading to Aus.

That’s all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure there will be plenty more to report in the next few months.  Until then I’ll “catch yous later!”


Author: emma a.

I'm Emma, a Minnesota girl getting back in touch with my creative side. Since graduating university in 2008 (the first time), I've been traveling and living abroad. Seven years ago I settled in Australia with my husband. I love running, reading, writing, knitting and pilates. I'm also a physiotherapy student and soon-to-be mother of a baby boy.

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