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Aussie slang – do you know the lingo

Julia Gralberg

Stevo is having a barbie this arvo so I’ll jump in the ute to grab some snags and pop to the bottle-O and get a slab, a voddy, and some stubbie holders and, oh, I’ll have to pull a sickie tomorrow mate!

The Australian accent is way more than just a dialect, it’s actually at times a completely different language as anyone who’s ever watched Crocodile Dundee, Neighbours or Flying Doctors in the 80s can testify.


Most people find the Aussie accent equally endearing as confusing. Ever wondered how Steve Irwin managed to sound happy and cheerful whilst wrestling a massive crocodile? Well, as a true Aussie he would let his inflections go up at the end of each sentence making it sound like he was having a jolly good dialogue with the bloodthirsty reptile whilst almost being eaten alive.


And it’s not just Steve Irwin, you can spot any Aussie from miles away just by listening to their inflections go up at the end of every sentence making every statement sound like a question. ‘This is a really nice burger’, ah ok, do you think it’s a good burger? Or are you asking me if it is? Leaving you wondering what on earth you’re meant to respond to that statement which could also possibly, at the same time, be a question.


And then we have Hugh Jackman when he charmingly says ‘G’day mate’ and you can’t help but think he’s the cutest man alive. Well, tell your partner to say ‘good eye might’ really fast a few times and voila – there you have your own Aussie dreamboat!


So first things first, where does the accent actually originate from?

The British Empire had been shipping convicts over to Australia for a while and as a result, by 1788 the colonial settlement was established and a new dialect of English started to emerge.


It’s claimed that the accent was heavily influenced by Brits particularly from South East England and Irish. It’s also believed that cockney can be directly traced in today’s Aussie accent.


According to Dean Frenkel, a communications expert at Victoria University in Melbourne, the dialect developed from the early British settlers and convicts who were constantly on the sauce. Not without controversy, he claims that the slurry speech of drunk Brits is the backbone of today’s Aussie accent. Arrr!


However, it wasn’t until 1964 the term ‘Strine’ was coined which is ultimately the name of the accent most people in Australia speak today.


Kathy and Kim, famous Australian TV-characters with strong Aussie accents.


Interestingly despite Australia being such a large continent, it doesn’t have a lot of local dialects within the country like for example the UK. For the untrained ear, most Aussies sound very similar, but the different variations are classified into; broad, general and cultivated although a strong Aussie accent is commonly known as a ‘bogan accent’.


Most people would agree that Aussies sound happy, cheerful and fun. However, not everyone is a fan of the down under dialect. For example, the old British prime minister Winston Churchill once referred to the accent as ‘the most brutal maltreatment ever inflicted upon the mother tongue’. Not that Mr Churchill would ever approve of showing up to an Accadacca concert in trackies and sunnies.



Accent guide

Whether you are planning a trip down under or just want to get a new accent under your belt, blokes and sheilas, it’s time to get down to business. This is what you need to know:


Firstly, always add an ‘i’, ‘e’ or an ‘o’ at the end of most words. Breakfast becomes ‘brekkie’ and Johnny is Jonno. Then drop the ‘r’ and ‘g’ so for example, ‘fishing’ becomes ‘fishin’ and ‘butter’ becomes ‘butta’ and together sounds more like ‘tagetha’. Now, turn your hard A sound into an “aye” so ‘way’ sounds more like ‘ w-aye’ like you are saying ‘eye’. And lastly, make sure you make every sentence sound like a question. Confusing? Here are a few words to get you started…


G’day — hello

Tradie — tradesman

Snag — sausage

Sanga — sandwich

Trackies — track suit

Boardies — board shorts

Veggies — vegetables

Rellies /rellos — relatives

Barbie — barbecue

Bogan — unsophisticated

Fair Go — be fair

Accadacca — ACDC

Arvo — afternoon

Servo — service Station

Agro — aggressive

Preggers — pregnant

Mozzie — mosquito

Sunnies — sunglasses

Sickie — sick day

Exxy — expensive

Chook — chicken

Dunny — toilet


Time to have a crack at these abbreviations and remember Aussies are a friendly bunch and after 1am in the bar, we all (according to Dean Frenkel) sound Australian.

Book Ovolo Australia Hotels now, good luck and good onya, mate!



Julia Gralberg

Julia Gralberg is a freelance travel writer, editor of Hotel & Resort Guide, Lux Nomade and founder of Boutique Communications Consultancy, Lux Collective. When she isn’t busy jumping in hotel beds and eating her way through breakfast buffets you’ll find her on her yoga mat.