Sunday, February 15, 2009

How to speak Australian

Parlez-Usted Anglais?!

Australians have a very different way of speaking than what I'm used to back in the states. Now that I've been here for 10 weeks or so, the language isn't so foreign anymore. But I can imagine coming back home and using some of these words while you stare back at me with confusion. Today I'm going to share a few slangs with you.
People here abbreivate everything. Some words are just too darn long for the folks downunder, so who wants to waste time saying the whole thing? Not these people. So for example, a word like university, that's a big one, the Australians chopped off the last three syllables and just call it uni. Barbecue, another big word, is a barbie.
Other notables: Sunglasses=Sunnies, McDonald's=Maccas, Swimming Trunks=Boardies or togs, Flip Flops=Thongs, Footy=Australian rules football, Esky=cooler for your beers, and Ute=any pickup truck or utility vehicle.
One I've encountered at work is when Australians say numbers, they abbreviate it by saying "double" or "triple" if there are consecutive numbers. For example a customer is giving me their outlet number that is 5522210, they will say "double five, triple two, one, zero." But if you add up the syllables, it takes longer to say the double and triple than it would be to just say "five five, two two two one zero" So far everybody used the double or triple slang when speaking to me.

Chief wore # zero zero

Nicknames are popular here. Most last names are changed by adding a Y or an O at the end. So my friends the York brothers are referred to as "Yorky" and their friends refer to me as "Watto"....which makes me laugh, I think in my life, We've exhausted every nickname you can think of for Watterson...watts, watty, watto...

There's actually a Star Wars character named Watt-O

Food is a bit different. Any candy's are called lollies. French Fries are referred to as chips, and potato chips are also called chips. That's not confusing.

Australians put sauce on everything. What type of sauce? Who knows...barbecue, ketchup, mystery sauce, gravy. Everything I order, I am asked "Want sauce with that?....sounds vaguely familiar to "Want fries with that?" wouldn't you say?

I eat a lot of chicken schnitzel here. which is a fancy term for flattened chicken with bread crumbs. It's a pretty good meal.

Schnitzel and Chips, no sauce

Here's a word that I hear almost everyday: suss. It looks like this in a sentence, "This party seems a bit suss." (as in suspicious) or it can also mean to work things out like "Lets suss it out." I actually was confused just writing this paragraph as I asked my roommate to use it in a sentence.

Feel free to ask me about other slangs you might know about.

Switching gears now, I'll give you a little update on my last week. Work is getting better. I took almost 50 calls on Friday. So I'm starting to get the hang of things. The computer systems are beginning to make a bit more sense.

I talked to my friend Bear today for the first tme in a good few months. I went to Carroll College with Bear. Here's a picture from February 2008. I have never showed anyone these photos because it was the day the Patriots lost in the Superbowl and I didn't feel like remembering that game for a long time.

Ryan and Bear, Feb 2008, Waukesha WI

Tomorrow night I have my second hockey game. Say a prayer for me.

I've been thinking that Ryan Down Under is kind of a boring and easy name for my blog, so in the next 10 days to two weeks, if you want to send me some ideas for a new title, I will collect all the ideas and then we'll have a vote. There's an option on here to post a poll or a vote. So please send any ideas for a new name of this blog to I will post them when I get four or five and you can vote for your favorite.

Alright, off to meet a friend for dinner.

Let's put another shrimp on the barbie...


- Edmund - said...

I learned the other day that when Americans say, "fanny" we are referring to someone's backside. When Aussies or Brits say "fanny" they are referring to female genitalia. A great conversation piece that one is. lol

Judd said...

"watterson": w-a-double t-e-r-s-o-n.

One of my fave slangs is "posi". This girl was referring to how she say people on TV lining up at the inaugural parade to get a good look at Obama and how the were trying to get a good "posi": position.

Sandi = sandwich
Salvation Army = Salvos
Lappy = laptop
Spready = spreadsheet