The Australian language, I think it’s fair to say, is not the same as English. Despite all its ostensible similarities, it’s the specific words which give it away. Underneath the union jack nestled in the corner of its flag is a host of strange words and phrases….

Been told to rack off? You’d better leave.
Gone to the pub? Ask for a schooner.
Have the shits? No, you’re not struck down by a bout of food poisoning, you’re just angry.

So what’s the go with that?

Well, every country touched by the sticky fingers of the British Empire seems to have developed its own indecipherable variation on the English language (not unlike the various localities throughout England, I might add).

But my favourite aspect of the Australian language which seems wholly unique are the abbreviations, or the mangling of words usually designed to shorten them while still loosely retaining their original meaning.

I first noticed this as we sped through Queensland. No longer were we headed towards Rockhampton or Gladstone, but Rocky and Glady, all the while utes looking like they’d failed their regos shooting past us. Brizzy came shortly thereafter, and in the run up to that we were frequently passing Fisho’s, or other signs for cheap cues, avos, paws, snags or other forms of tucker we could put on the barbie. One sign hollered out “why cook when you can take away a chook”.

Countless local thong wearing Aussies have called “G’day!” as I pedal past them in the arvo.
And although we’re often tempted to stop for a chin wag over a stubbie, we continue on our route (pronounced ra-owh-t, most certainly not root).

My personal favourites though have to be those present in every town- the bottle shops (often drive through, encouraging you to buy your alcohol while driving…), and of course the pokies. Not some seedy red light district, but slot machines found in every watering hole.

I can only assume these abbreviation are a way to get around the fast paced lifestyle that befalls most Australians.

Fair dinkums, I say.

I mean, what do I know anyway?
I’m just a Pom.

I can only imagine what America’s gonna be like….


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  1. Too right, Mate. Why waste energy on syllables when ya could be sinkin’ a coldie?

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