Australia is, as we all know, a beautiful, mysterious place. It’s a place where some of Earth’s most incredible (and horrifying) creatures dwell, where people's closest neighbours are often a half-hour drive away, and where the entire country’s natural thermostat is constantly set at Oh Crapola Degrees Fahrenheit.
Living quite a darn distance away from most of us, the proud and noble people of Australia have their share of curious customs. They’re patriotic— and slightly isolated—people, who don’t need anybody’s approval.
Visitors and non-natives are often tripped up by one particular aspect of Australian culture: the slang. The first Australians to settle in the country sailed over from Britain, and over the years, they’ve done all kinds of magnificent things to the English language. Check out some of these hilarious posts to see what happens when Australian slang hits the unsuspecting.
15 When You Hit Them With The Whole Family Pack Of Slang
As we’re about to see, the Australian people aren’t shy about taking liberties with the language. They’ve brought the world some of the most amazing names for places and towns ever devised; such as Humpybong, Queensland. When it comes to everyday slang, non-natives really have little chance.
As such, if you want to learn, it’s really best to start slowly. Gradually begin to acclimate yourself. Arvo, for instance, means afternoon, Maccas is McDonald’s, and spag bol is spaghetti Bolognese. Those are a few simple ones.
This post, however, goes way beyond an introduction course. This is a darn Mensa application test of Australian slang. Sanga? Bundy? Ute? Kindie? Nope, sorry, you’ve gone way beyond me with that talk. Come on, people, go easy on us. Walk us through these things.
14 When You THINK You're Being Totally Called Out By An Australian, But You Can't Quite Tell
Now, when it comes to Australian slang, I’m probably not the person you want to come to for help. My expertise will not do you any good. I’m British and so pale that I’d probably burst into flame if I came any closer to Australia than, say, London. Granted, the beautiful island nation is right at the top of my dream vacation destinations list, but I’ll need a while to stockpile the eight-trillion SPF sunscreen I’m going to need.
Having said that, I do know a thing or two. This post, for instance, is clearly a snarky burn directed at somebody who dared badmouth Australian slang. A quick "squiz" is a quick look at Tumblr, you see, and thongs are not underwear. Other than that, I’m afraid you’re on your own with translating this one.
13 When You're 'Carrying On Like A Pork Chop'
Hmm. You know, I’m almost on board with this one. I’m this close...
As I say, I’m British, and if there’s one thing you probably know about the British (other than the tea thing), it’s their legendary sense of humour. British sitcoms have a certain slapstick style, and are often just a little bit adult in tone. The Carry On series of movies perfectly exemplifies these traits.
So, yes, to carry on (as in why are you carrying on like that? Or what a carry on) is to act silly. We can all agree on that. Australia, being Australia, has to go one step further, though, and throws a pork chop into the equation.
Where did the pork chop come from? What is it doing here? The (rest of the) world may never know.
12 When You Can't Quite Agree On Whether You're Disagreeing Or Not
The people of Australia, as we also know, have a reputation for dropping the occasional bad word. You know, in certain extreme situations. As a noun, a verb, an adjective, for emphasis... It's constant and casual.
As such, you’d expect that any difference of opinion between Australian people is going to be laden with foul language. Apparently, though, that’s not the case. First, they’ve got to establish if they actually have any issue with each other in the first place, a stage that they don’t often tend to get past.
"Yeah, but nah." It’s so simple, yet so perfect. It's the ideal line for when you just don’t want to tip your hand. You’re not relinquishing your point, but you’re not bowing to theirs either. Nor are you dismissing it. The question is, then, what are you doing exactly?
11 When You Declare That Chips Are Everything And Everything Is Chips
So far in this rundown, we’ve seen that Australians sure do like to take liberties with the language. They’ll happily complicate things, throw pork chops into sentences where pork chops have no business being… They’re just unstoppable renegades, and the entire world is grateful to them for it.
That’s not all there is to the story, though. Sometimes, Australian slang throws a curveball our way. Over complication? Nah, we have zero time for that. Sometimes, you’ve got to keep things simple.
The whole chips versus crisps debate is one that still rages among pernickety British English/American English speakers everywhere. In Australia, they’ve found a neat little solution to all of that. In Australia, everything is a chip. Doritos? Pringles? Forget all of that fancy talk. All are at one with the higher truth that is chips.
10 When You're All Out Of Tim Tams And Tiny Teddies
As an ardent, unapologetic Potterhead, I’ve often wondered just where exactly J.K. Rowling got some of her naming inspiration from. Certain spells, of course, have roots in other languages, with Incendio simply being the Spanish word for 'fire.' There’s some definite logic as far as that sort of thing goes, and I can follow that.
In the same universe, though, we’ve got fairy stories like Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump, and sweets like Fizzing Whizzbees.
How did she come up with these names? By taking a leaf from Australian slang, probably. Just look at some of these names: Tim Tams. Caramello Koalas. Wizz Fizzes... If these aren’t products you’d find on the shelves of Honeydukes, I don’t know what possibly could be.
Keep up the good work, Australia.
9 When You Need A Translator With You Full Time
So far, I haven’t had much luck working my way through these posts. It’s a little like when you take one of those language courses or give the Rosetta Stone software a try. You might find yourself feeling quite confident in your ability to understand such-and-such a language, until it comes time to actually attempt to read a passage or have a conversation.
You can tentatively pick out the odd word, but that’s as far as it goes. Here in the UK, for instance, Woolworth’s used to be a darn big deal, so ‘Woolies’ came naturally to me.
After that, I became completely lost. Still, that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Luckily, a fluent Australian speaker stopped by this post, and was kind enough to explain just what in heckola was going on here.
8 When You Discover Fairy Bread And Its Numerous Healing Properties
Earlier in this rundown, the more attentive readers among you will have already noticed a reference to 'fairy bread.' With Australian slang being the glorious, often-befuddling concept that it is, there was really no saying what this mysterious foodstuff may have been.
As it turns out, though, fairy bread actually does exactly what it says on the tin. Here in the UK, fairy cakes are generally cupcakes that are decorated with more sprinkles and glittery bits than usual. Fairy bread follows that noble tradition. That is to say, it just looks like a Pop-Tart.
I don’t know about you, but I fully condone this whole concept. It’s one of those things you discover, only to wonder how you ever survived this long without it.
Fairy bread for life.
7 When Sausage Sizzles Are Super Serious Business
Now, as you’ve probably noticed, it’s 2018 right now. We really should be more enlightened than to engage in cheap clichés and such. As a Brit, I can tell you that we don’t all have terrible teeth, and some of us don’t even drink tea.
Outrageous as it may be to even think it, similarly, Australians don’t make a point of throwing shrimps on the barbie. They do have more than their fair share of barbecues, though, what with the heat and all.
But never mind all of that. This isn’t about barbecues. This is about something much more important: sausage sizzles. They’re a kind of communal, charitable barbecue, and they’re a huge deal in Australian culture. If you didn’t know, then let this staunch sausage sizzle advocate educate you.
6 When You Pass On Your Best, Super Vague Australian Wishes
To be totally frank here, I’m not sure we can blame Australia for this one. Not entirely, that is. For what it's worth, this is a common saying in Britain too.
Because of that, I didn’t quite appreciate what an odd one it is. I’ve grown up hearing and saying this, after all. Usually, it’s a neat little conversation closer. You can see how it can be appropriate in a range of situations. Whatever you’re trying to convey (have a good day/night/enema/dental appointment/trip to the Himalayas), the trusty old "have a good one" has you covered.
It’s a matter of perspective, I guess.
After all, covering everything can mean that you don’t really cover anything. It can sound like you’ve got some curious secret that you’re not about to share with your slang-challenged friend.
5 When You're Just Not Done Being Indecisive Yet (Or Are You)
As we saw earlier, the proud people of Australia don’t like to show their hands too early. After all, they’re a people with that rare ability to use obscene language while meaning, and causing, no offense at all. Consequently, it can be tough for them to get their true meaning across.
You can see why, as well, with this sort of talk. It’s not as easy as simply saying that we’re in a bizarre opposite land where 'no' means 'yes' and 'yes' means 'no.' If only things were that simple. Instead, 'yes' can mean 'yes' or 'no' and 'no' can mean 'no' or 'yes,' depending on the configuration in which they’re used. You’ve got to be able to read behind the lines here, I suppose.
4 When Macca's Is Life
Here on the Internet, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, people tend to get a little opinionated. That’s putting it super lightly. In comment sections and on forums across the web, people feel free to express themselves however they like, and woe betide anybody who feels differently than you on a particular topic.
Bitter arguments break out over the most trivial things. Most reasonable non-Australians wouldn’t care what they call McDonald’s down under. Macca’s, you say? It’s a little unconventional, sure, but if Maccy D’s gets a pass (which it does where I come from), surely this does too?
Naturally, our friends in Australia took things one stage further, and now some of the signs actually read 'Macca’s,' as you see here. I can appreciate that, for sure.
3 When The National Thing About Spiders Goes A Little Too Far
So, yes. If there’s one thing even complete beginners in Australia know, it’s that the country has some of the most incredible, fearsome wildlife on Earth. Just about all of the most incredible, fearsome wildlife on Earth, come to that. In the deadly stakes, two particular species are brought up again and again: the snakes and the spiders.
You do not want to mess with Australia’s spiders, that’s for darn sure. So, world-renowned are the country’s arachnids, one of the most hilarious examples of Australian slang was influenced by them.
Yep. This is a genuine phrase, right here. If you think about it for a moment, it makes sense. The funniest part, though, is this: Of all animals, why spiders? But then you remember. Because Australia, that’s why.
2 When You Go Full Australian With Your Photo Captions
As I said earlier in this rundown, whenever you’re learning a language, the key is not to expect too much too soon. There are some super smart prodigies who can become fluent in no time, but the rest of us mere mortals just aren’t that lucky.
It’s a process, like learning to play an instrument. It takes time. Don’t expect to be able to read something long and complicated straight away. That’s just going to ruin your confidence. Instead, let’s check out something easier, less daunting. Something like a photograph caption.
Oh, wait. This is Australia we’re talking about. The raw majesty of Australian slang means that a simple snarky caption is completely incomprehensible. It’s almost as though they’re speaking in code on purpose... Maybe that's the point of it.
1 When Australian Slang May Not Be So Complex After All
Come on now, Australia. You can’t just drop something entirely logical on us right at the end, after confounding us all the way through this rundown with your brilliant words. That’s not the way things work around here.
Still, I’ve got to give you kudos for this one. Being British, I’m totally familiar with the idea of stores being called 'shops.' That, I can get behind. Generally, though, a group of lots of these shops together is dubbed a shopping centre. Only truly fearless, wild rebels without a single poop to give would pull something like this. Not a shopping centre, but just plain shops?
Come on, people. I know it’s constantly super darn hot over there, and the heat makes you drowsy, but this sort of thing’s just lazy.
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