Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Australian English Dictionary

Sometimes I have a hard time understanding the thick Aussie accent. In young people it is very mild, exotic and pleasant. In the older generation it is thick, mumbled and completely unintelligible by the likes of me. So much in fact that yesterday when a plumber came to make a few repairs to our house, he mumbled something or other about the bathroom. Of course the bathroom needed a few fixes and I nodded, smiled, and followed him there. Suddenly he tries to shut the door to find that I am on the way, gives me the look and raises his big old eye brows. The guy simply wanted to go to the bathroom and surely he thought I was a creep. End of story.

To make matters worse, it is not just the accent that is distinct, but also English words can have different meanings. I am compiling an ever growing list of Aussie standards in case you ever come visit, or hear me say something strange. Here is my version of Australian to English translations:

Bikey: Is a motorcycle gang member.
Boot: The trunk of the car.
Bottle shop: Is a liquor store.
Brekky/Brekkie: Breakfast.
Capsicum: This is what they call bell peppers.
Chemist: This is a pharmacy, i.e. "I'm going to the chemist for some medicine."
Dry cleaners: This could be the dry cleaners, or it could also be a bar where you go "pick up a suit". Get it?
Hotel: It can be an actual hotel, or it could be just a bar. It turns out that according to New South Wales liquor laws, it is easier to obtain a liquor license if you declare your business as a hotel instead of a bar.
Hungry Jack's: The Australian name for the chain Burger King.
G'day: means hello :-)
Jumper: Is a sweater.
News agency: A stand or store that sells newspapers, bus tickets, etc.
Note: That's a bill i.e. "Do you have any five dollar notes?"
Petrol: Is gasoline!
Removalists: Those are the movers.
Servillete: Some places around here use this French word instead of the good ol' "napkin".
Singlet: Is a wife beater, the clothing garment, not the domestically violent man.
Take away: The Australian version of "to-go" i.e. "I will have a large burger and fries for take-away."
Unit: Another word for an apartment.


Parisa said...

I like removalists.

One of my colleagues in California is Australian, and he refers to a member of a Biker gang (e.g. Harley Davidson and leather coat) as a Bikey. It seems too cute a name for the typical person that fits that description, but kind of cute.

Joan said...

The Australian vocabulary is pretty similar to what we use in Singapore too. :) You Americans are too weird for the rest of the world. LOL.

veri maz said...

a liquor store is also a bottlo, a service station a servo.
If in doubt just shorten the word and add an O