Colourful Australian slang, or strine, has its origins in the archaic cockney and Irish of the colony’s early convicts as well as the adoption of words from the many Aboriginal languages. And for such a vast country, the accent barely varies to the untutored ear; from Tasmania (“Tassie”) to the northwest you’ll find little variation in the national drawl, with a curious, interrogative ending to sentences fairly common – although Queenslanders are noted for their slow delivery.
One of the most consistent tendencies of strine is to abbreviate words and then stick an “-o” or, more commonly, an “-ie” on the end: as in “bring your cozzie to the barbie this arvo”. This informality extends to the frequent use of “bloody”, “bugger” and “bastard” – all used affectionately of course. There’s also an endearing tendency to genderize inanimate objects as, for example, “she’s buggered, mate” (your inanimate object is beyond repair).
All sound a bit complicated? Taken from the Rough Guide to Australia, here’s our guide to the best (and worst) of Australian slang.
G’day Hello, hi. Short for “good day”.
Beg yours? Excuse me, say again?
No worries That’s OK; It doesn’t matter; Don’t mention it.