Australian English: main characteristics

Specific character of English language. Words of Australian Aboriginal origin. Colloquialisms in dictionaries and language guides. The Australian idioms, substitutions, abbreviations and comparisons. English in different fields (food and drink, sport).

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  • Introduction
  • I. Australian English. Main characteristics
  • 1.1 History and origins
  • 1.2 Words of Australian Aboriginal origin
  • 1.3 Australian Spelling
  • 1.4 Australian Language Peculiarities
  • 1.5 Australian to English languages comparison
  • II. Australian slang
  • 2.1 The colloquialism
  • Colloquialisms in dictionaries and language guides
  • The Australian idiom
  • Substitutions, abbreviations and comparisons
  • Convict sources
  • Aboriginal languages
  • Gentle Insults
  • Perverse reversals
  • Nicknames describing Australian States
  • Lost phrases
  • III. Australian English in different fields
  • 3.1 Food and drink
  • Beer glasses
  • Sport
  • Cricket
  • Football
  • 3.2 Vehicles
  • Work vehicles
  • Police vehicles
  • 3.3 Military slang
  • 3.4 Rhyming slang
  • Conclusion
  • Literature


The urgency of conducted analysis is proven by the fact that all types of English language have their own peculiarities which are always difficult to get. The same is true for the Australian English. That is especially takes place and is important for people who have to spend some time in Australia, because even if they know English on a good level they can be very confused by lots of words and expressions Australians often use in their everyday speech. Their history, people, life became the reasons of their language peculiarities. A lot of researches were conducted to examine Australian way of speech and slang.

So, the purpose of conducting this yearly project consists in the determination of such peculiarities and main features of Australian English from different points of view (history, origin, spoken language, slang and so on). According to this purpose the main task of this degree includes carrying out of Australian English analysis using information about Australian speech in different fields.

In compliance with specified purpose and main task of the research the following tasks were set in this project:

1. Firstly, to examine Australian English itself, its peculiarities, history, origin, aboriginal influence, spelling and so on. To determine difference between men and women speech in Australia.

2. Secondly, to examine Australian slang including information about colloquialism, history and ways of Australian spoken speech, Australian slang dictionary.

3. Thirdly, to trace Australian speech peculiarities in different life spheres: sport, food, vehicles, etc.

To accomplish these tasks three clauses were written. The first clause includes the information concerning definition of Australian English, its peculiarities, Aboriginal English, Australian spelling, Australian language and English comparison and so on. The second clause of this project contains the information about Australian slang, its features and history, including Australian slang dictionary. The third clause is dedicated to the Australian speech in different life spheres.

Different literature including works of famous English specialists in analyzed field () and online sources of information was used as methodological and theoretical data base for writing of this project.

Structurally the project consists of the introduction, three clauses, conclusion and list of information sources.

I. Australian English. Main characteristics

Spoken Australian English is thought to be highly colloquial, possibly more so than other spoken variants. Whether this idea is true or not, a substantial number of publications aimed at giving an overview of Australian English have been published.

Many books about Australian lore have been published, beginning with Karl Lentzner's Dictionary of the Slang-English of Australia and of Some Mixed Languages in 1892. The first dictionary of based on historical principles that covered Australian English was E. E. Morris's Austral English: A Dictionary of Australasian Words, Phrases and Usages (1898).

After a long period of uninterest and/or antipathy, the first synchronic dictionaries of Australian English began to appear. In 1976, the Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary was published, the first dictionary edited and published in Australia. In 1981, the more comprehensive Macquarie Dictionary of Australian English was published, after 10 years of research and planning. Updated editions have been published since and the Macquarie Dictionary is widely regarded as authoritative. Oxford University Press also publishes a range of dictionaries of Australian English, including the Oxford Dictionary of Australian English.

Various publishers have also produced phrase books" to assist visitors. These books reflect a highly exaggerated and often outdated style of Australian colloquialisms and they should partially be regarded as amusements rather than accurate usage guides.

1.1 History and origins

Australian English incorporates many terms that Australians consider to be unique to their country. One of the best-known of these is outback which means a remote, sparsely-populated area. Many such words, phrases or usages originated with British and Irish convicts transported to Australia in 1788-1868. And many words which are still used frequently by rural Australians are also used in all or part of England, with variations in meaning. For example:

a creek in Australia (as in North America), is any stream or small river, whereas in England it is a small watercourse flowing into the sea;

paddock is the Australian word for field, while in England it is a small enclosure for livestock;

bush (as in North America) or scrub mean wooded areas" or country areas in general" in Australia, while in England, they are commonly used only in proper names (such as Shepherd's Bush and Wormwood Scrubs).

Australian English and several British English dialects (eg. Cockney, Scouse, Geordie) use the word mate to mean a close friend of the same gender (or sometimes a platonic friend of the opposite sex), rather than the conventional meaning of a spouse, although this usage has also become common in some other varieties of English.

The origins of other terms are not as clear, or are disputed. Dinkum or fair dinkum means true, the truth, speaking the truth, and related meanings, depending on context and inflection. It is often claimed that dinkum was derived from the Cantonese (or Hokkien) ding kam, meaning top gold, during the Australian goldrushes of the 1850s. This, however, is chronologically improbable since dinkum is first recorded in the 1890s. Scholars give greater credence to the notion that it originated with a now-extinct dialect word from the East Midlands in England, where dinkum (or dincum) meant hard work or fair work, which was also the original meaning in Australian English. http: // au/andc/ozwords/NovemberX_98/7. _dinkum. htm The derivation dinky-di means a true" or devoted Australian. The words dinkum or dinky-di and phrases like true blue are widely purported to be typical Australian sayings, however these sayings are more commonly used in jest or parody rather than as an authentic way of speaking.

australian english language

Similarly, g'day, a stereotypical Australian greeting, is no longer synonymous with good day" in other varieties of English (it can be used at night time) and is never used as an expression for farewell, as good day" is in other countries.

Sheila, Australian slang for woman, is derived from the Irish girls name Sle.

1.2 Words of Australian Aboriginal origin

Some elements of Aboriginal languages have been incorporated into Australian English, mainly as names for places, flora and fauna (for example, dingo, kangaroo). Beyond that, few terms have been adopted into the wider language, except for some localised terms, or slang. Some examples are cooee and Hard yakka. The former is a high-pitched call (pronounced /k??. i?/) which travels long distances and is used to attract attention. Cooee has also become a notional distance: if he's within cooee, we'll spot him. Hard yakka means hard work and is derived from yakka, from the Yagara/Jagara language once spoken in the Brisbane region. Also from the Brisbane region comes the word bung meaning broken. A failed piece of equipment might be described as having bunged up or referred to as on the bung or gone bung. Bung is also used to describe an individual who is pretending to be hurt; such individual is said to be bunging it on. In Western Australia the Nyoongah word Winyarn, meaning poor" or sick" or is used similarly, especially among young people, in a similar sense to the more common piss weak. The final syllable is extended to denote intensity, and may be followed by unna, a Nyoongar word translatable loosely as isn't it, or aren't you?".

Though often thought of as an Aboriginal word, didgeridoo (a well known wooden ceremonial musical instrument) is probably an onomatopaoeic word of Western invention. It has also been suggested that it may have an Irish derivation. http: // au/news/articles/? fj09v13s02

Australians use a variety of colourful terms to refer to people. These terms may indicate such things as the person's ethnicity, the place where the person resides, the social status of the person, the person's behaviour, etc. Many of these words occur in other English dialects, especially New Zealand English, whilst others are unique to Australian English.

It's also interesting to consider system of kin names in Australian Aboriginal English. Words referring to one's relatives are used in different senses to Standard English, reflecting traditional Australian kinship systems: Arthur, J. M. (1996) Aboriginal English, Oxford University Press, Australia.

aunty and uncle are used as terms of address for older people, to whom the speaker may not be related;

brother and sister include close relatives of the same generation, not just siblings;

cousin includes any relative of one's own generation;

the combinations cousin-brother and cousin-sister are used to refer to biological cousins;

in south-east Queensland, daughter is used to refer to any woman of one's great-grandparents' generation; this is due to the cyclical nature of traditional kinship systems;

father and mother include any relative of one's parents' generation, such as uncles, aunts, and in-laws;

grandfather and grandmother can refer to anyone of one's grandparents' generation (grandfather can also refer to any respected elderly man, to whom the speaker may not be related);

poison refers to a relation one is obligated to avoid;

the term second, or little bit in northern Australia, is used with a distant relative who is described using a close kinship term. For example, one's second fathers or little bit fathers are men of one's father's generation not closely related to the speaker. It is contrasted with close, near or true.

A skin or skin group are sections which are determined by the skin of a person's parents, and determine who a person is eligible to marry.

Son can refer to any male of the next generation, such as nephews.

1.3 Australian Spelling

Australian spelling is usually the same as British spelling, with only a few exceptions. The Macquarie Dictionary is generally used by publishers, schools, universities and governments as the standard spelling reference. Well-known differences to British spelling include:

program is more common than programme Peters, Pam. (1986) Spelling principles, In: Peters, Pam, ed., Style in Australia: Current Practices in Spelling, Punctuation, Hyphenation, Capitalisation, etc.

jail is prevalent, gaol is generally still used in official contexts

There is a widely-held belief in Australia that controversies over spelling result from the Americanisation of Australian English; the influence of American English in the late 20th century, but the debate over spelling is much older. For example, a pamphlet entitled The So-Called American Spelling, published in Sydney some time before 1901, argued that there is no valid etymological reason for the preservation of the u in such words as honor, labor, etc. , The So Called American Spelling." 1901 pamphlet, Sydney, E. J. Forbes. alluding to older British spellings which also used the - or ending. The pamphlet also claimed that the tendency of people in Australasia is to excise the u, and one of the Sydney morning papers habitually does this, while the other generally follows the older form. The Australian Labor Party retains the - or ending it officially adopted in 1912. However, while many Australian newspapers did formerly excise the u, in words like colour, this is no longer the case. The town of Victor Harbor has the Victor Harbour Railway Station and the municipality's official website speculates that excising the u from the town's name was originally a spelling error. http: //www.victor. au/ This continues to cause confusion in how the town is named in official and unofficial documents. http: // au/news/south-australia/victor-harbor/2005/02/17/1108500204729.html

1.4 Australian Language Peculiarities

As a result of social conflict in Australia, the Australian version of English has some peculiarities that differentiate it from other versions of English around the world.

One of the peculiarities is that there are three, rather than one, accents. About ten per cent of Australian men speak like Paul Hogan with what is known as a broad accent. Although only a small minority of Australians actually use broad accents, it has a great deal of cultural credibility. For example, it is used by a disproportionately large number of newsreaders. It is also used in a disproportionately large number of television commercials. Around 80 per cent of Australians speak like Nicole Kidman with what is known as a British received accent or general Australian English. A final ten per cent speak with a cultivated accent, which sounds like someone educated at Oxford University in England. Although it is not very popular today, in past eras, the cultivated accent had the kind of cultural credibility that the broad accent has today. For example, newsreaders on the government funded ABC had to speak with the cultivated accent. Since there was a shortage of Australian men able to speak in the accent, male newsreaders were imported from England.

A second cultural peculiarity of Australia is that there is a significant difference between how men speak, and how women speak. It is quite rare to find a woman speaking with a broad Australian accent, and quite rare to find a man speaking with the cultivated accent. A woman speaking with a broad accent would be like a woman wearing a blue bonds singlet and talking about pig shooting. Likewise, a man with a cultivated accent would be like a man wearing a skirt and talking about make-up. No other English speaking country has the same gender difference in pronunciation.

A third peculiarity is that there is no regional variance in the accent. Despite the vast distances between Australian cities, and the very different migrant histories in the cities, all Australians speak with one of the three accents, with roughly the same proportion of speakers in each region. The lack of regional variance suggests that regional identities have not as strong in Australia as they have been in different parts of Britain and America. Instead, most of the Australian identities have related revolved around a pro-Australia anti-Australia social dynamic that has existed Australia wide. Alternatively, Australians may have had different conceptions about gender identities. Men have been expected to be more of the roguish side while women more on the refined side. If compared to New Zealanders, Australian men are definitely more masculine while Australian women are more feminine.

1.5 Australian to English languages comparison

As well as being distinguished in pronunciation, the Australian version of English is also differentiated in regards to function and usage. One difference is in regards to informality. In America and England, the use of informal English is often interpreted as a sign of rudeness. Consequently, titles and family names are used to maintain a degree of social distance between people. In Australia, however, formality is more typically used by professional that don't like each other. The difference is most clearly seen in greetings used in business letters. Whereas Americans usually greet with Dear Ms/Mrs/Mr (family name), Australians are more like Dear (first name.) Likewise, boss and workers get on first name basis far more quickly than they do in other English speaking countries.

The American strain of the English language is simple and easily understood by most English speakers the world over. Its simplicity can be traced to the country's puritan foundations. As religious fanatics wanting to expand their flock, puritans desired a language of persuasion. To ensure clarity, they used generic words that were understood by the majority of the population. To increase the persuasive power of their words, they used a lot of analogies.

Contrasted to America, the foundations of Australian English were in the prison system. Unlike puritans, convicts did not want a simple language to persuade others to unite behind them. To the contrary, convicts wanted to disguise their language so that no one would know what they were talking about.

As a legacy, the contemporary Australian dialect, or Strine, is littered with idioms, similes and invented words that make it one of the world's most advanced English dialects. Although speakers of American English struggle to understand English speakers from outside of America, speakers of Strine can understand everyone, or confuse everyone if they so desire.

Aboriginal words have always had a very prominent use in Australian English. For example, Australia's unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda, uses Aboriginal words like coolibah, jumbuck and billabong. Likewise, most of rural Australia has been given Aboriginal names like Wagga Wagga, Joondalup, Bondi, Yakadanda.

Perhaps the lazy way that Australians are perceived to speak is a result of using the Aboriginal words. The Aboriginal words generally end with a vowel sound, which is quite smooth and pleasant on the ear. It is possible that the use of the diminuitive, such as shortening words like journalist to journo, was a way of smoothing over the rough edges of British English in order to gain more consistency with the smoother Aboriginal English.

II. Australian slang

Table of Australian slang words and expressions is represented below. The table 1 includes only some part of numerous slang words used in Australian English nowadays.

Table 1. Australian slang expressions. http: //



Ankle biter

small child



Back of Bourke

a very long way away




teapot; container for boiling water.


a large male kangaroo




a wild horse


dead, not functioning

Cook (noun)

one's wife

Cut lunch




Dead horse

tomato sauce


tobacco, cigarette



Fair dinkum

true, genuine


search, rummage



Give it a burl

try it, have a go

Good oil

useful information, a good idea, the truth


great, terrific, very good




baby kangaroo






to criticise




sweets, candy

Mickey Mouse

excellent, very good





No drama

same as no worries


an assistant, helper




large glass of beer





Pom, pommy

an Englishman


present, gift

Quid, make a

earn a living




pleased, delighted


vehicle registration

Rellie or relo

family relative


original, genuine

Right, she

it'll be all right


great, fantastic




very angry


Cheating, fiddling, defrauding


a sandwich


instant lottery ticket


a woman

Shoot through

to leave


a good looking person


nosy person


very pleased


Australian slang and pronunciation

Stuffed, I feel

I'm tired



Tall poppies

successful people


small aluminium boat

Tinny, tin-arsed


Too right!





flat, apartment


utility vehicle, pickup truck



Walkabout, it's gone

it's lost, can't be found








an uncouth person


sixpence (5 cents)

2.1 The colloquialism

The term slang (some language references, such as the Macquarie Dictionary, prefer to use the term colloquialism) describes a characteristic of speech (or writing) where a speaker (or writer) feels free to express themselves informally and often outside the confines of correct grammar or social niceties. These expressions are usually cheeky, personal and amusing.

A significant proportion of slang refers to vulgar or taboo concepts and events. But not all humorous or memorable phrases can be classified as slang; it is important to consider how frequent and widespread the use and recognition of the term is among the general population.

Colloquialisms in dictionaries and language guides

Examples of slang are usually found in everyday speech, however, they are also collected from the radio, television, newspapers, books and advertising. In the Macquarie Dictionary, words with the note Colloquial" after the entry are categorised as colloquialisms. There are a number of dictionaries devoted to documenting both past and present Australian colloquialisms, however determining the exact definition of an Australian colloquialism will always lead to a lively and interesting debate.

The Australian idiom

Linguists and other cultural theorists value the study of Australian colloquialisms as a way of observing how the Australian character has developed through language. For example, having a bash at something is similar to giving it a burl, and both phrases reflect a history of Australian improvisation and hard work. Don't come the raw prawn" began its life as slang used by Australian service personnel in World War II, and is still used to warn off someone when they attempt to impose their will.

Sydney Baker, author of a number of important 20th century works about slang, believed that the Australian's greatest talent is for idiomatic invention. It is a manifestation of their vitality and restless imagination.

The Australian fondness for continually adapting English through shortening, substituting and combining words contributes to a vocabulary that most Australians understand, and what could be called the Australian idiom or vernacular. Robert J. Menner. (1946) The Australian Language American Speech, Vol. 21, No. 2.

Substitutions, abbreviations and comparisons

Colloquialisms can be incorporated into language in a number of ways; the most common of which are substitution and comparison. A common form of substitution is when rhyming slang removes one part of a phrase and replaces it with a word that rhymes, for example to have a Captain Cook means to have a look.

Substitution could also include a metaphor, where one word or idea stands in for another. There is no town in Australia called Woop Woop, however it has been a popular and evocative byword for a backward and remote location, and has been in use throughout the 20th century.

Colloquialisms that take the form of a comparison often raise startling images, for example: flat out like a lizard drinking (working very hard on a task) or standing like a bandicoot on a burnt ridge" (feeling lonely and vulnerable). Dazed and confused, someone will wander like a stunned mullet; in a furious rage, they will be mad as a cut snake" and in a state of undeniable lifelessness they will be dead as a maggot.

Australians also demonstrate a strong impulse to abbreviate and alter word endings, resulting in barbie" for barbecue, arvo" for afternoon, cossie" for swimming costume and blowie" for blowfly.

Convict sources

The picture shows relics of convict discipline, image courtesy of National Library of Australia.

Following the settlement of Australia as a British penal colony, the language that emerged reflected the distinct conditions of settlement, authority and punishment.

Author Amanda Laugesen, in her book Convict Words: Language in Early Colonial Australia, explains how a pure Merino was a sly way of describing settlers who pride themselves on being of the purest blood in the Colony.

In another example, Laugesen explains how ex-convicts who took up airs and graces on their release were dismissed as felon-swells" or legitimate exquisites.

Many of these historically specific terms have now disappeared from common usage. For example, the word pebble" once referred to a convict who was difficult to deal with and had the hard qualities of stone. A paper man" was a convict who had been granted their documents proving a conditional pardon. Magpies and canaries" were not only birds; they also were words that described the black and yellow, or straight yellow uniforms worn by convicts.

However, there are cases of words emerging from the convict underworld, enduring through history and remaining peppered through the conversation of Australians today. The term swag, which once referred to the booty stolen by a thief, has become a way of describing a valued bundle of items carried by a traveller. The well-known Australian song Waltzing Matilda has helped to cement this term in the popular imagination. Robert J. Menner. (1946) The Australian Language American Speech, Vol. 21, No. 2.

Aboriginal languages

One of the most important influences on Australian English has been Aboriginal languages. There are a number of Aboriginal words that have been adopted colloquially within Australian English, for example boomerang, humpy or corroboree.

Other hybrid words have emerged through a pidgin" or early adaptation of English words to describe aspects of Aboriginal life. The phrase gone walkabout" was originally used in the early 19th century to describe the migratory movement of Aboriginals across Australia. Now it is used in a more general, and sometimes inaccurate, way to describe a journey away from home. Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald even reported in 1981 that Lady Diana takes a Royal walkabout in her stride (25 July 1981, p.10).

Gentle Insults

A significant number of Australian colloquialisms are affectionate insults or backhanded compliments. A clumsy friend or colleague may be called a dag, galah, drongo" or boofhead. There are also many ways of saying that someone is not very useful, for example:

couldn't find a grand piano in a one-roomed house

couldn't blow the froth off a glass of beer

a chop short of a barbie

useless as an ashtray on a motorbike.

Perverse reversals

Albert Tucker, Max Harris & Joy Hester, Tarax Bar, Flinders Station, [Melbourne], c. 1943, photograph: gelatin silver. Image courtesy of National Library of Australia.

As writer, poet and member of the modernist literary and artistic movement the Angry Penguins, Max Harris points out in his book The Australian Way with Words, one of the Australian ratbag traditions is to take a word and perversely use it as the opposite of its intended meaning. A well-known illustration of this is the word bluey, a nickname for someone with red hair.

Nicknames describing Australian States

In the spirit of friendly rivalry, Australian states and territories are identified through nicknames. For example, Queensland, where the northern climate encourages tropical fruit growing, is the land of banana benders, and Western Australia, home to some of Australia's most magnificent beaches, is populated by Sandgropers. Some terms are less established, for example Victorians were once called gum-suckers when the resin from gum trees (type of Australian tree also known as a Eucalypt) was used as an early substitute for chewing gum.

Interestingly, while certain distinct phrases are limited by geography, there is very little regional variation in Australian colloquialisms considering the distance between the main population centres.

Lost phrases

It is important to remember that a key feature of colloquialisms, slang or Australianisms" are that they are never static and often shift meaning or spelling over time. Inevitably, Australian English is constantly shedding colloquial phrases.

It is unlikely that someone will ask you to share a puftaloon (a fried scone) at a shivoo" (party). Even in the colder, southern regions of Australia, it is rare to hear the phrase cold as a polar bear's bum. However, browsing through current and historical dictionaries can offer a fascinating map reflecting the changing economic, political and cultural influences in Australian society.

III. Australian English in different fields

It is common amongst Australians to shorten the names of places, people, companies, etc. Some of these terms are regional others are in relatively widespread use. Many terms derive from company or brand names others derive from rhyming slang or the use of diminutives.

3.1 Food and drink

Where foodstuffs are concerned, Australian English tends to be more closely related to the British vocabulary, for example the term biscuit is the traditional and common term rather than the American terms cookie and cracker. As had been the case with many terms, cookie is recognized and understood by Australians, and occasionally used, especially among younger generations.

In Australia the term chips is used for what Americans call French Fries, as with British English. In Australia chips is also used for what are called crisps in the UK, this second usage also being the American English term for crisps. The distinction is sometimes made through the adjective hot. The term French Fries is understood and sometimes used by Australians. US restaurants such as McDonalds continue to use the term French Fries in Australia.

In a few cases such as zucchini, snow pea and eggplant, Australian English uses the same terms as American English, whereas the British use the equivalent French terms courgette, mangetout and aubergine. This is possibly due to a fashion that emerged in mid - 19th Century Britain of adopting French nouns for foodstuffs, and hence the usage changed in Britain while the original terms were preserved in the (ex-) colonies.

There are also occasions when Australians use words or terms which are not common in other forms of English. For example, Australia uses the botanical name capsicum for what the Americans would call (red or green) bell peppers and the British (red or green) peppers. Perhaps this is in order to contrast table pepper (berries of genus Piper) from so-called hot peppers" (larger fruits of genus Capsicum).

Australians use the term rockmelon where North Americans would use the term cantaloupe, although in Victoria and Tasmania both terms are used.

In Australian English, dried fruits are given different names according to their variety, and generally raisins (grapes) are largest, sultanas (grapes) are intermediate, while currants are smallest.

In Australian English tomato sauce (often known simply as sauce) is the name given to what is known as ketchup in other dialects. However, ketchup with its slightly sweeter taste, is still sold in many grocery stores and is common in fast food outlets such as McDonalds. Other sauces made from tomatoes are generally referred to by names related to their uses, such as barbecue and pasta sauce.

Served coffee beverages are given unique descriptive names such as flat white, for an espresso with milk. Other terms include short black, (espresso) and long black, (espresso diluted with water, similar to an Americano in the U. S.). Since the mid-1980s other varieties of coffee have also become popular, although these have generally been known by names used in North America and/or Europe.

As in British English, the colourless, slightly lemon-flavoured, carbonated drink known in North America and elsewhere under brand names such as Sprite and 7 Up is called lemonade, while the more strongly-flavoured drink known as lemonade in North America that is typically made of lemon juice and sugar is sometimes referred to as lemon squash, or sometimes traditional lemonade or club lemon, particularly in carbonated form.

The carbonated drink commonly called sarsaparilla in Australia is a type of root beer, named after the sarsarparilla root from which root beer is made. However, the taste is quite different, to the point that they may be considered two completely different products. This may be due to a difference in the production process.

Australians also often refer to McDonald's restaurants as Maccas, to the point that the corporation itself refers to itself verbally as such in advertising (but not in writing).

Cheap, unbranded Australian wine is called cleanskin wine, after the term for unbranded cattle. Cheap cask wine is often referred to as goon (diminutive slang for flagon), and the plastic cask is referred to as a goon sack, goon bag" or goony.

A portable cooler; usually made of metal, plastic and/or polystyrene foam; is called an esky. This is a genericised trademark from the trade name Esky.

Processed pork

A common foodstuff known in some countries as Baloney or as pork luncheon meat is known by different names in different regions of Australia.

Belgium sausage - Tasmania (A beef variant is known as beef Belgium.)

Byron sausage - New England.

Devon - New South Wales (except Hunter Valley and New England), Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory

Empire sausage - Hunter Valley

fritz - South Australia and Broken Hill, New South Wales

German sausage or pork German - Victoria and northern Tasmania

veal German or luncheon - Queensland

Polony - Western Australia

Round meat - Northern Territory

Strasburg or strasbourg or Stras - Victoria, Tasmania (The name is used for a spicier, wider-sliced processed meat in other areas.)

Wheel meat - Tasmania

Windsor sausage - North Queensland

Beer glasses

Not only have there been a wide variety of measures in which beer is served in pubs in Australia, the names of these glasses differ from one area to another. However, the range of glasses has declined greatly in recent years (table 2).

Table 2. Names of beer glasses in various Australian cities.










115 ml (4 fl oz)





small beer


shetland (pony)


140 ml (5 fl oz)



small beer






170 ml (6 fl oz)






small (glass)



200 ml (7 fl oz)









225 ml (8 fl oz)









285 ml (10 fl oz)





ten (ounce) /pot




425 ml (15 fl oz)









570 ml (20 fl oz)




imperial pint





1140 ml (40 fl oz)










To barrack, invariably a sporting team (typically rugby league or Australian rules football), for example, in Australian English means to hoot or cheer in support of something. Identical to the US root. (Note that the word root" in Australia is coarse slang for sexual intercourse.) For example: who do you barrack for? Almost the exact opposite of the (now rare) British usage of barrack, that is to denigrate: to jeer or hoot against something, such as a sporting team.


The game of cricket is immensely popular in Australia and has contributed slang terms to Australian English. Some of this is shared with rival cricketing nations, like the English and the New Zealanders.

Australians can be bowled over (taken by surprise), stumped (nonplussed) or clean bowled or alternatively hit for six (completely defeated). When answering questions, one can play a straight bat (or a dead bat) (give a non-committal answer) or let that one through to the keeper or shoulder arms (dodge the question), particularly if they are on a sticky wicket (in a tight situation). The questioner in turn can send down a bouncer, a googly, a flipper or a yorker (difficult questions to varying degrees). Alternatively, the question could be a long hop or a dolly - an easy question that person being questioned can use to his or her advantage.


The word football or its shortened form footy is used by Australians for several different codes of football or the ball used to play any of them. Australians generally fall into four camps when it comes to the use of the word.

In the states of Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, the word football" (or more commonly, footy) usually refers to Australian rules football (also known simply as Australian football or Aussie Rules). In these states there is little or no popular differentiation between the two kinds of rugby football.

In the states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, most people refer to rugby league simply as football" or footy for short, or League" (after the National Rugby League governing body).rugby union is known as rugby, union or rahrah. Australian rules is often known in these areas as AFL (a name which, strictly speaking, refers to the main governing body, the Australian Football League).

In areas in which all three codes are popular, especially the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and the Riverina (south-western NSW), the word football" is ambiguous, and the names league, rugby and AFL (or just rules) are used, to avoid confusion.

Association football is generally known as soccer in Australia. In 2005, the governing body changed its name to Football Federation Australia. Other media sources (especially in New South Wales and Queensland) now also refer to the game as football.

In Australia, American football, which has a small following, is known as gridiron.

Players, officials and followers of Australian rules football, have devised many unique concepts, terms, slang and nicknames. Some of these, such as footy, Grand Final and State of Origin have entered wider Australian usage, even among followers of other codes of football.

3.2 Vehicles

Work vehicles

In Australian English the term ute, short for utility vehicle, refers to a passenger car-like vehicle with a tray back, possibly with sides, a rear gate and/or a removable cover or any small truck. Australian-made Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon utes are based on family car chassis, and are normally much smaller than current North American pickup trucks. The term is generally consistent with pickup in most countries. However, all imported pickups are also known as utes in Australia.

Truck (rather than lorry) has been the only term for heavy goods vehicles in Australia since World War II. Four-wheel drive, which is often abbreviated in writing as 4WD, is the usual name for the class of vehicles known elsewhere as SUVs, as well as utes with 4WD capability. In contrast to American English, neither utes nor passenger 4WD vehicles are usually regarded as being trucks in Australia. Four-wheel drives that are used only in the city and never for off-road driving are commonly given derogatory nicknames based on the names of wealthier suburbs of Australia's various state capital cities, the most common of these is Toorak Tractors, referring to the Melbourne suburb of Toorak.

There are a variety of terms for large and/or articulated trucks, depending on the type of cargo area, size/length, number of axles/wheels and so on. A single trailer articulated truck (typically with 32 wheels in Australia) is known as a semi-trailer or semi (/'se. mi/ not /'se. me/ as in the USA), an articulated truck with two trailers (typically with 50 tyres) is known as a B-Double (the lead trailer has a fifth wheel supporting the second trailer), or Double Semi. The largest of all articulated trucks are road trains, common on outback highways, which have at least three trailers and often more. In all articulated truck configurations, the powered vehicle at the front is invariably known as a prime mover.

Police vehicles

The panel vans used by police forces are known in most parts of Australia as paddywagons or as black marias (although this term is also used to refer to the vans used to transport prisoners between prison and courts), in accordance with international usage. However, in Melbourne as in other parts of Victoria they are often also called divvy vans, an abbreviation of the archaic Victoria Police jargon divisional van. The staccato chant of You're going home in the back of a divvy van" (followed by clapping) can occasionally be heard when a crowd is nearby one of these vehicles, or when a person is led away by the police at a sporting or other large event. In Sydney, some people refer to similar vehicles as bull wagons and in the Riverina they are known as bundy wagons.

Large special purpose police vans, generally on truck chassis, which have facilities to test the blood alcohol levels of suspected drunk drivers, are known as booze buses.

3.3 Military slang

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is made up of the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Each has their own distinct traditions but share a defense force culture. This culture includes Australian military slang. Some words, such as digger, meaning a soldier, have become widely used by Australians in general. However, most slang used in the ADF is restricted to its personnel, or is widely understood outside Australia.

3.4 Rhyming slang

A common feature of traditional Australian English was rhyming slang, based on Cockney rhyming slang and imported by migrants from London in the 19th century. For example Captain Cook rhymes with look, so to have a captain cook or to have a captain" means to have a look.

Some Australian rhyming slang is very localised, for example, a reference to the Sydney racetrack Warwick Farm (arm), or a former Melbourne radio station 3KZ (head).

Rhyming slang was often used to create euphemistic terms for obscene words. In recent years this feature of Australian English has declined, once again due in part to the Americanisation of popular culture, as well as the passage of time and the impermanent nature of slang. http: //


To sum up, we should say that this project analysis was conducted with the purpose of investigation of main peculiarities of Australian English. According to this purpose the main task of the project consisted in carrying out of Australian English analysis using the information about Australian vocabulary, Aboriginal influence, country's history and so on.

In compliance with specified purpose and main task of the project the following tasks were resolved:

1. Australian English peculiarities were determined and specified.

2. History and origin of Australian English were considered.

3. Australian slang peculiarities and dictionary were analyzed.

4. Finally, Australian speech, words and expressions used in different life spheres were discussed.

The tasks (1), (2) were accomplished in the first theoretical clause, task (3) was implemented in the second clause and the task (4) was implemented in the third clause of this project. As a whole, the concernment and urgency of this project consists in conducted analysis of Australian English, that includes useful information concerning Australian way of speech, slang dictionary and other peculiarities.

In general, we can say that offered project can be worthy of notice because of reasons specified above and that is why it can be useful for getting knowledge about Australian English peculiarities.


1. Arthur, J. M. (1996) Aboriginal English, Oxford University Press, Australia.

2. Bell, R. (1998) Americanization and Australia, UNSW Press.

3. Crystal, D. (1995) Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, Cambridge University Press.

4. Mitchell, Alexander G. (1995) The Story of Australian English, Sydney, Dictionary Research Centre.

5. Peters, Pam. (1986) Spelling principles, In: Peters, Pam, ed., Style in Australia: Current Practices in Spelling, Punctuation, Hyphenation, Capitalisation, etc.

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