A stream of thought from the GoLocalise collective consciousness
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Although the Aussies do speak English, they have their very own unique slang terms that sometimes make it sound like a completely different language.
The Aussies like to shorten a lot of words; last syllables are dropped or the word is changed completely. Afternoon is now ‘arvo’, not to be confused with ‘avo’, which is an avocado! In the Australian accent, these sound almost identical, but one would hope that the context would be a helpful reference.
As shown, not only do they like to shorten words but there is a trend of ending words with an –o. For example, a service/petrol station becomes a ‘servo’ and if you are vegetarian then affectionately you are a ‘veggo’. A document is a ‘docco’ and an off licence is a ‘bottle-o’, while it is important to make sure your ‘reggo’ is always in date. Any idea what a ‘reggo*’ is? A good rule seems that if in doubt, add an -o and you will probably be considered a local.
These particular slang terms may be confusing but probably less so than being asked ‘how you going?’ as you walk down the street. Most people are unsure if this requires an answer of where you are going, or whether it is actually asking how you are. In fact, it is often just a way of saying hello and requires nothing more than a hello and a smile, or a simple response of ‘good’. Perhaps the most surprising for all other English speakers is being asked if you have your ‘thongs’ for the beach. To most, this would seem a very personal question, but the Australians are simply enquiring if you have your flip flops with you. A must have on any Aussie beach!
Next time you are in your thongs, having a barbie with your Aussie friends, you can impress them with your new found Australian slang.
*reggo - registration plate on a car