Australians speak funny – rhyming strine is fun


Do you speak funny too?

“I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains”  Dorothea Mackellers poem “My Country” is one that talks of the rugged country we Australians call home. Australia has been painted a tough country, and the people even tougher!  On top of that apparently we speak funny!

Australians have been known to put a unique twist on the English language and it’s the most unusual colloquialisms that will confuse even the most ‘clued-up‘ traveler!  The trick is to learn at least some of the lingo so you can understand the locals and have some fun with our language!

Australian slang is rich with humour, wit and rhyme and it’s is not just about the accent (although most Aussies will stand tall with their hand on their heart and tell you indignantly, they don’t have an accent)!   Commonly used words and colloquial phrases are referred to as strine.  

Simple things such as shortening words or adding an ‘o’ onto the end are quite accepted practice and can easily confuse visitors.  ie: agro = aggressive or journo = journalist or add an ‘o’ to someone’s name Craigo – Craig or Damo = Damien.  There is no rationale to it all, but it makes sense to us!

Slang used in America or England won’t always have the same meaning in Australia so my advice is that unless you are absolutely sure of a word or a saying, don’t be tempted to use it.  Chances are that it can mean quite the opposite and often result in total embarrassment!

We Aussies have a quirky sense of humour and tend to take every opportunity to make fun where we can, part of that is with our language!  We have fun with it!

Speak Aussie to me

I had never considered that Australians spoke differently and it wasn’t until I visited friends in Pennsylvania that I was discovered I actually was different!  ‘Struth mate‘, who would’a thought!

One morning (way too early for grownups), their 3 year old climbed into bed beside me and held my face in both hands.  She whispered loudly; “speak Aussie to me”.  

That memory still makes me smile today!  So Jesca, know that you’ve made a lasting impression on this Aussie!

We’re a curious mob

Aussies are a stubborn bunch and have been known to get a laugh proving someone wrong.  So I set about researching the language of Australia … after all, I don’t speak funny, I’m not unusual and I don’t have an accent!

Let me introduce you to this fascinating website … Australian Slang.  Well researched, this site has put together an extensive list of Australian slang and their interpretations.

Reading this list was refreshing and I can’t deny their are some very odd things that we Aussies say (from time to time) and I wonder how they must sound to others!  Add a broad ‘ocker’ accent to these strange collection of words and you will be lost forever trying to make sense of our (often ridiculous) banter!

Crocodile Dundee‘, the movie introduced the Australian language to the world.   A fun movie that movie did fabulous things for tourism in Australia and taught the world how to say ‘G’day’, Australian style.  Funny though, saying G’day is not used as often as you might think and calling someone a ‘galah‘ is definitely not a compliment!

We really don’t often say things like ‘crikey‘, or ‘fair dinkum‘, or ‘stone the crows’ and just to give you the ‘heads up’ fella’s, girls actually get pretty upset if they’re referred to as a ‘sheila‘.  Most self respecting ‘blokes‘ wouldn’t dare risk it!

If you look at these lists of slang it’s clear that these Aussies are taking every opportunity to ‘pull your leg‘ so run with the fun, enjoy our language and don’t take it all too seriously!