English, the Aussie way. Part 2

NOTE: You might think the writing is simple. This article was written for both native English-speakers and for ESL students.


Because Part 1 was so popular, I had to make another part. There were also a number of things I forgot to write in the first part.

If you still want to try speaking English like an Aussie, continue reading.

Australian pronunciation of places

Australians pronounce places in their country differently to how foreigners say it. If you don’t pronounce these places like an Aussie, you will sound like a tourist.

Australian Phonemes American Phonemes
Melbourne mel’-bern  /mel’bɜ:n/ mel-born’  /melbɒrn’/
Brisbane briz’-bn  /brɪz’bən/ briz-bayn’  /brɪzbeɪn’/
Canberra kam’-bra  /kæm’brʌ/ kan’-ber-ra  /kæn’bɜ:rʌ/
Australia is-strel’-ya  /əstrel’jʌ/ aws’-trel-li-ya  /ɑ:s’treljʌ/

I hope I did my best in teaching pronunciation in a blog. I also hope you can read the phonemes.

Do you notice how Australians usually try to say their places shorter and with less syllables?

Pronouncing the “ay”, “igh” and “o” sounds

Australians generally pronounce each of the three sounds /eɪ/ (ay),/aɪ/ (igh) and /əʊ/ (owe) a little bit longer compared to other English speakers. Also to make their sounds longer and slower, the way they sound when saying them is  like they are merging two sounds into one quickly.

They pronounce the following as:

/eɪ/ (ay) /ɑ:/ (ahh)  /ɪ/(ee)
/aɪ/ (igh) /ɒ/ (aww)  /ɪ/ (ee)
/əʊ/ (owe) /əʊ/ (owe)  /ʊ/(u)

Technically, each of the two phonemes do create the one sound who pronounced together, however Australians tend to pronounce them longer and slower allowing you to hear the two phonemes that make the one sound. Here are more examples of the three sounds.

day /dɑ:/ (dah)  /ɪ/(ee)
way /dɑ:/ (wah)  /ɪ/(ee)
Hi! /hɒ/ (haw) /ɪ/ (ee)
Bye! /bɒ/ (baw) /ɪ/ (ee)
go /gəʊ/ (goh)  /ʊ/(u)
blow /bləʊ/ (bloh) /ʊ/(u)

One tip you can do is pronounce each bolded sound long separately. Then, try saying the two long sounds together.

Hopefully, I was able to explain that as best as I can without audio or videos. So when someone says “Are you ready today?”, it’s almost like he’s saying “Are you ready to die?”

Slang for people of different cultures

These are some slang words that refer to certain people from other countries or cultures. If you are of any of these nationalities and an Australian calls you any of these, don’t be alarmed. Some of these slang may cause offense.

Slang Nationality
Kiwi New Zealander
Pom/Pommie British (usually English, not Scottish or Welsh)
Yank American
Filo Filipino
Indo Indonesian
Wog* Italian Australian or Greek Australian
Abo** Australian Aborigine

**WARNING: Do not ever use the word “Abo” to refer to an indigenous Australian. The indigenous community finds that word highly offensive. That word as carries historical context about colonial abuse against indigenous Australians. The word is just as offensive as the “N-word” for African Americans or anyone African. I’m teaching you this word so you’ll understand the background behind it. You have been warned!!! Do not blame me because you got into a fight with someone for using that word.

*This was once a very offensive word to call Australians of Italian or Greek descent. It was a slang that originally meant “disease“. However the younger generation today are more relaxed when being called this word.

In my experience of growing up in Australia, I am Filipino yet I have never been called a “Filo”.

Slang for different kinds of people

These are some slang words for different occupations and other people.

coppers policemen
garbos garbage collectors
ambos ambulance/paramedics
cleaners (technically not a slang) janitors
Salvos Salvation Army
PM prime minister
derro homeless person
dole bludger someone who abuses unemployment benefits by not looking for work
Barmy Army the English cricket team
shiela woman
bogan, yobbo, bumpkin loud, obnoxious, ignorant, uncouth, uncultured, uneducated, overly patriotic simpleton from the rural area who likes beer and footy. (Australia’s version of rednecks and chavs)
larrakin good ol’ Australian who you’d want to be mates with. Similar to bogan but is a positive term

More slang

I have left slang out from the previous article. A lot actually. Here are some of the slang I have missed. This time, the list is longer.

Aussie Battler working class man who works hard to put food on the table for his family
dodgy lame, less than average
’till the cows come home for a long time
for ages for a long time
to take the piss out of to anger someone
to spit the dummy to have had enough and become angry
Oy! Hey!
Bloody Oath! That’s right!
What do you reckon? What do you think?
old bomb an old, ugly, unreliable car
bikie an motorcycle gang member
barbie barbecue (not the doll)
barney fight
flustered, knackered exhausted
mozzies mosquitos
billabong waterhole, lake
cuppa cup of tea, not coffee
rego (pron. “reh joh”) registration
unco uncoordinated
dummy bid fake bid at auctions
donkey vote invalid vote at elections

Once again, this list does not list every slang used by Australians. However, these are very commonly used in conversations amongst Australians. Hopefully, you’ve learnt more terms in order to speak like an Aussie.

There is too much to cover and I may need to create another article about Aussie English. Try learning these. Good luck practising, mates.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s