The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

You’ll feel silly, but say it like this, and the Aussies will know what you’re talking about.

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on March 29, 2010

While we’ve been here in Australia, there are two words that Aussies pronounce differently because of their accent, but when you pronounce it with your “American” accent, they just have a hard time with them.

Melbourne – Mel-bun
Cairns – Cans

They also have all sorts of words that seem so funny how they, as a culture, have chosen to truncate/abbreviate them.  An American example would be “movie.”  Clearly, the original term for a moving picture was “moving picture.”  But for ease of use, or marketing reasons, or simply because it was catchy, Americans began calling it a “movie.”  Today, we don’t think of it as a moving picture at all!  It’s just a “movie,” and the term doesn’t sound silly anymore.  The same is true for all sorts of Australian terms.

Australian Term Pronunciation Meaning
Aussie awzz-ee Australian
mosi mozz-ee mosquito
cosi cozz-ee bathing suit
brekky breck-ee breakfast
mushi mush-ee mushroom
vege vej-ee vegetable
truckie truck-ee truck driver
postie post-ee mailman
sparkie spark-ee electrician
posi poz-ee position, location
eskie ess-kee insulated drink cooler
Tasi taz-ee Tasmania
This is just a short list, too.  The list goes on and one, and frequently you can get the meaning from context, but sometimes, you’re on your own (for example, cosi).
Then there are terms that are simply Australian, that you just need to “get.”
Fair dinkum/dinkum – honest, legitimate, bona fide
Mate – friend
Roo – kangaroo
Right – alright
Serviette – napkin
Napkin – feminine hygiene product (VERY embarrassing when you mix this one up)
Truck – Big rig truck/18-wheeler
Ute – pickup truck
Four-wheel drive – SUV
Jetty – dock
Toilet – bathroom
Hotel – pub
Accommodation – hotel
Motel – hotel
Straightaway – immediately
Rubbish – trash (rubbish bin/bin – trash can)
Loo – bathroom
Torch – flashlight
Boot – trunk of a car
Bonnet – hood of a car
Short black – regular espresso
Long black – regular espresso, watered down to a full cup of coffee
Mobile – cell phone
I think my favorite “Aussie” saying is, “I’m so hungry, I could eat the crotch out of a low-flying duck.”   There’s a host more, but this is just a spattering.  It’s all been part of the fun of experiencing a new place.
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3 Responses to “You’ll feel silly, but say it like this, and the Aussies will know what you’re talking about.”

  1. Jeff said

    Cossi (caw-zee) is short for “Swimming Costume” or “Costume”. In different states they have different terms for the same thing. The same thing is also be referred to as “bathers” for bathing suits or “swimmers” for swimming suit or “togs” which according the web is “is an abbreviation of the sixteenth-century criminal slang togeman, meaning ‘coat’.” which itself derived from the Roman “toga”.

    Here is a great read on the subject in fact:

    http://www.anu.edu.au/andc/pubs/ozwords/October_2003/speedos.html

    Something that should also be mentioned here is the adding of “ie” or “o” to people’s names. Ian Thorp (Australian Gold Metal swimmer) is known as “Thorpie” while mates of mine are known by “Dave-o”, “John-o”, “Dame-o” (David, John and Damian). This isn’t entirely an Australian thing though as I was known as “Bergie” at Radford.

  2. howard berg said

    And at a Hotel is really a Pub.

    But, you forgot the most important of all: Footy (foot-ee)
    for Australian Rules Football which had the opening of their 26 week season this past weekend. 22 regular season games, and a 4 week playoff among the top 8 teams; culminating with the Grand Premier game for the championship. Great game. You can catch it in the states on Megahertz TV affiliates. Channel 56 in Washington DC.

    Your Dad, the Footy nut.

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