Two years down the track and this little Filipina is yet to get accustomed to Australian culture and customs and yes! That Aussie slang!
The first year of living the Australian way was not only the fine tuning of myself to the places and things that is Australian but more so of understanding deeper its core values and that popular “mateship.” These are massive challenges that I faced in my first few months of settlement especially when I entered the Australian work force.
Truth be told, I struggled immensely in comprehending Australian accent. Decoding Aussie slang is an entirely different story. I felt I was the dumbest little Filipina that could not easily grasp what’s being said.
Let me begin with how my real name is pronounced the Aussie way. Most of my friends know that I adopted “Lainy” as my pen name at the blog and most blogpals call me that. Please note that “Lainy” was a sort of an endearment given to me by my ex-boyfriend who is now my husband. But I remain to be “Ellaine” to some friends and family offline. It is commonly pronounced as eeh-LANE. I still am not used to being called “eeh-layn” as it is spoken Aussie-style. I have noticed that older Aussies are more inclined to pronouncing it that way.
You might think I should find it a lot easier to understand and decode both accent and slangs respectively because I am married to a true blue Aussie. But that is not the case. He speaks to me with less Aussie slangs and more on Filipino words. Haha! Talk about interracial marriage!
When I began working and dealing with various people from all walks of life, I got wider exposure to the Aussie accent and slangs and it made things even more difficult. I had trouble coping but I openly accepted the challenge. I guess getting accustomed to it everyday and taking in these new learnings with open mind is part of an immigrant’s journey.
One day, I was doing my regular tasks at work and informed one of our Directors that I just accomplished the major task that was expected of me. I felt lost and confused when he responded: Ta! (Pronounced as tah) I stared at him blankly and didn’t know what to say! He must have thought I was unforgivingly stupid! LOL! I still had not realized what it meant but when I kept hearing it from random Aussies, I have finally figured it out that it must have been a slang for Thanks a lot or an expression of gratitude. Of course, I had that confirmed at some point.
If you speak to an Australian and you wanna speak like an Australian, you’ve got to learn these:
G’day Mate! (Pronounced as Gud-die, Mite!)- This is a universal language that ALL Australians will understand. It is used anytime of the day or night. This is actually just the friendly way of saying “Hello.”
How ya goin?- It is usually the response after seeing someone and simply enquiring how they are.
You reckon?- If you say something and you’re trying to ask them what they think. e.g., I think it’s going to rain. You reckon? It’s the casual way of saying “I think.”
See ya later, see you soon or catcha later!- See you another time; not literally “later” in the day.
Below are the list of widely used Aussie slangs which I have learned to decode over my short stint here:
Aussie- an Australian
Bubba or bub- Baby
Barbie or Barby- barbecue
Bloody- it is the great Australian adjective to describe intensity. i.e. bloody idiot!
Bloke- Australian man, guy
Bludger- lazy person
Boot- trunk of a car
Brekky or Brekkie- breakfast
Bugger- a term of frustration
Capsicum- red or green bell peppers
Chips- french fries
Cuppa- cup of tea or a hot beverage
Docket- official receipt
Doona- duvet or comforter
Dummy- infant’s pacifier
Esky- portable icebox or cooler
Fillet- means the same thing but Aussies pronounce it with a “t”
Footy- Australian football (Rugby League)
Jumper- usually a woolen sweater
Knickers- panty or female underwear
Lollies- candies or sweets
Lounge room- living room
Maccas (pronounced as Mackers)- McDonalds
Mate- friend or buddy
No worries- this is a common English expression but it is used quite A LOT here. It means no dramas, no problem, it’s ok
Petrol- gasoline or fuel
Powerpoint- power/ electrical outlet
Prezzy or pressie- present or a gift
Pub- short for “public house” or hotel; it also indicates a bar that is licensed to provide alcohol to the public
Rubbish- garbage. Also used to describe something ugly or ridiculous.
Sickie- calling in sick to work
She’ll be right, Mate!- She will be OK
Shopping centre- shopping mall
Singlet- sleeveless cotton undershirt
Sook- someone who complains a lot
Thongs- beach footwear e.g, slippers
Tomato Sauce- ketchup (Yes!)
Tracksuit pants or trackies- jogging pants
Trolley- shopping cart
Truckie- truck driver
Ute (pronounced as “yut”) – abbreviation for “utility”; it is a utility vehicle with a cargo tray in the rear. I call it pick-up in the Philippines
Whinge- the act of incessantly and annoyingly complaining. The person who does this is called a “whinger”
It must be noted that Aussies pronounce the letter H as “haitch”. This is different from how we normally pronounce it in the American English alphabet, “aitch.”
In addition, Aussies pronounce the letter Z as “zed.” I am used to pronouncing it as “zee.”
Australia is an English speaking country but the Aussie slang has got a unique flavour to it. Right matey? The Aussie accent is always a thing to contend with. I personally don’t think I’d ever get to learn how to speak the Aussie accent (I won’t even dare try!) the way the true blue Aussies do it but understanding what’s being spoken about is the key to finding it exciting and fun- Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!