Speaking Aussie-Style: The Australian Accent and Slang

align boxBlog Owner and Post Author: Lainy

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.

Photo not mine
Photo not mine

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:

Arvo– afternoon
Aussie– an Australian
Bubba or bub– Baby
Barbie or Barby– barbecue
Beannie– bonnet
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
Cardie- cardigan
Check-out– cashier
Chemist– pharmacy
Chips– french fries
Chook– chicken
Cuppa– cup of tea or a hot beverage
Dear– expensive
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)
Fridge– refrigerator
Jumper– usually a woolen sweater
Kindie– kindergarten
Knickers– panty or female underwear
Layby– layaway
Lift– elevator
Lollies– candies or sweets
Loo– toilet
Lounge room– living room
Maccas (pronounced as Mackers)– McDonalds
Mate– friend or buddy
Mozzies– mosquitoes
Nappy– diaper
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
Oz– Australia
Petrol– gasoline or fuel
Powerpoint– power/ electrical outlet
Pram– stroller
Prawn– shrimp
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
Script– prescription
She’ll be right, Mate!– She will be OK
Shopping centre– shopping mall
Singlet– sleeveless cotton undershirt
Sook– someone who complains a lot
Sunnies– sunglasses
Tap– faucet
Tellie– television
Thongs– beach footwear e.g, slippers
Tomato Sauce– ketchup (Yes!)
Torch– flashlight
Tracksuit pants or trackies– jogging pants
Trolley– shopping cart
Truckie– truck driver
Uni– university
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”
Woolies– Woolworths

AUSSIE ALPHABET
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! 😉

I Did It! A Small Yet Large Triumph of a Filipina in Australia

align boxBlog Owner and Post Author: Lainy

I have been feeling slumped and sluggish for the past couple of weeks. Life had been rather hectic especially at work thus blogging had to take a backseat for a while as I have previously published H E R E. I feel so mentally exhausted and flat out because I get stuffed with so much more than I can handle. It’s frustrating and I feel inadequate when I can’t deliver. I hate to disappoint; I want things done in perfect order.

It has always been a daily challenge learning new things with an entirely different system and organizational culture. For one, I have not yet fully assimilated myself in the Australian mainstream. I am still such a baby in the working class. For another, my real main issue is the language comprehension. Yes! Believe it or not, I am struggling comprehending the Aussie accent.

You see, I handle calls everyday; I am also the first point of contact in the office and I get a lot of people who speak the English vernacular with various accents- Australia being a multicultural hub. To me, some accents were either spoken inaudibly or incomprehensively. Although I am married to a true blue Aussie, he does speak real slow and very clear. I never had any problems.

I feel an ultimate dumb when I had to ask the person a second time. They must be thinking I am either deaf or just plain stupid. Hahaha! It’s quite embarrassing!

Filipinos were once hailed to be the best in Business English. I must agree on that. I have no trouble in speaking my mind using the English vernacular. As a matter of fact, some nationalities here could easily identify Filipinos on the way we speak. They’d always say it’s English with an “American accent.” Hmm. I am not too sure what they meant. I had to ask my Prince and he said they can just tell. I presumed it’s kind of a different American accent because it’s spoken by a brown-skinned Asian. LOL! Anyhow, I am lucky that I know how to speak the language before I even set foot in this country and I do not need to go to an English school or see the need of hiring an interpreter to be able to express and be understood.

So yes, I have no issues in speaking my mind but what about comprehending what’s being said? I think I need to get used to people’s various accents. I need to put extra effort in trying to understand how they say things in English.

For instance, an Indian say “oriented” and he phonetically and thickly says it as “odointod.” This is what’s normally heard when I went to school for my Medical Transcription classes so many years back.

What about when an Aussie say: “Can I speak with Mel please” and I quickly retort back: “I am sorry, we only got Mal here!”

See! Do you understand where I am coming from? It’s crazy how accents can vary!

If it is any consolation at all, other tasks were less complicated- Accounting systems that I was able to learn in no time; computer programs that were very easy to master. My job has a massive scope – administrative support, accounts, talent management, reception, and everything else in between. One must be adept at prioritization to be able to keep up. I have always been keen and enthusiastic in learning new things and apparently, this worked to my advantage. I can now do things speedily even with such short notice. I am used to working under pressure; it’s never new to me but to beat an hour deadline was quite a feat! Hallelujah!

I was somehow surprised when I was bombarded with emails appreciating the effort I did to beat the deadline. And not only that, the Manager himself came up to me and thanked me personally for doing great. I never experienced being recognized in this fashion in my entire working career!

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To be recognized at work is motivating and fulfilling. At least, my effort to do my absolute best didn’t go for naught. Like I said, The Greater the Sacrifice, the Sweeter the Prize and that precisely holds true!

I am aware I still have a lot of things to learn. My mistakes kept me frustrated but it made me a better person. I am not afraid to commit mistakes. However, the frustration drags me down and when that happens, my Prince that is my husband comes to the rescue:

“Take it easy, Princess. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t worry about it; it’s just a job. Your real life is at home.”

Awwww! Such comforting words! For having such a supportive and loving husband, I consider this the largest triumph in itself. I always thank God for the treasure of having a husband like mine. Indeed, I am wonderfully blessed!