A Great example of Aussie Slang: Frank Hardy’s “The Outcasts of Foolgarah.”

There can be few languages, or dialects, with a stronger history of slang than Australian English.
Australian slang really built up a head of steam in the late 19th Century.
This was partly down to the fact that the kind of people who came to Australia, tended to come from places with rich local linguistic traditions like Scotland, Ireland and the East End of London.
These people weren’t hampered by the upper-class cultures of Great Britain.
They were much more free to play with language, creating nicknames for local things, in a way that the buttoned-up Brits in those days couldn’t do.
Slang was strongly linked with very poor convicts and the British policy of setting up penal colonies in Australia.
There was a very strong connection with the so-called lower classes in the development of Australian Slang.
They were their own people and so developed their own slang terms that reflected their mateship and life.
One of the great exponents of the use of slang in literature was the boisterous storyteller Frank Hardy.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book so rich in Aussie terms than “The Outcasts of Foolgarah”.
An outrageous romp amongst the waste disposal (night soil) experts that roamed the backyards of Sydney many years ago.

The “Fair Dinkum” Aussie Accent.


Nino Culotta (Walter Chiari) gets a lesson in the language of drinking from a friendly Australian (Jack Allen) at the Marble Bar, a legendary Sydney watering hole. The barmaid (Anne Haddy) looks bemused. From the Australian  film “They’re a Wierd Mob”. (1966)
by Alyce Taylor
How did “G’day mate” become the sound of home for millions of people
THE ORIGINS OF the Australian-English accent are veiled in myth and Aussie legend: from pollen levels being behind our nasal twang, to the idea that we mumble to stop flies entering our mouths.
Now, a project called Australian Voices is listening to voice recordings and aiming to collect 1000 past and present Australian-English accents, to learn more about what’s behind the Australian drawl.
“Language is a marker of social identity and so people speak like the people they either aspire to be like, or want to be with,” says Dr Felicity Cox, an associate professor of linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney. Felicity and her colleague, Dr Sallyanne Palethorpe, are the drivers behind Australian Voices.
A person’s accent changes slowly after their early teenage years, so voice recordings provide a snapshot of their origins, and information about their childhood social environment.
This means that old recordings of elderly people are particularly interesting: listening to the voices of 1950s grandparents gives researchers such as Felicity an insight into accents as far back as the 1870s. She also gets to hear some great stories.
“A few of them talk about Ned Kelly, actually,” says Felicity. “One gentleman recounts a conversation with Ned Kelly’s sister in a pub.”
Distinctive features of the Aussie accent
The Australian accent is famous for its vowel sounds, absence of a strong “r” pronunciation and the use of an inflection – or intonation – at the end of sentences, which can make statements sound like questions.
According to Felicity, the way vowels are pronounced is the most peculiar feature of Australian English.
“There’s a story of a lady who was told she was going home ‘to die’,” recalls Felicity. “But what she was actually doing was going home ‘today’.”
Felicity believes the Australian accent began with the first Australia-born colonial children in Sydney in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
They’d have strengthened their bonds as a group by speaking in similar ways, in the same way today’s teens use language to form tribes.
The early colonial children would have drawn on the many British accents spoken by adults around them to create their sound.
Follow on via Knowing the Aussie accent – Australian Geographic.

“Built like a Brick S**thouse”.

Generic term generally used by blokes about blokes.
Term of admiration for those Aussie males who are muscular, well built, athletic and bronzed.
Examples: Most Australian Rules Footballers, Rugby League players and Pub bouncers are highly likely to be “built like brick shithouses.”
However, there is a catch, most of the aforementioned blokes are regarded as “not the full quid” or a “six pack short of a slab.”
In other words “not too bright’ or a “moron” which is very dangerous language to be using around “brick shithouses.”
It generally results in the slanderer saying, “I had the shit pounded out of me by a brick shithouse”

“Barbie, Arvo, Footy” & lots more.


If you’d lost your mobes in Melbourne at a barbie on a Sunday arvo you couldn’t be anything but Australian.
In fact, Australians use abbreviations and diminutives more than other English-speakers – and a new study is trying to find out why.
“There are many theories,” says Nenagh Kemp, a psychologist specialising in language at the University of Tasmania, who’s leading the work.”
“Australians who use these diminutives might be trying to sound less pretentious, more casual and more friendly than they would by using the full words.”
Nenagh and her colleague Evan Kidd at La Trobe University in Melbourne have asked more than 100 Australians aged 18-90 to write down as many abbreviations and diminutives (which can be shorter or longer than the original word) as they could think of in 10 minutes.
Abbreviations and diminutives
The most common words they’ve identified so far were barbie (barbecue), arvo (afternoon), footy (football), sunnies (sunglasses), rego (registration), servo (service station), brekkie (breakfast), cuppa (cup of tea) and sanga (sandwich).
But people also came up with a lot of abbreviations for brand names, like Maccas, Woollies, Subie (Subaru) and Suzy (Suzuki).
While there’s a good deal of overlap between the abbreviations used by older and younger Australians, there are also seems to be some differences.
Nenagh and Evan’s preliminary analysis of their results suggests that older people use ‘cosier’, family-oriented words like cardi (cardigan), lippy (lipstick), rellies (relatives) and oldies more often than younger people.
From Australian Geographic

How to use the word “Bastard” in Australia.

427158_largeLike a lot of Aussies who are now geriatric “baby boomers I have a pretty relaxed attitude towards the word “bastard”. I don’t think I have used it very often in the dictionary sense.
To me it is almost a term of endearment in Australia (“good old bastard”) or used to describe someone going through a rough patch (“the poor bastard”) or someone who has just “dropped his guts” (farted) better known as a “dirty bastard.”
It even extends to acts of heroism (“he was one brave bastard”) or admiration (“what a good looking bastard?”).
So there you go, but wait!
Be very careful how you use the “bastard” word in the United Kingdom.
Better still don’t use it at all and then certainly don’t smile or laugh if you say it. Oh! and start running.

“What Aussies call other Aussies.”


Aussies love to nosh up at a barbie, have a coldie and take a gander at some footy, and tell you that everything is bonza.
They also love their slang.
A little-known fact, however, is that Aussies even have lingo for each other…
It was inevitable that the first Pommies in Australia developed a new vocabulary to describe their alien surroundings, given that everything in Australia was so different from all they had known.
Prison slang crept into general use, indigenous language was incorporated, and new words coined – much to the alarm of our colonial establishment.
The upper class pommies looked down their noses at the convicts and Australian-born folk.
Originally, they called them ‘Cornstalks’, because the new generation of Aussies were taller than their forebears.
The name stuck for awhile, and so did the custom of giving regional names to our fellow Aussies.
‘Sandgropers’, or Western Australians, once used the term ‘Wise Men from the East’ in reference to visitors from the Eastern side – especially the ones who enjoyed telling us how good they were.
Victoria was called the Cabbage Patch because of its small size, hence ‘Cabbage Patchers’ hailed from the garden state. ‘
Gum Sucker’ was formerly applied to all colonials for their pastime of sucking the sweet gum from some species of wattle.
How it came to refer solely to Victorians is a mystery.
Tasmanians, too, suffered prejudice, and ‘Taswegian’ was once used almost derisively to describe the mob who in kinder moments were called ‘Apple Islanders’.
Those Taswegians were once also known as ‘Barracoutas’, after the creature that supported fishing families and was a staple during the starvation years.
The name is rarely heard now, and the ’couta, too, have almost vanished.
‘Crow-eaters’ for South Australians is still commonly used, and refers to the piping shrike (not a crow) on the south Australian coat of arms.
‘Top Enders’ for those from the Northern Territory is heard quite often and is a pretty good description.
‘Banana Benders’, referring to those from Queensland describes them perfectly and is simply not heard enough.
As for the residents of the Australian Capital Territory, anything goes seeing most of them are pollies or bloody bludging public servants.
via Slang: What Aussies call other Aussies – Australian Geographic.