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Aussie Lingo

Aussie Lingo


“No worries, any time, forget about it!”… Starting uni in Australia and feel like you’re trying to make sense of what your Aussie friends are saying? Don’t worry, Valerie is here to offer her advice on moving to Australia and understanding the array of lingo!

Written by Valerie Chen

Aussie slang can be daunting, especially when you’ve passed Academic IELTS but then realise that you don’t understand what people are saying!

Is this English?

I arrived in Melbourne to begin my working holiday adventure over 10 years ago.

Prior to leaving my motherland Taiwan, I had heard about Aussie English being quite different and I probably had read a couple of webpages.

As I spoke what I thought was a passable level English back then, I decided to wing it.

My first impression of Australia: fresh air, friendly people and hard-to-understand English.

The guy at the YHA reception was so friendly but he kept on saying “no worries” and “ta” which really confused me until other international travellers explained it to me.

I learned that “no worries” can mean “you’re welcome”, “any time”, “forget about it” or “no problem”.

Valerie Chen self-created image

“Ta” is simply short for thanks.

To this day, I am amazed how much Aussies like to shorten their English.

There is a lot to learn… There are the O’s – vego, rego, relo, bottle-o (vegetarian, registration, relative, bottle shop/liquor store), the “ies” – barbie, sunnies, mozzies, undies, lippy (barbecue, sunglasses, mosquitos, underpants, lipstick), and the hilarious ones (budgie smugglers for speedo swimmers!).

There are also the Australian specific terms like “flat white” and “minimum chips”, that aren’t really slang but may as well be… you have to learn them!

And on top of all that is the Australian accent, which can be a great challenge in itself, olroit?! 

Valerie Chen self-created image.

Lessons I learned:
You don’t need to speak like Aussies if you don’t feel comfortable with it, but it will definitely make your life a lot easier if you have a basic level of Aussie slang.

Early on I struggled through many incomprehensible situations and must have been thought very shy – which was not the reason I didn’t say much!

In my experience, the more you learn and use Australian English, the easier it will be for you to speak Aussie naturally.

Reading through some Aussie slang webpages, I realise there are still so many words that I don’t know.

Hence, my 2024 new year’s goal is to use one new word a day!

Valerie Chen self created image.

Useful resources

There are different types of resources online (websites, podcasts or YouTube channels) to help you level up your Aussie English game.

Here are just a couple of webpages I recommend.

Remember to try to use what you read! 

To learn about Aussie slang and phrases click here.

To learn a beginners guide to Aussie slang click here.

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