Moving abroad can be very intimidating so choosing an English speaking country helps make that adjustment easier. This contributes to making Australia one of the top destinations to be an OFW as everyone speaks English. Or so they claim...
When in the Land Down Under, you’ll quickly realize that Aussies love using slang words and phrases. According to Nenagh Kemp, a psychologist at the University of Tasmania, Australian locals like shortening words and phrases to sound casual and friendly.
This greeting is standard and is often one of those cliche phrases people throw in conversation when thinking of Aussie slang. This simply means good morning/afternoon/hello/hey.
“Mate” is also used to address a friend or even a stranger. Pinoys often just use the term “mate” when it’s attached to roles (e.g. officemate, classmate, coursemate, etc.), but locals use “mate” to sound friendly and break the ice. This line can also come in handy when you don’t know someone’s name or simply forgot. Just think of it like the Australians' casual version of “ate/kuya/miss/sir”.
Mate is also used in situations where you want to appear less intimidating and avoid conflict. For example, you can say “sorry, mate” to appease the other party or “watch out, mate” to warn someone.
This is the shortened version of ‘’afternoon”. Somone might tell you they will see you in the “arvo”.
You will start to notice that aside from using the first syllable and attaching a “y” in the end, Aussies also like ending words with a vowel. Other examples are “sanga” for a sandwich; “bottle-o” for bottle/liquor shop, “ambo” for an ambulance and so on.
How ya goin’?
Short for “How are you going?”, this just means they’re asking how you are. It is the equivalent of a “how are you?” and is interchangeable with “how’d you go?” or “how is it going?”. Locals also add “cobber” (for men) or “shiela” (for women) after the phrase if they want to be gender specific. A simple, “good, thanks.” and returning the question is the polite thing to do. This phrase may be the counterpart of “Musta?” or “Ano ginagagawa mo?” in the Philippines and “Hey, what’s up?” in the US
This greeting is standard and is even asked at establishments such as cafes or restaurants. Don’t be surprised if strangers sometimes ask you this – sometimes it’s also a greeting to acknowledge your presence rather than a question that requires a long answer. This phrase is often used to segue into some small talk.
Short for breakfast and is quite self-explanatory. Aussies love shortening their phrases and words, and you’ll eventually find a pattern in a lot of slang. Generally, words are shortened to the first one to two syllables and are ended with a ‘ie’ or ‘y’. Barbecue is “Barbie”, a cup of tea or coffee is “cuppa”, a gas service station is a “servo”, sunnies for sunglasses and so on.
This is slang for goodbye, Aussies may also say “cheerio’’. Don’t be surprised if Australians also say “see ya later” at the end of a conversation as this is also an Aussie way of saying goodbye. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will see them again later, it’s just what the Aussies do.
As if saying thanks wasn’t brief enough, there’s a shorter way to do it! This means “thank you”. Some locals use it together with “Cheers” and say “Cheers, ta” or “Ta, mate”. This is an example of the British influence that remains in Australia today.
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Instead of replying with “you’re welcome”, locals prefer saying this or “you’re alright”. It equates to telling the other person “it's a pleasure” or “don’t worry about it”. Aside from saying it in response to “thank you” Aussies also sometimes use it as a response to an apology, which means all has been forgiven.
While “chuck” is not strictly Australian, the word is widely used nationwide. It usually means “to do” or perform something. It can also mean “throw it out” or “shove it” when they say “chuck it out”. It is also used to say that someone “threw” something. For instance, they can say “he chucked a berko” which just means he threw a fit or went berserk.
Any guesses? Pronounced as “yu-wi”, the phrase “chuck a U-ey” amusingly means “make a u-turn” which you might get told whilst driving in Australia.
No – this isn’t underwear. They’re what Pinoys know as slippers or “tsinelas”! They're also called slip slops or flip flops. Australia is widely known for its laidback atmosphere and locals often veer towards this choice of footwear, especially during the summer. Thongs became so popular in the 1960s that the state government had to introduce regulations barring people from wearing their thongs to work.
Unlike in the Philippines, Australia enjoys drinkable or potable water from the faucet – or “tap”. Locals say “drink from the tap” or “beer from the tap” when they refer to tap water/draft beer. Do note that “draft beer” is spelled as “draught beer” and is not to be read like “drawt”.
Mc Donald’s may be American, but locals have made it their own by giving it this name. True to Aussie nature, locals have made Mc Donald’s “Macca’s”. The global chain has embraced this local adaptation and proudly call themselves Maccas ® in the Land Down Under. In fact, the name has been registered as an official trademark of the company. For Pinoys, it's like calling Mc Donald’s “Mc Do”.
Uniquely Australian, “bogan” is one of the most significant words created in the last few decades. This refers to an uneducated or uncultured person, who is ill-mannered and most likely racist. It is often used as a derogatory term and is somewhat the equivalent of “red necks” in the US. There may be no direct version in Filipino, and the closest term would be “promdi”, or someone who is uncultured. However, “bogan” comes with more negative connotations as it also refers to someone rude, brash, and not well raised.
For Aussies, the back storage or trunk of the car is called the “boot”. This originates from the 1600s in London wherein the “boot” is the space in front or back of the carriage for servants to sit. Towards the 19th century, however, this space was moved to the back of the carriage and was then used for storage.
Refers to someone who distinctly has a thick Australian accent and mannerisms. Locals also say someone’s “occa” if they love Vegemite, “footy” or football, and grew up in regional areas.
Feel overwhelmed? You are not alone! Even native English speakers like Americans may find these phrases new. One reason why you may find these terms new is that Pinoys are heavily influenced by American culture and language, while Aussies, a commonwealth colony, were influenced by the United Kingdom.
But don’t worry – hearing these regularly will help you get used to it. Before you know it, you’ll start using “ta!” daily!
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