Words That Australia Gave the World – Australian Slang
What many people don’t realize about the Australian culture is that the slang that people use in Australia is unique and hilarious at times. The words might seem offensive to some but bear with it and you would see that everything said is in good humor. The Australian slang is a very integral part of Australian culture. Many of the words that are used in today’s world originates from Australia. The slang that is unique to the country is now being adopted worldwide by everyone. Take for instance the word “Selfie.” Yes, the word originates from Australia. The first time it was used online was by Nathan Hope in his online forum entry. The word was a caption to explain a photo of him where he cut his lip while drinking beer at a friend’s house.
Comedians around the world such as Barry Humphries and famous actors, like Cate Blanchett and Hugh Jackman, have taken the slang and culture to the entertainment of the rest of the world. The Oxford dictionaries have been including Australian English words into the online dictionary, and about 2000 words have made their way into the updates. However, not all these words are used around the world. Only a few of 2000 words that originate in Australia has been used around the globe.
The ‘- ie’ and ‘-o’ Suffix
The word “selfie” is not the only word with the ‘-ie’ suffix that has become popular around the world. The Australian English has a habit of including the suffix to many of the popular everyday words. For example, a ‘Prezzie’ is for a ‘present’ and ‘sunnies’ for ‘sunglasses,’ is a very common term used around Australia. There are hosts of other words that the Australians make simple and informal by adding the suffix like ‘mushy’ for ‘mushroom,’ ‘pollie’ for a politician or a ‘mozzie’ for a mosquito.
Another very interesting suffix that the Australian English boasts is the ‘-o.’ This is used in words like ‘Prego’ for pregnant, ‘reffo’ for refugee and a ‘relo’ for a relative. You might have heard of the word demo, and Prego, used globally though. That’s because they were borrowed from Australia as well. The most famous one that everyone thinks is funny about Australia is when an Australian greets you by saying ‘g’day’.
Offensive but Not
Sometimes the words used in Australian English might sound offensive when used in every sentence. For example, the word ‘bloody’. It is added as a prefix to almost everything that an Australian feel strongly about. “A bloody good life” or a “bloody mess” are two classic examples. When you are in a conversation with an Australian and hear these words, don’t be alarmed, as most often it should be put down to high emotions.
Many of the phrases that are used might sound very normal or weird and may not make sense. However, if you infer the meaning of the words, you would realize that they are describing offensive situations. For example,
‘to point Percy at the porcelain’ might seem weird but it means ‘to visit the restroom.’
Many of these words and phrases might never become popular around the world, but at least for now we have a ‘selfie.’