When I was in Salzburg, Austria about two years ago, it didn’t take me long to pick up the local lingua franca (i.e. German). It was so easy I blogged about it 3 times: (you absolutely MUST click on the links below – I consider them some of my best blog articles)
Now that I have been in Melbourne for the last few months, I’ve picked up some Aussie as well. Here’s a list of what I have learned so far:
It basically means “thanks” and is used when you want to say “thank you” to some one who has just done you a favour or basically when you want the conversation to end and for the person to just leave.
Aussies use heaps and heaps of “heaps”! They say “heaps” for everything. For example:
“She’s got heaps of money”
“We had heaps of fun!”
“Love you heaps!”
Now, the word “heaps” is usually used in a ‘positive’ context. You should not use it to describe something unpleasant or negative. For instance, you should never say, “I’ve got heaps of diarrhoea!” or “She’s got heaps of herpes!”
3. “How ya goin’?”
If you think that Aussies greet each other with the cliche “G’dday mate”, you are wrong. Instead, this one is the greeting that I hear most often in Melbourne. Now, you should pronounced the ‘goin’” as you would pronounce the word ‘groin’ with that little emphasis at the end.
Initially I didn’t know how to respond to this greeting. I mean, if back home some one were to ask me “How ya goin’”. I would probably say “depends on where exactly it is I am going, I would either walk, take a bus or drive!”. But here, it just another way of saying “hello”. The appropriate answer would be, “it’s goin’ great!”, taking care to pronounce the word ‘goin’ just right.
“Cease” is a medical term commonly used among doctors and nurses here. It is equivalent to “stop” back home. So, instead of saying, “stop antibiotics”, they say “cease antibiotics” here. Perhaps ‘stop’ is too abrupt a word for them and ‘cease’ denotes a ‘gradual kind of stopping’.
5. “No worries”
This is a term used when you actually want to say “not a problem”, or “I will get the job done” or “take your time” depending on the situation. Never mind that you are actually plenty worried about something to the point of developing gastric ulcers, you put up a cheery smile and say, “no worries”.
“Cheers” is commonly used as a farewell greeting, like “okay, sure, no worries, cheers!”, at the end of a phone conversation. It does not mean the act of toasting some one with alcohol beverage.
7. “That’s fantastic!”
You use this exclaimation when you are impressed (even mildly impressed) in reaction to a piece of good news or a good piece of work well done, etc. You have to pronounce it just right, the emphasis has to be at the ‘tas’ part of ‘fantastic’ as in “That’s fanTAAAAAAAASSSS….(pause for effect)..TIC!” Adding the word ‘blardy’ between “that’s” and “fantastic” is optional.
8. ‘Ice’ not ‘Ace’
Whenever a word has ‘ace’ in its spelling, such as the word ‘space’, you pronounce it as ‘spice’. So in Australia, ‘facebook’ is pronounced as ‘FICEBOOK’!! God help you when you want to say, “Make some space for the spice”.
9. ‘Va Va Va’ not ‘Ver Ver Ver’
When a word ends with ‘ver’, in Australia you prononce it as ‘Va’. So, if you wanna say “forever”, you should say “for..eh..VA”! So, ‘fever’ becomes ‘FEE..VA’ and ‘never’ becomes ‘Neh..VA’!
10. ‘Eeyah’ not ‘ere’
When a word ends with ‘ere’, as in ‘here’, ‘there’, etc, you pronounce the last bit as ‘eeyah’. So ‘here and there’ is pronounced as ‘hee..yah and ther…eyah’!!
“Hmmm” is the low tone sound made from deep within an Aussie’s chest resonating outwards from the oral cavity. It is used as a ‘silence filler’, like in the awkward moment when there is an uncomfortable pause after a particular animated discussion about an interesting subject and all discussions have been exhausted. It is at this point that one or more Aussies will start making the “hmmm” sound, in various tone and duration, until the next topic of interest comes up!
12. “Yum” and “Din Din”
“Yum” is the Aussie way of saying “delicious” and is not a Chinese name. “Din din” basically means “dinner” and not ‘a lot of awful noise’.
According to Wikipedia, “a wallaby is any of about thirty species of macropod (Family Macropodidae). It is an informal designation generally used for any macropod that is smaller than a kangaroo or wallaroo that has not been given some other name”. “Wasawallaby” means “was-a-wallaby” basically a ‘wallaby-has-been’. I first learned this phrase from the driver-cum-tour guide when I visited the Great Ocean Road and we chanced upon a dead wallaby on the road.
“Mate” is pronounces as “Mite” in Australia. It’s not that easy to emulate. Even Oprah Winfrey had a tough time saying it the way Aussies do. “Mate” is a friendly term when used in Australia to address anyone from a casual friend, to a work colleague, or a good buddy. It does not ever mean the act of carnal intercouse. Again, God help you if you want to say, “Hey mate, can you please help me get rid of the mite, mate?!”
No one has a ‘wife’ or ‘husband’ in Australia. Not even a ‘spouse’. They have ‘partner’ which is a general term used to denote anyone living together (not necessarily married to each other). “Partner” can mean some one of the opposite or the same sex or even a door for that matter.
16. “Good Onya Mate!”
This phrase is used to mean “Well done!” or “I’m happy for you!”. It does not actually mean that something is good on you.
“Yeah” is an extremely versatile word and is used when you agree with a person when he/she says something; as another ‘awkward silence filler’; and as an answer to just about any question asked when you don’t actually want to answer it. (Am I making sense here?!). The best way to say ‘Yeah’ is the same way Usher sings it in his famous song, ‘Yeah’.
That’s about it I think….Yeah