“Advertising Tomato Sauce” by Michael Coghlan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
I’m not surprised that some Italians have trouble with my accent — after all, Italian is all about the beautiful distinct vowels, and I’m not sure vowels even exist in Australian English. (Is a vague “uh” noise a vowel? Because in Australia, it is EVERY VOWEL.)
What throws me off is when I’m talking to another English speaker and they look at me oddly and I realize… pretty speccy (meaning, “quite impressive”) isn’t actually a standard English idiom.
So here’s a list of some other I-never-knew-they-were-Australianisms. With the disclaimer that probably a lot of these are also used in New Zealand… (But then, it’s my patriotic duty as an Australian to claim all of NZ’s best stuff as coming from Australia.)
- Doona for duvet
- Yummo! which is what you say to small children when trying to convince them they really do like the food they’ve been given
- Op shop for charity shop/thrift store
- Bottle shop is where you buy alcohol — what do other countries even call this? I’m guessing not “bottle shop” and definitely not the standard abbreviation, bottle-o.
- Maccas for McDonalds
- Gumboots for Wellington boots/rain boots
- CBD for city centre/downtown
- Arvo for afternoon — IN MY DEFENCE… I did realize it wasn’t standard English, but I had this idea that at least some British English dialects used it
- Glad Wrap for clingfilm/Saran Wrap
- Heaps for lots (“Thanks, that’s heaps” to the person dishing up your dinner)/very (“That’s heaps good”)
- Classic! an exclamation meaning that something is particularly amusing
- Tomato sauce for ketchup. To this day, I can never remember how to ask in Italian for tomato sauce on my burger because I know the Italian word is the same as the English but then I blank on what the word is in everyone else’s English
- Bring-a-plate for bring-and-share/potluck
- Rockmelon for cantaloupe
- Singlet for… a sleeveless undershirt but I just remembered having a massive discussion recently about what those things are called in other Englishes and now I’m not brave enough to offer a translation
- Texta for felt-tip pen
- Milo is a chocolate malt drink. It isn’t actually an Australianism: it also exists in (I’ve been told) Ghana and Malaysia, but not Britain or America, oddly enough.
- Cheers big ears… Honestly I’m not sure anyone really says this in Australia either