- Education and Science
So Your Having Trouble With Aussie "Strine!?"
Crocs are feared and respected in Australia.
Australian English ("Strine!") is very imaginative
North Americans - or Europeans using English for that matter - have people from many nationalities wandering amongst them as residents or tourists. But none using English (as they would insist they do) are more exotic or incomprehensible that those rare birds from the Antipodes, the Australians, who speak a in a nasal whine some call “Strine.” (‘Stralian)..
Even finding out where they are from can be difficult for the noviate, “Hi, mate,” one might open with. “I’m from “Stralia.”
Seeing your puzzled look, he might add, “Stralian, ya know?”
Most of what the average US citizen knows of Australia he usually gleaned from “Crocodile Dundee” reruns on the television…Brits are only slightly more enlightened by all the Aussie barkeepers here! He may even find his beliefs confirmed when he takes in the modern tourist from “Oz,” as they are generally topped with a hat a - la Croc Dundee, which may or may not have corks dangling from it to keep the Oz national bird - the fly - away at home…he may also be sporting “sunnies,” sunglasses; and “”thongs,” No, no up the bum girlie underwear, they are flip-flops in Oz. He may also have knee-length shorts and sandals with socks - dress used for business in Sydney and warmer parts of the home country.
Your conversation may drift to sports and you will ask which teams he “roots” for at home or in the country he visits. A look of alarm may spread across the sunburned visage as he explains a “root” is a f--k in ‘Stralia.
(It’s not hard to make mistakes like this…I once was asked by a secretary in a job I had after recently arriving in Sydney. “Got any Durex,” she smiled. I nearly fell off the chair…she had just asked me, a boss she had known for all of two day, if I had any condoms (Durex was the best known brand back then in the UK and used by one and all for any type of “rubbers.”). Dorothy (bless her) had merely been asking if I had any sticky tape, Durex was the Scotch Tape of Oz back then).
“Feel like a Cauldie,” you new acquaintance had merely asked you if you want a beer with him. (A coldie…cold beer). (But he won’t be able to get his familiar “schooner, or midi” in the UK or the US…they are glass sizes).
Just watch the US barman’s face if the Australian female asks him if he keeps “Goon,” wine, especially “Chateau de Cardboard” The Australians invented wine in a box many years ago now and it spread all over the world where it provides a cheaper alternative to bottled wine.
Your pal might ask you where “Maccas” is (McDonalds), A poor alternative to what he has at home, “Prawns (never shrimp) or beef on the Barbie.”
He will be walking on the “footpath” in New York or London, not the sidewalk (US) or the pavement (Brit), and he may be off to watch the local team play “footy,” any type of football. He may be dismayed you have never heard of “Aussie Rules,” a sort of cross between rugby and soccer (actually very good ) played in Oz.
He may immediately want to shorten your name as diminutives for many things, including names, are the norm “Down Under.”
Gibson becomes Gibbo, for example…I was always “Chal,” which I liked (Challen). He will have a “sani” or sandwich for tea “thisavo” this afternoon. Maybe he will go on a picnic with his “Esky,” cooler. His cookies will be “biscuits” (UK, too). He won’t have candies like N Americans, or sweets, like the Brits, but “Lollies.”
Rubes will come from the “Outback,” or “Back o the Black Stump” in Oz. In the large “properties” ranches back there you might find “Jackaroos, or Jillaroos, (cowgirls and boys). Visiting those places is know as “Going Bush.“
Those mentally encumbered he may call “Drongos, or Wombats (A large, torpid marsupial); those he really dislikes may be “Bludgers.” (Once a pimp in British English). Kangaroos are “roos” of course and his goodbye to you may be “hooroo.” (As his hello is “G’Day”)
He may tell you, mystifyingly, he drives a “Ute,” or pick-up truck - on the “wrong” side of the road for N Americans but same as the UK. By then, you will have gravitated to be known as mate, or “Cobber” by the open and friendly Australians. He will refer to you, or something he likes as “Ridgy-Didge, Dinkum, or Fair Dinkum.”
You will ask if he is married or has a girl at the moment, “Na, mate, but I love the “Sheilas,” he may reply, (collective noun for girls in Oz).
Seeing a friend on the other side of the street, this interesting apparition might yell, “Coooeeee!” Rather like the Swiss yodel, this is a penetrating salutation which can be heard for a long way.
He might describe his work as “Hard Yakker,” (obvious meaning). Limeys, (Brits) are called Pommies in Oz where they experience a love/hate relationship: Australians see them as complainers sometimes, (Whingeing), and they don‘t like hard yakker.
“Bloody” is the standard Australian (Aussie) swearword, “Bloody right, mate, or too bloody true,” are used to express emphatic agreement. Also, “It’s a Beauty” for something good.
“Bluey” is someone (strangely) with red hair.
Brickies, Sparkies and Chippies are bricklayers, electricians and carpenters in the same order.
Not only are there these and hundreds more colloquiums (slang) based around English and other tongues (Aboriginal words find their way in but I cannot recall them).
Although I got help to prompt my memory in writing this article online, I am familiar with all the terms and used them during my nearly 10 years all told living in marvelous Australia, a land I often miss as I live amongst the Whingeing bloody Poms!
There have been several book published on “Strine,” Amazon lists several.
The bloody pom!