Kangaroos, Koalas, Eucalyptus trees, Thor, Wolverine. We’re pretty down right awesome. But one thing I’ve learned is that although we speak English, sometimes we need translating. I’m an Aussie who has been living in the USA for more than four years, plus six months after high school as an exchange student, so I’ve had people call my Aussie-isms cute, giggle at me, and give me weird confused looks quite a lot.
So here we go!
In Australia, our school system is fairly simple. We have Kindergarten(Kindy) through Year 6, aka 6th grade, which we call Primary School, then High school is 7th-12th. Juniors are 7th-10th grades and Seniors are 11th and 12th grades. Our grades are called Year (insert number here). Most Aussie schools have school uniforms, and on the days kids get to wear casual clothes it’s called a “mufti day.”
Schools have sports, but they are not the main source for sports. Clubs for Saturday comps is how most people participate in sports.
Our seasons also run opposite to most of the rest of the world. It’s a hemisphere thing… So, Dec/Jan/Feb is summer and Jun/Jul/Aug is winter. This means… Christmas is in the summertime! It’s so sweet. Gosh I miss water guns and body boards for Christmas. Or laying on the tiled floor to cool off. Mmm… home sick… moving on…
Guns are banned in Australia. Living here in the US where this particular topic is hot, hot, hot, especially here in AZ, this is a good thing to know, as some Australian authors might pop something into their stories about not having guns, knowing how to use guns etc. My husband asks me, “how do people defend themselves?” I smile and say in a heavy drawl, “That’s not a knife…” and he gets the picture. Mind you, the only thing people seem to get riled up about is how the football is going, especially during State of Origin.
Here are some words the other Aussie Owneders mentioned that they noticed confused others outside Oz.
Breaky – Breakfast
Ute – truck (pickup)
Plait – Braid
Braid – French Braid
Maccas – McDonald’s
Arvo – Afternoon
Barbie – Barbeque
Loo / Dunny – Toilet
Fair dinkum – “No Way!” “Are you serious?”
Prezzy – Present
Woop woop – The middle of nowhere, like here in Arizona! LOL I kid.
Bogan – ahh roughly equivalent to a redneck, or maybe trailer trash? Usually they wear scruffy clothes often with a plaid shirt.
Westie – Someone who comes from Western Sydney, often combined with bogan hehehe.
Car park – Parking lot
Esky – Cooler/Ice chest/Ice box
Douvet/Doona – Comforter maybe even a quilt
We also say, “I’m going to the toilet” rather than “I need to use the bathroom.”
We also spell things differently! Hooray! That was fun when I moved over here… so here are some examples.
Mum – Mom
colour – color
behaviour – behavior
generally anything ending with “or” is “our”
Also -ize’s are -ise’s for example –
realise – realize
Oh, and my favourite:
gaol – jail
I must admit, I sometimes switch between these two ways of spelling and thank goodness for CPs who catch them!
Aussies like cricket, rugby, Aussie Rules football, soccer (which is mostly played by boys), and netball. Funny story about netball. I played netball for years upon years like a lot of girls, and when I came to the US as an exchange student a friend asked me while we were at a wrestling tournament what kind of sports I played. I said netball and she looked at me weird and said, “What??”
So I repeated, “I play netball.”
Then one of the wrestlers turned around and was like, “WHAT?? Like this?” and he lifted his shirt and flicked at his nipple. Turns out, with my accent, Netball sounds like nipple. That was one of those moments.
Anyway! I hope this helps at least a little. If you have any other words you’ve seen/heard us use, go ahead and ask! I’m happy to help.