I decided I would dedicate a post to Aussies. Very interesting people. They speak English, so you would think they wouldn’t be too difficult to understand.
Not only do they have a thick accent that sounds like mumbling a lot of the time, they have different names for things. They shorten all words possible. And they talk really fast. Happily I’ve had some experience with thick accents (Ireland got my brain working on that wavelength) so I’ve been able to pick up the lingo a bit; Myelle… not so much. We’ve kind of just left the talking to me.
First the naming things. Australians are very similar to the English in some ways: they call the car trunk the boot, fries are chips, the TV the tele, soccer cleats are boots, and sweaters and jackets are jumpers. The accent here in Perth is also strongly influenced by the British accent. It’s nothing like what you hear in those Outback Steakhouse commercials. They actually call that a “bogan” accent, which is comparable to our hick accent.
A hard one for us to learn was the difference between an arcade, a mall, and a shopping centre. An arcade is like an alleyway that branches off from a main shopping street with more shops, not a place to play Pac Man. A mall is a large grassy area like a park, not somewhere middle school kids hang out to look cool. And a shopping centre is where you actually do your shopping. I kept wanting to say we were headed to the mall after work, but I really wanted to go to the shopping centre. Myelle also keeps saying fries instead of chips.
Another weird one I’ve found is bell peppers. They don’t call them that here. I found some in the grocery store, but they were labeled capsicans. I thought it was some fancy type of bell pepper. Turns out that’s what they call them here. My head trainer Jess giggled when I said bell pepper.
A big one I had to pick up is the word hey. They don’t use it like we do, or not nearly as much. When they say hey, they actually are asking what, like I didn’t hear you. I could be talking to Jess, and if she didn’t quite hear what I said, she would look up and go “Hey?” I was completely confused by that for the longest time.
A huge thing here is to shorten words. This has been the hardest thing to get over. Australian accents are said to be lazy: they use a slackened jaw, and parse all their words. One of the first places we saw this was at our first footy match last weekend. There was a guy in the crowd that kept yelling “Con West.” Jess explained after the game that it was a shortened version of “Come on West Perth.” Completely different.
They call McDonald’s mackers. Even in the commercials! The Reserves Falcons team are called the ressies. A presentation is a preso. They shorten devastated to devo. They also shorten Australia all the way down to ‘strala. There’s a lot more that I can’t think of right now; might update later on.
It’s been fun getting to learn all the different ways people speak. From Kenya to Ireland to Australia, everyone is so different, yet a little bit the same all at once. I’ve noticed I’ll start slipping into a little bit of an Aussie accent when I’m around a lot of them. Maybe I’ll have a good one by the time I leave! (fingers crossed)