How to Speak Australian

Do you remember the Foster’s ad on how to speak Australian? It goes ‘Fosters – Australian for beer. Well, I haven’t seen Foster’s yet – and no, I haven’t been looking for a drink!  – but I think I’m finally figuring out the language. So here’s the big tip on how to speak Australian – it’s the ‘ie’ sound.

Just about every other Aussie word is and -ie or -y word. The bikey gangs have been on the news. There’s the barbie I went to on Easter morning. You have to chuck a uey if you’re making a U-turn. Make sure you begin your day with a good brekkie. Remember to wear your sunnies if you’re going out. And, if you’re bored, turn on the TV to watch some footy.

The worst word is probably ‘thong’ – meaning flip-flops, if you’re an American and bathroom slippers (Hawaii chappals) if you’re Indian. Can you imagine walking around the university campus in your thongs? Well you do if you’re in Perth. I’ll never be able to use that one. Or get over the fact that what you wear to the loo is good enough to wear to classes.

Still there are other phrases that are very easy to pick up – ‘how’s it going’ (for how are you), that’s alright (a reply to a ‘sorry’ or ‘thank you’), ‘no worries’ which seems to be like ‘that’s alright’. There’s also the ever popular ‘I reckon’.

Well, I’m off to a fairly good start, I think – at least with the Australian English. However, I’ve already forgotten the few Aboriginal words I learnt in my first few weeks here. And I still haven’t learnt any Chinese, though I should seeing that there are so many Chinese speakers here. Still a long way to go before I can speak all the languages of Perth. Ah well, as my mum keeps reminding me, it’s one step at a time.

It only seems very ‘perthinent’ to end here with the typical cheer from Down Under – Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi!


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