Tag Archives: Australia

How to Speak Australian

Do you remember the Foster’s Beer ad campaign? I recently had my own lesson in how to speak Australian. During my recent trip to Singapore I roomed for four nights with a colleague from our Australian office. We became fast friends and enjoyed staying up late, swapping stories and laughing at cultural differences we encountered between Australians and Singaporeans, Americans and Singaporeans, and Australians and Americans. He didn’t know it at the time, but I was secretly recording into my phone the uniquely Australian phrases he used. I had to fight the urge to laugh when he said these things, not because I think they’re stupid in any way, but just because language is a funny thing. Every cultural has its own colloquialisms and euphemisms. Every cultural creates its own word pictures based on its history and context. This is one of the many things I love about English and why I’ll probably never tire of studying it.

So here you go. A mini lesson in how to speak Australian.

“That’s a bit claggy.” Translation: That’s backwoods. Or that’s hick or hillbilly.

“We gave it the flick.” Meaning, we got rid of it. As in, “Our office tried out that software too, but it kept crashing so we gave the flick.”

“Everyone’ll put their two bobs in, ya know?” Reminiscent of the American euphemism, “that’s just my two cents.”

“They go out for lunch and then kick on for drinks.” I just love this usage of “kick on.” I think I’ll start using this phrase here in Michigan and just see what people say.

“Andy, you’re dragging the chain!” Meaning, “stop walking so slow!”

“Are you as bright as a button this morning?”

“A big daggy.” I can’t remember what this one meant or how it’s different from claggy, but it made me chuckle.