How to Speak Australian

G'Day! coverG’Day!
Teach Yourself Australian in 20 Easy Lessons

Those of you planning a trip to the wonderful country of Australia might be wise to bring this handy guide to Australian. I invite the Aussies to please comment on the veracity of such a book.

I had a blast reading this. I feel that with this helpful book, I can manage a menu at the Outback Steakhouse restaurant and a Crocodile Dundee film marathon.




G'Day back cover


How to B.S.

Geography and politics


  1. It’s true that we Australians do use some of those words occasionally, but not with anything close to that frequency, especially for those of us from non-rural areas. We certainly don’t use the word mate nearly as much as foreigners tend to think we do! We also see enough American and British TV to understand those forms of English, even if we don’t normally use all the slang from those dialects.

  2. As far as offensiveness goes, ‘Boong’ would be pretty close to a slightly dated version of the N-word. The stereotyping of ‘Mediterraneans’ also probably seemed fun in 1986 (previous page isn’t included, but let me guess, they own the Fish and Chip shop?). It’s pretty much the same down here now, except slightly more vitriolic. Drop-in ethnic replacements might be anyone from the Middle East, Vietnamese… perhaps Sudanese, depending on what part of the country you’re living in. Or Iranian refugees, if you’re the Prime minister.

    1. Yes, I have to admit I did the shocked Helen Lovejoy expression when I read the ‘B-word.’ It’s certainly as offensive as the ‘N-word’ is elsewhere, although it’s usage has become pretty rare of late. ‘Indigenous’ is probably the best way to describe someone of aboriginal descent. But now you know why we find it so funny when Americans are ‘rooting’ for someone or something.

  3. I love that the author’s name is Colin Bowles – the book is classified as Humor.

  4. I agree with Joanne – we don’t really use these terms except in fun sometimes. This book would have been classed as Humour even in 1986 and is now very outdated. All the “Mediterraneans” are well and truly Australian now. I did get a laugh but I also cringed at some of the sentiments expressed.
    Definitely to be weeded.

  5. Famous tale of the author of similar Australian slang study ‘Let’s Talk Strine’ doing a signing session. She cheerfully signed a copy ‘To Emma Chizzit’, not realising that the young lady in question was simply enquiring as to the price of the book…

  6. My dad actually still talks somewhat like this and so do many of his mates 🙂 Needless to say, neither he nor them are worried about political correctness in the least and all consider themselves to be proper, old fashioned ‘ocker’ Australians. A dying breed if you will. I grew up in rural South Australia and know plenty of people who, while understanding that this book is humorous, wouldn’t disagree with anything much on page 42. Although they might not say it out loud anymore 🙂
    A few things though:
    ‘Middy’ is an eastern states term. Each ‘area’ in Australia has it’s own slang for a standard beer and a standard beer will differ in size across states. Best to just ask for a beer 🙂
    I’ve not heard anyone call another person a nong for at least 20 years.
    Snapper, cobbler and dhufish are all actual types of fish. Flake is just shark but again this could be a region by region thing.
    A chicko roll is nothing like a spring roll except in that it is deep fried and roll shaped. All other perceived similarities are possibly the result of too many beers (this is staple ‘after pub food’ where I grew up).
    I have actually sat in pubs in rural Australia and heard people talking in a very similar manner, although admittedly the book is exaggerated and the terms are outdated. Although not as much as you would probably expect. And my very own husband (also from the country) uses the word ‘mate’ with disturbing frequency, especially when talking on the phone. I haven’t heard the horribly offensive B word since my primary school days though.
    It’s a mildly interesting example of the crass Australian humour that was fashionable in the 80s but it has no real value to anyone now except to make us cringe. Except for my dad and his mates who would probably still find it funny. Weed it for sure. And possibly burn it. And bury the ashes. Deeply.

  7. Well I’d mostly agree with the comments b y Aussies, there use of slang is perhaps not quite as pervasive as portrayed, … apart from the offensive words (which many Aussies are doing their best to deny exist any more) – as someone that looks different I can attest those are used very frequently, and not only by beer filled youth, but by ordinary folk in the street, those working in shops and offices, up to and including those in high office.
    Aussie slang has probably more offensive words and phrases than any other; ignore their claims of having not heard those words since very young and other attempts by some posters to paint themselves innocent, truth is they are not afraid to, and very often, use them all. (Challenge to the Aussie responders: Paint yourself black for a day and try it, wont take long, start with your friends – which would be a good reflection of yourself.)

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