Speaking Australian Part One – Intro to Strine

By far, one of the things that fascinates non-Australians the most about Australia is the language. Australians speak English (mostly) so why do some of the words not make sense?

When it comes to Strine – Aussie slang, if you prefer – there are a few things you should remember:

1. Most Aussies will be polite when you first arrive and not use a lot of Strine.
2. Most Aussies like messing with people – stirring – so don’t substitute the ‘most’ in #1 with ‘all’.
3. Most people who try to imitate an Australian accent end up sounding English, so you’d be better off not ‘going Aussie’ just yet.

Here are some basic Strine phrases that will help get you through your first days here in Australia:


This is probably the most well known and easily decipherable Aussie-ism, and that's why I choose to start with it. "G'day" is a traditional Aussie greeting, but that doesn't mean it has completely replaced hello, hi, hey, and the other greetings people are used to.

Side note: You're more likely to get asked how you're 'going' than how you're 'doing'.


Mate, while probably looked at from the outside at just another term for friend, can be more than that.
In casual greeting, mate can mean friend.

However, if someone points out another person and says, "Yeah, he's my mate" then it means close friend rather than casual friend.

Some Quick Aussie-isms

Fag - Cigarette
Petrol - Fuel/Gas
Knickers - Women's underwear
Jocks - Men's underwear
Doona - A stuffed quilt
Mobile - Cell phone
Drongo - Clumsy idiot

Some Quick Phonetics

Mobile - Mow-bile
Herb - like it's spelled - not 'erb'
Basil - Baa-zil
Tomato - Most often heard as toh-mah-toh

And just a note...

Koala bear - Not a bear! Just a koala.


Hanlie said...

Aussies aren't so different from South Africans!

We also put petrol in our cars and wear knickers (or more commonly, panties). And ditto the pronunciation for herb, basil and tomato!

blogsall said...

yeah, you're right. when i went to australia and i was asked if i wanted to buy some knickers, i said; "A what?" i got so embarassed. you're site's really cool.keep the posts coming.i'm linking your site.

JM said...

Hanlie - I have never heard an Austrlaian use the word 'panties', while that is the main word in the US and I have never heard anyone over there use 'knickers'. Very funny.

Blogsall - Thank you for the link. :)