Australian English vocabulary
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Australian English is a major variety of the English language spoken throughout Australia. Most of the vocabulary of Australian English is shared with British English, though there are notable differences. The vocabulary of Australia is drawn from many sources, including various dialects of British English as well as Gaelic languages, some Indigenous Australian languages, and Polynesian languages.
One of the first dictionaries of Australian slang was Karl Lentzner's Dictionary of the Slang-English of Australia and of Some Mixed Languages in 1892.[non-primary source needed] The first dictionary based on historical principles that covered Australian English was E. E. Morris's Austral English: A Dictionary of Australasian Words, Phrases and Usages (1898). In 1981, the more comprehensive Macquarie Dictionary of Australian English was published. Oxford University Press published their own Australian Oxford Dictionary in 1999, as a joint effort with the Australian National University. Oxford University Press also published The Australian National Dictionary.
Words of Australian origin
A Battler is a person with few natural advantages, who works doggedly and with little reward, who struggles for a livelihood and who displays courage. The first citation for this comes from Henry Lawson in While the Billy Boils (1896):
I sat on him pretty hard for his pretensions, and paid him out for all the patronage he'd worked off on me... and told him never to pretend to me again he was a battler.
The origins of other terms are not as clear, or are disputed. Dinkum or fair dinkum means "true", "the truth", "speaking the truth", "authentic" and related meanings, depending on context and inflection. The Evening News (Sydney, NSW) 23 August 1879 has one of the earliest references to fair dinkum. It originated with a now-extinct dialect word from the East Midlands in England, where dinkum (or dincum) meant "hard work" or "fair work", which was also the original meaning in Australian English.
A Digger is an Australian soldier. The term was applied during the First World War to Australian and New Zealand soldiers because so much of their time was spent digging trenches. An earlier Australian sense of digger was "a miner digging for gold". Billy Hughes, prime minister during the First World War, was known as the Little Digger. First recorded in this sense 1916.
A "Yobo," also spelled Yobbo, is someone who tends to be loud and obnoxious, lacks in social skills and general behaviour. A Yobbo can also apply to someone who over indulges in alcohol and may have little or no regard for his/her appearance. Historically (1970-1990) Yobbos have also been known to have hairstyles such as the ' Mullet' or 'Rattails'. May also be shortened to Yob.
A bogan is another term for describing someone who is a Yobbo, although may have subtle regional differences such as "Bevan" in and around Brisbane (although bogan is more commonly used), and "Boonah" around Canberra. The major difference between the two is that Yobbo tends to be used as a noun, whereas bogan is a noun that is also used adjectively and can describe objects that are pertaining to people who are themselves bogan (or Yobbo).
Words of Australian Aboriginal origin
Some examples are cooee and yakka. The former is a high-pitched call (pronounced /kʉː.iː/) which travels long distances and is used to attract attention. Cooee has also become a notional distance: if he's within cooee, we'll spot him. Yakka means work, strenuous labour, and comes from 'yaga' meaning 'work' in the Yagara indigenous language of the Brisbane region. Yakka found its way into nineteenth-century Australian pidgin, and then passed into Australian English. First recorded 1847.
Didgeridoo is a wind instrument that was originally found only in Arnhem Land in northern Australia. It is a long, wooden, tubular instrument that produces a low-pitched, resonant sound with complex, rhythmic patterns but little tonal variation.
Words of British and Irish origin
Many such words, phrases or usages originated with British and Irish settlers to Australia from the 1780s until the present. For example: a creek in Australia (as in North America), is any "stream or small river", whereas in England it is a small watercourse flowing into the sea; paddock is the Australian word for "field", while in England it is a small enclosure for livestock. Bush (as in North America) or scrub means "wooded areas" or "country areas in general" in Australia, while in England they are commonly used only in proper names (such as Shepherd's Bush and Wormwood Scrubs). Australian English and several British English dialects (e.g., Cockney, Scouse, Geordie) use the word mate to mean a friend, rather than the conventional meaning of "a spouse", although this usage has also become common in some other varieties of English.
Bludger — A person who avoids working, or doing their share of work, a loafer, a hanger-on, one who does not pull his weight. Originally, a pimp.
Billy — a tin or enamel cooking pot with a lid and wire handle, used outdoors, especially for making tea. It comes from the Scottish dialect word billy meaning "cooking utensil".
Diminutives and abbreviations
Australian English vocabulary draws heavily on diminutives and abbreviations. These may be confusing to foreign speakers when they are used in everyday conversations.
There are over 5,000 identified diminutives in use. While other English dialects use diminutives in a similar way, none are so prolific or diverse. A large number of these are widely recognised and used by Australian English speakers. However, many are used only by specific demographic groups or in localised areas. Researchers are now beginning to study what psychological motivations cause Australians to abbreviate so many words.
Numerous idiomatic phrases occur in Australian usage, some more historical than contemporary in usage. Send her down, Hughie is an example.
Amber is generic term for any beer (lager/stout/ale) in general, but especially cold and on-tap.
Not only has there been a wide variety of measures in which beer is served in pubs in Australia, the names of these glasses differ from one area to another. However, the range of glasses has declined greatly in recent years.
Names of beer glasses in various Australian cities[n 1][n 2][n 3]
|115 ml (4 fl oz)||–||–||–||–||-||small beer||foursie||shetland|
|140 ml (5 fl oz)||pony||–||–||pony||pony||–||horse/pony||pony|
|170 ml (6 fl oz)||–||–||–||–||butcher[n 5]||six (ounce)||small glass||bobbie/six|
|200 ml (7 fl oz)||seven||–||seven||beer||butcher||seven (ounce)||glass||glass|
|285 ml (10 fl oz)||middy||half pint / middy||handle||pot[n 6]||schooner[n 7]||ten (ounce)||pot||middy/half pint|
|350 ml (12 fl oz)||schmiddy[n 8]||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|425 ml (15 fl oz)||schooner||schooner||schooner||schooner||pint[n 7]||fifteen / schooner||schooner[n 9]||schooner[n 9]|
|570 ml (20 fl oz)||pint||pint||pint||pint||imperial pint[n 7]||pint||pint||pint|
Australia has four codes of football, rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football, and soccer. Generally, rugby league is called football in New South Wales and Queensland, while rugby union is called either rugby or union throughout. Both rugby league and rugby union are often collectively referred to as rugby in other states where Australian rules football is called football. Association football was long known as soccer in Australia. In 2005, the governing body changed its name to Football Federation Australia. Association Football in Australia is called 'football' only when mentioned in conjunction with a specific league, such as the A-League or Premier League, meaning either Australian football or rugby on its own depending on the region of Australia.
- Australian English
- Australian comedy
- List of English words of Australian Aboriginal origin
- List of Australian place names of Aboriginal origin
- Andreas Hennings, Australian and New Zealand impact on the English language, 2004, p. 17
- Macquarie University (2007), International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes, retrieved 2013-08-20
- "Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms". Australian National Dictionary Centre, ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "Morning Gallops". August 23, 1879. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
- "The dinkum oil on dinkum: Where does it come from?". Australian National University. Archived from the original on 2002-05-11. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- Department of Immigration & Citizenship (2007), Life in Australia (PDF), retrieved 2013-08-20
- "Australian English - British English". Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "ANU: Ozwords December 20 2001". ANU. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
- Why we shorten words, Australian Geographic, 2 August 2010
- Hornadge, Bill.(1989) The Australian slanguage: a look at what we say and how we say it (foreword by Spike Milligan). Richmond, Vic: Mandarin ISBN 1-86330-010-4
|Look up Appendix:Australian English vocabulary in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|