In my series of posts on Australian expressions and idiosyncrasies, I realize that I have left you, dear readers, sadly in the dark. You see, I have just now unlocked one of the secrets to speaking like an Aussie in no time. In a way it is so simple that I adopted it without realizing it; in another way it was one of the largest initial barriers in my ability to follow a fast-paced conversation: the clever use of Australian abbreviations.
This post was originally published in 2009. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
Chop off the last half of a word and replace it with “a”, and you’ve got the basics. Here are a few examples:
Cuppa = cup of tea or coffee
Macka = Mackenzie
Maccas = McDonalds (although you will also hear it pronounced as Mackers)
This follows the same principle as above (which is the basic principle of Australian abbreviations!). The sticky part is that it can be tough (with my Canadian ears) to differentiate between an Australian saying “a” and “er”, so there may well be some leeway between this category and the “a” one.
Chuckers = nun chucks
Mackers = McDonalds
Sanger = sandwich (yup – I had trouble making the leap from sandwich to sanger the first time myself)
“ie” or “y”
This one of the more common forms of Australian abbreviation as I can tell, with some very popular words in the repertoire, such as:
Aussie = Australian
Barbie = barbeque
Bikkie = biscuit/cracker/cookie (yes, all three)
Brissie = Brisbane
Footy = football
Greenie = environmentally friendly person
Linnie/Lindie = Linda
Mozzie = mosquito
Tradie = tradesman
Uni = university (it’s not an “ie” or “y” abbreviation, but it’s close)
Arvo = afternoon (I’m not sure where the “r” came from)
Avo = avocado (not to be confused with arvo/afternoon, which I’ve done frequently – it gets messy)
Bizzo = business
Bottle-O = bottle shop / liquor store
Doco = documentary
Johnno = John
Journo = journalist
Smoko = smoke break
This, I’ve only recently tuned in to hearing and identifying the roots of, so examples from my vocabulary are slim. (Australian readers, please help me out!)
Sharon = Shazza (which also happens to be a descriptive term for a woman who is basically trailer trash – I pity the girl named Sharon)
Many of these abbreviations are not specific to any particular generation or class of individual; instead they are commonly used terms in Australian dialogue, on television (not that television is the be-all and end-all of culture, but it’s even on the news), and even in writing. I’ve probably used the word “Aussie” about a thousand times to date on this website alone.
I know there are many more Aussie abbrevos (?-maybe it’s abbrevvies), so mates, pony up: how do you minimize those pesky unnecessary syllables?