Questions about English used in Australia.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

5
votes
1answer
135 views

Are litotes more common in Australian English?

Are litotes more common in Australian English, especially colloquial speech, compared to other dialects of English such as American English? I could find on ELU a comment stating that this is the ...
4
votes
2answers
49 views

Is 'yeah-nah' a uniquely Australian idiom?

There is a response in Australian English that means "Yes I hear you and empathise with your situation, but no this course of action won't work for me." [Yeah-Nah] I assumed this was a normal part of ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

On literary techniques

Are there any literary techniques in these quotes? “But a man who comes to power with the support of the common people holds it alone and has no one around him who’s unwilling to obey” and ...
1
vote
2answers
70 views

Do English speaking subcultures attach different meanings to the phrase “I'm sorry”?

On a recent trip the US, someone explained to me that saying "sorry" meant taking responsibility for causing the loss. Thus you should only say sorry if you intended to fix the situation. (And ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning of “Cheeky” in Australian Aboriginal English

In Australian Aboriginal English, does "Cheeky" have meanings different from those found in other varieties of English? In the Baz Luhrmann movie "Australia", the word "Cheeky" was used by the ...
2
votes
3answers
361 views

Is “Wrong side business” used in real life?

In the film "Australia", the phrase "Wrong side business" (or "Wrong sided"?) is used as slang for sex. It sounds like typical Australian Aboriginal English. Wikipedia's article on the topic gives a ...
7
votes
3answers
305 views

Why is the Australian Labor Party spelt without a 'u'? [closed]

In both the UK and New Zealand there are Labour parties spelt with a u. The Labour Party. The New Zealand Labour Party In Australia, it's The Labor Party. Australian Labor Party What explains ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

what does ranger redhead mean for Australians?

I heard this reference on the Bravo TV show "Watch What Happens : Live" when Andy was speaking to the Housewives of Melbourne. They were giving phrases to the guests that were things Australians say, ...
3
votes
5answers
546 views

Expression for becoming homeless, which has the word 'street' in it? How about “pushed to the streets”?

If I lost all my money and became homeless, what standard expression can I use which has the word 'street'? Would it sound perfectly okay to a native English speaker if I said "I was pushed to the ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Regional usage of “Violet” and “Purple”

I am looking to describe a flower such as the one in the following picture for a game: After showing the game to a number of beta testers, I noted that about half of them were fine with "violet" ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

How did different accents originate in English? [closed]

I want to know the New Zealand and Australian dialects in English. Please tell me what you know.
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did Australian English change from spelling words like 'honor' to 'honour'?

I know there are other questions comparing the US and UK usage of o and ou in words like colour. My question is specifically in regard to Australian English. I was always taught that here in Australia ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning and origin of British/Australian slang word 'tut'

About twenty years ago I overheard a girl from the north of England laughingly advise a friend to get ready for a night out by telling her to 'slap some tut on your face'. She clearly meant 'put on ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

How to pronounce (OS X) Yosemite in Australian English

In Australian English, is (OS X) Yosemite pronounced to rhyme with "vegemite", or the same as in Yosemite Sam, who is named after the national park?
23
votes
4answers
7k views

“Pissed” vs “Pissed off”

In Australian English there has always been a distinction between "pissed" (intoxicated) and "pissed off" (angry, irritated). I've noticed a trend towards the American usage where "he was really ...
-2
votes
1answer
81 views

Chose best passive/active voice… 1. They greet me cheerfully every morning. a. Every morning I was greeted cheerfully. b. I am greeted cheerfull [closed]

In the questions below the sentences have been given in active/passive voice. From the given alternatives, choose the one which best expresses the given sentence in passive/active voice... 1. They ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

In which countries would “tags” be understood to mean “License plates and stickers that show the registration is currently valid”?

On our sister site a user recently used the term "tags" in relation to taxis in China. I thought it might man some kind of official authorization to operate a taxi. But upon clarification I was told ...
4
votes
2answers
229 views

What Kind of Connotations are Associated with the word 'Bruv'?

I encountered the slang word 'bruv' for the first time not long ago while playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The word is used quite a lot by a genius scientist character named Gladstone Katoa, but ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

How common is pronouncing the past tense of beat as /bet/?

Personally, I pronounce the past tense of "beat" (to win at a game) as /biːt/, to sound identical to the infinitive. However, I have heard a few people under the age of 30 and from either the west or ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Socket or outlet, which one do you use when explaining to a child? [closed]

I'm just curious.... In the USA, how do you explain to a child 'don't put anything in the electrical outlet' or 'don't play with a wall socket'?? How do you say the same thing around the globe?
3
votes
0answers
193 views

Distinguishing Australian, English, South African accents [closed]

I have attended courses in English over many years, and as most of my English teachers have an Algerian accent, I have always wondered about the question of accents. I can distinguish an American ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Is “root access” acceptable in a professional setting in Australian English?

In Australian English, which has a slang meaning of "root" which is best avoided in a professional setting, is "root access" acceptable in a professional setting? If not, what synonyms, preferably ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do Aussies use “cactus” to mean “dead,” “useless,” or “broken”?

This bloody washing machine is cactus! Glossaries / dictionaries of Australian slang (like this one, and this one) list cactus as meaning "dead, useless, or broken." How did this usage come ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

What is a “hens party” and where is this phrase commonly used?

Where does the term come from, where in the world is the term used? I came across the usage in this article, with this paragraph as quoted: Keara O'Neil was on a shopping trip to find bridesmaid ...
17
votes
6answers
14k views

How did the Australian accent come about?

Can anybody tell me how the Australian accent came about? It seems strange to me that it is not more like an English accent taking into account that the first and the majority of settlers were ...
5
votes
2answers
154 views

What's the origin of “dinkum”?

Dinkum as a noun means work, especially hard work. As an adjective, like fair dinkum, it means honest or genuine. Other than saying it's chiefly Australian and New Zealand, the OED simply says ...
6
votes
9answers
2k views

What could be the equivalent term in British or Australian English to the American English word “hillbilly”?

In Wikipedia, “hillbilly” is defined as: … a term referring to certain people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia but also the Ozarks. Owing to its ...
1
vote
1answer
219 views

Why are we supposed to say the “a” as an “e” in “any” and “many”?

I speak Australian English, but I seem to pronounce the words many and anything differently from how the vast majority of people here do so. I pronounce it using an a sound rather than an e sound ...
5
votes
3answers
600 views

Are there any words pronounced with an unstressed short monophthong at the end of word that are not /ə/?

Following my question Are there any words in English pronounced with /e/ at the end? I was wondering if there are any words pronounced with an unstressed short monophthong at the end of word that are ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

1902 use of phrase “giving a tiger” in the context of paying homage to the King's coronation

In Mrs Aeneas Gunn's autobiographical 'The Little Black Princess : A True Tale of Life in the Never-Never Land, 1905, she writes about previously celebrating the coronation of Edward VII in the bush. ...
8
votes
4answers
18k views

Why are Australian redheads often called 'bluey'?

From Wikipedia's article on Virgin Australia: Virgin Australia was launched as Virgin Blue in August 2000, with two Boeing 737–400 aircraft, one leased from then-sister airline Virgin Express. ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

What is the origin of the word “copped”?

In the language used by footy (Australian football) commentators the word "copped" is frequent. For instance, if a player gets knocked on the head, say, then the sentence might be "player X copped ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do 'fine words butter no parsnips'?

I was at a dinner last night where some rather nice herb butter was served with the vegetables. Conversation close to me then turned to the English expression 'Fine words butter no parsnips'. It ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Is “early mark” only used in Australia and New Zealand?

What countries is "early mark" used in? It means being let out of something, typically school, early. onelook.com only reports it being mentioned in Urban Dictionary, and it doesn't have information ...
1
vote
3answers
884 views

Is it “re-offend” or “reoffend”? [closed]

I want to know whether there is a hyphen in the word re-offend, or if it is spelt reoffend. I looked in Oxford English dictionary and the word "reoffend" appears, but then I checked Merriam-Webster ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

What does the word “En masse” mean in the following context?

I need someone to help me to define the meaning of the word "en masse" in the following context: the initial aim of internment during the later conflict was to identify and intern those who posed ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

Exact meaning of “Tyranny of Distance”

In Australia, I often hear the phrase "the Tyranny of Distance", but I'm not exactly sure what it means. I know that the phrase originated from The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped ...
4
votes
7answers
2k views

Would the phrase “No worries!” be understood outside Australia?

In Australia, No worries! is a very common way of saying You’re welcome. I wonder whether it is used this way in other English-speaking countries. The phrase’s meaning can be understood easily ...
1
vote
1answer
293 views

Is there a phonetic difference between the final vowel sounds of “butter” and “action” in Australian English?

The Macquarie Dictionary lists the following pronunciations: butter /ˈbʌtə/, apart /əˈpaːt/ & action /ˈækʃən/. Wiktionary lists them as butter /ˈbʌ.tə/ (RP), apart /əˈpɑː(ɹ)t/ (RP) & action ...
4
votes
1answer
178 views

What does 'Roodow (wrongly spelled, only the sound)' mean?

In Australia, I have met a lot of people saying a word (sound like) 'roudow' to respond (mostly to end, like 'alright' equivalent) a conversation. I have been searching around but haven't got any clue ...
8
votes
5answers
8k views

What does “Eleventy-seven” mean?

I came across the following phrase in a story (set in Australia): So the fact that I'm forty-five and you're eleventy-seven means nothing to me. If other people have a problem with that, then it's ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Origin of “chuck a wobbly”?

Chuck a wobbly is Australian slang for someone throwing a tantrum, and I like it because it invokes amusing imagery. I'm not certain of its origins however. I can see how it may be equivalent to the ...
4
votes
7answers
263 views

Is there a word for an inferior substitute?

I was wondering if there is a word in English to describe a person fulfilling another's role, albeit not as proficient.
3
votes
2answers
238 views

Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word?

Usage: "I would not like to eat that pie as it looks all festy since you dropped it on the ground." Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word? Also, is it used elsewhere in the world? ...
5
votes
3answers
218 views

Different dictionary in New South Wales, Australia?

My writing textbook on page 446 says this: Use local conventions regarding punctuation, spelling, and mechanics. Be aware that these conventions differ from place to place, even in the English ...
5
votes
2answers
589 views

Buckley's Chance

In Australian parlance we have the expression "He's got Buckley's chance" or "You've got two chances - Yours and Buckley's". Meaning - he o you have no chance at all. Who was Buckley?
2
votes
2answers
584 views

Does the English language have an official Academy?

For some languages, there are academies that decide topics such as grammar and spelling of things, for example, for the Spanish language, there are 22 academies in 22 different countries, all making ...
-1
votes
2answers
2k views

British and other English variants of 'write to me' - 'write me'' [duplicate]

In British English, the standard is 'write to me'. In American English the standard is 'write me'. Similar variants exist with 'out of the window' and 'out the window'. When did the dropping of ...
1
vote
2answers
122 views

What does an en_GB speaker need to know to write en_AU?

I'm a native speaker of British English, and I often write documentation and copy for an international audience. I understand the differences between British and American English enough to "translate" ...
3
votes
2answers
845 views

What is the origin and prevalence of the term “server” meaning “wait(er/ress)”?

In a comment on this question, the term "server" is used to refer to the guy working at the register in a pizza restaurant. I have never heard this usage before (in Australia), and was only able to ...