How to Speak Australian

When you spend your spring semester abroad in the Land Down Under, you’ll learn some new vocabulary that while unfamiliar, is nonetheless understandable. For example, instead of driving on the freeway, you’ll be motoring on the motorway; instead of filling up with gas, you’ll be filling up with petrol. If your motorcar breaks down, it is said to be bunged up, which is not immediately familiar, but gets the meaning across. However, don’t be surprised if the mechanic needs to look under the bonnet instead of the hood; you might also keep tools and a spare tire in the boot rather than the trunk.

On the other hand, you don’t always watch TV in Sydney; instead, you look at the telly as you would in England. Instead of snacking on cookies, you’ll be eating elderly care course biscuits; your burger will come with an order of chips instead of fries – although you’ll discover that they’re the same thing when you study abroad in Sydney, Australia.

Like early American settlers, Europeans arriving in Australia encountered indigenous peoples whose languages contributed vocabulary to Australian English. Some of these are incomprehensible to those who have not yet spent time abroad in Sydney, Australia. For example, if you have to cram for an examination, you’ll be putting in some hard yakka if you plan to pass. Another example of hard yakka is cutting sugar cane, which is one of the most strenuous forms of physical labor in Australia’s agricultural industry. There’s also an interesting aboriginal term for distance. The term “cooee” comes from an old call used to get someone’s attention; today, if someone is nearby, he’s said to be “within cooee.”

You don’t have to know how to speak Australian in order to study abroad; Sydney, Australia is a town where almost anyone will understand any English speaker. However, you’ll learn some fascinating facts and terminology when you spend your spring semester abroad Down Under.

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