Arbitrary Australian Stuff: Where, How, Huh?

In somewhat of a preamble, or introductory post to a series of posts I (hope) to do about Australian accents, I thought I’d start with some general tidbits.

First, a quick geography and history lesson for those…how do I put this…less inclined to look outside their corner of the globe. And for everyone else too. Australia is that oddly shaped lump plus island down south somewhere. USA (minus Alaska) is, well, you all know where it is. I include Britain largely because they’re included in our history. Basically, Australia did have indigenous people (Aboriginals) here already, but Britain decided to claim it for themselves. So, with a new bunch of land only a ship’s journey away, what better do with it than turn it into a penal colony. If you’ve heard us called convicts it’s not due to our crime rate but due to the fact majority of our original (non-indigenous) population were indeed criminals. Though those days stealing a loaf of bread was enough crime to be shipped halfway across the world.

world map australia britain america

Fascinating (Click to enlarge)

I won’t bore you with the rest of the history but people explored, the population grew, immigration started, etc etc and here we are. If only all history classes went like that. Onto some more geography, if you take a look you’ll notice that USA (minus Alaska and I guess Hawaii) actually looks a similar size to Australia. That’s because it they’re almost exactly the same size. That’s right, you guys have ~48 states in the same space we have 8. (technically 2 are ‘territories’ but they are basically the same thing) Your population is probably about 14 times as large as ours. (check out all these figures, I feel so official)

Now, I’m not trying to compare us too much, Australia and America are very different despite both being English speaking countries. Both have their ups and downs, and even though Australians probably know more about Americans than Americans know about Australians, I still wouldn’t claim to be any sort of expert.

What does all this have to do with Australian accents? Well, honestly, not much. The main thing is I wanted to highlight the Australia and British connection (we’re also a part of the Commonwealth see:the Queen) so those of you Americans (*cough* Cotton *cough*) who have tried to speak in an Australian accent and sound woefully British don’t feel too bad. It’s hard to understand, but to us, English people sound very different, but a lot of you seem to not notice that difference. It may be a sort of dialect thing, or something else, I have no idea. Any suggestions why feel free to let me know in the comments.

Australian flag face paint

Don’t stick figures look fabulous with flags for faces?

I’ll leave you with a few tidbits of Australian slang (those online dictionaries of slang are a bit hit and miss you see). You may have heard some of these before, but it’s a start right?

‘Arvo’: Afternoon. (“I’m going for a drive this arvo.”) Generally not used entirely in place of the word afternoon, more when you would say “this afteroon”

‘Maccas’: McDonalds. (“I had Maccas for breakfast this morning.”)

‘Servo’: Service Station (Gas station) (“I need fuel, we’d better go to the servo on the way home.”)


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12 Responses to Arbitrary Australian Stuff: Where, How, Huh?

  1. Cotton says:

    Woohoo! MoS is teaching us her language. I’ve always wanted to be bilingual. Pardon my French, but it’s too rusty to count.

    And I know that we’re different, but to me, a cotton farmer’s wife, I don’t feel like we’re *that* different. My son asked me the other day where I would go if I ever had to leave the US…

    “Australia, of course.”
    “No mom, that’s too much like here.”
    “Exactly, I’m already acclimated, plus, I’ve got the accent down. Win. Win.”

    • Lies, I know your accent wouldn’t be quite right! Just teasing.

      Not sure it counts as bilingual but it sounds good when you put it like that. More things to brag about are always good.

  2. Cotton says:

    Hold up there, cupcake. “Most of it?” Um, Alaska is like half the size of the mainland, and it didn’t even get so much as an arrow pointed in its direction. YET, you went wayyyy out of your way to include a pipsqueak of an island for team Australia.

    Don’t look now, sugar lips, but your bias is showing.

    • Oh no, my bias?!

      Alaska doesn’t count. In order for me to include it my circling of America would be less of a circle than it already is. Think of how much effort is involved in circling Alaska AS WELL. I’d fix it, but I’m too lazy. You’ll live. My apologies to Alaskans? though.

  3. Cotton says:

    Sarah Palin does not forgive you. Oh no wait, she does. Sorry about that, she confuses me sometimes.

  4. Cotton says:

    But isn’t she cute? I mean really. Plus she’s got nerve, which is a lot more than I can say for most of those nitwits.

    American politics, eh? I’m moving to Australia arvo.

    • Heh, I’m not really a fan. But, avoiding the topic of politics… might wanna say ‘this arvo’.

      You’re on the right track though, you’ll blend in easy in no time!

  5. Oh I do love this kind of thing.

    There’s a whole “dictionary” full of expressions used in the US south – – – Jeff Foxworthy made some of them famous. Here are a few of my faves:

    Sensuous: Sensuous up, how ’bout bringin’ me a coke?

    Motea: Motea please, she said to the waiter.

    Awrite: Feeling awrite? Or, Well awritey then!

  6. TS Hendrik says:

    Speaking as someone who was born in Alaska, it counts to some of us.

    You know this is interesting cause just the other day I tried to imitate an Australian woman and found out that while I can actually do a fairly decent Australian accent, and I can creepily sound like a woman, I cannot do the same simultaneously.

    • Yea, Alaska does count. It got in the way of my comparison though. I’ll be sure to circle it next time.

      That’s hilarious, I like that you can at least do an Australian accent (plus sounding like a woman is cool too). You’re still beating Cotton, who also cannot sound like an Australian woman either.

      That’s mean. Sorry Cotton!

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