Lost in Translation in the Land Down Under

We have been out of the country for a while now and have had things pretty easy in terms of language given that we have only been to countries where English is the official language. However, even though they speak English here in Australia, there are actually quite a few phrases and terms that can throw you for a loop and make communicating or trying to get something accomplished a little more interesting that expected.

One of the more interesting lost in translation experiences occurred the other day when Shoppman and I were trying to buy a cooler for food and other necessary car-camping items. We soon found out that down here, a "cooler" is not part of the Australian lexicon. After a little talk we discovered that coolers do in fact exist in Australia but they are called "eskies," apparently after Eskimos I imagine. Once it had been established that it was an esky we were after, we then had to find out what size esky to purchase. The clerk assisted us by describing the size of the esky in relation how much beer you could put in it… they are not afraid to put a few drinks down downunder. With that, we encountered some more interesting Aussie terminology. We were asked if were looking for an esky that could fit a "slab of stubbies and tinnies." With a confused look on our faces, we inquired as to what a slab of stubbies and/or tinnies was. Apparently these are the terms used to describe a case of bottles bottles or cans. Satisfied that this would meet our needs, we left the store with our new esky fit for a slab of stubbies.

There are obviously tons of other interesting terms down here and this is a little sample of what we have learned already. By the time we get into the never-never, we will be speaking Aussie no worries.

P.S… so as not to leave the ‘kiwi’s" in New Zealand out, I have adopted "jandals" as the new terms to describe my flip-flops. Wearing jandals just sounds cooler.

Aussie Terminology

"back o’ bourke" – the middle of nowhere

"bloke" – man

"blowies" – large flies

"bonzer" – Great!

"cark it" – to die

"drongo" – worthless/stupid person

"dunny" – porta-potty, outhouse

"grouse" – Very good!

"little ripper" – extremely good thing

"lob in" – drop by

"mozzies" – mosquitoes

"never-never" – remote, the outback

"piker" – someone who doesn’t pull their weight, chickens out

"sanger" – sandwich

"shark biscuit" – inexperienced surfer

"shiela" – woman

"shonky" – unreliable

"spindoola" – money

"wowser" – someone who does not believe in having fun

"yakka" – work

"yonks" – a long time