Inspire / Travel

Learning Australian in Korea

“To-ma-to, to-ma-to.”

I’ve always heard the saying but never really heard someone say it differently.  Until I met someone from Australia.

Orientation was a magical place where English teachers from all over the world gathered and spoke one language.  Even though we spoke one language, the way people said things or the vocabulary people used varied.  English dialects varied from country to country and even from region to region within countries.

Since coming to Korea, I’ve been exposed to some Australian vocabulary.  It’s weird how that works out.  Here’s a small translation guide that can hopefully help you out.

Arvo: Afternoon

Biscuit: Cookie

Brisbin: A city in Australia. Often spelled: “B-R-I-S-B-A-N-E”.

Capsicum: Bell pepper

Corriander: Cilantro

Keen: Excited; looking forward to it; down

Lolly: Hard candy

Melbin: A city in Australia. Often spelled: “M-E-L-B-O-U-R-N-E”.

Mozzie: A mosquito

Petrol: The fuel that your vehicle runs on; gas

Rubber: Eraser

Thongs: Flip-flops

Uni: Short for university; college

Whoop whoop: The middle of nowhere, the boonies

Although this is a small list, most of these words came up during casual conversation.  I remember when my girlfriend from Australia said “thongs”.  Another fellow Californian and I both looked at each other with a puzzled, surprised face.  Thongs (with an “-s”) refers to flip-flops, whereas a thong (without the “-s”) refers to the underwear.  I don’t speak for all Americans but any mention of “thong” assumes a thread-like piece of underwear.

But what would Australians think of when reading this sentence: “There are women wearing thongs”.  Are they all wearing a specific type of underwear? Or flip-flops?

I hope no one found this post blatantly offensive.  I found it refreshing to experience new vocabulary.  I even plan to use some!  I will definitely use “Melbin”; I have to say it like the locals.  And I like the efficiency of “mozzie” and “uni”.  And “whoop whoop” is just fun to say!

Let me know if I should add more to the list!

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