Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Australian vs. American English vol.2

Originally inspired by Kristen's post on Olya's blog about Expat Word Confusion, I wrote a blog post a while ago about those funny ways that both Australians and Americans speak English...but at times, we speak different versions of the same language.

I was inspired to write a second installment when I saw a Texas friend on facebook complain about June bugs.......

..............you know, those annoying insects that fly and scare the bejeezus out of you that show up the first month of summer, and they are called "June bugs"...well, the first month of summer in Australia is December, so they are called "Christmas beetles".

A "cell phone" is used in America; in Australia, they are called "mobile phones", and they are pronounced (mo-BILE) as in "rhymes with mile".

"Gasoline", as in the fuel for your car, Aussies call this "petrol"; so, you stop at a "petrol station" (instead of "gas station")...

...or "servo" (instead of "service center").

Oh, and the Australians love that use of "o" to shorten/abbreviate words....

Avo is an avocado

Muso is a musician; Journo is a journalist; Doco is a documentary; Ambo is ambulance

The Salvos is the Salvation Army

Arvo is afternoon

(A bottle shop is a liquor store)

At the "bottle-o", you could pick up some "grog" (because grog is an all-encompassing term for alcoholic beverages, and bottle-o is short for bottle shop)

They may serve "grog" at a "hotel" because sometimes a "hotel" is a "pub"; and sometimes a "pub" offers accommodation, so it's called a "hotel", but sometimes it doesn't have rooms, yet it may still be called a "hotel", or just a "pub".
If that one didn't confuse you enough, this one is still somewhat confusing to me at times.......

A ute is short for "utility vehicle"; sometimes, it is a truck, but often looks more like an El Camino

Enough for this volume? 

Well, if it wasn't, you can read volume 1 here...

...until next time.



  1. I love how we can be speaking the same language, but it often doesn't seem so. Even with the U.S., the many dialects cause some communication breakdowns!

  2. For the longest time I didn't know if they were saying bottler or bottle-o. My least favorite abbreviation is facey for Facebook 😁.

  3. That pub/hotel one is really helpful for me because I have been listening to an Australian podcast and have been confused by that one once or twice!

  4. Wow... that could get confusing quick! I think differences in vocabulary is so interesting! I like the shortened "avo"!

  5. lol that hotel pub one had me all sorts of confused. BUT fun fact, i call avocados, avo's and i call the phone a mobile phone although some people look at me like i'm insane (kerri, you're american, calm down = their faces) ha!

    xoxo cheshire kat

  6. Oh my gosh, the whole hotel/pub thing threw me for a loop. Eeek!

    I love how they had an "O" to the end of everything - cracks me up. Ha!

  7. I love this kind of stuff... its so funny how things are so different on small things that you dont even think about.
    I'm going to start shortening words & adding O on the end just for fun now.

  8. This was fun! I remember thinking how weird it was seeing El Camino's when I visited Australia years ago. I never see El Comino's here anymore, ever.

  9. Seriously I am in love with these. Off to the bottle shop for some grog! It makes my heart happy LOL

  10. I am going to be so smart when I finally get to Australia!

    I love that everything is shortened. Almost like they can't be bothered with whole words (most likely because y'all are dodging something that will kill you and you need all the extra time you can get).

  11. Love this, Erin! I had no idea that they added "o" to everything but I like it! :) The whole pub versus hotel thing confuses me so I would likely end up at a pub when I'm looking for a hotel but a drink always makes a great nightcap, right?

  12. WHAT. I had no idea you all had christmas beetles here hahahaha that is fabulous! june bugs! love it.
    haha yes basically all 'trucks' are utes, but they are rarely as big as the more common trucks in the US. it's weird. like i think we might have a few f-150s and we have the hilux but i think the hilux is most likely smaller than a f150? most of our utes are the same size as the el camino thing you mentioned. maybe that's why you all say trucks, because they are more often than not, big? like kc had a chevvy s10 that he called a truck even though it was smaller than say, an f150 (it's like my go-to comparison haha) but bigger than a holden commodore ute. though i know holden isn't a thing anymore, right? look at me, asking you questions about my country! wtf! haha

  13. That's too funny that they call june bugs Christmas beetles! Although, it really does make sense. Ok the whole hotel pub thing is totally weird to me! I don't know if I'd ever get that one down!

  14. Ohhhhhh this makes sense when you said "o" at the end of things to a book I was listening to! I cant even remember what is was now but I remember them saying a few things with "o". I figured out petrol station from books too! Love bottle shop!

  15. Haha I love posts like this! Eric and I sometimes notice that we use slightly different terms for things or pronounce things differently, and we simply grew up in different parts of the U.S. I can't even imagine how hilarious those conversations would be if we'd grown up in different countries. Haha.

    Some of these things are so confusing. Like arvo means afternoon? I would have no idea. And the "hotel/pub" thing? That would take me a long time to get used to. I would probably just be like, "Ummm ... I want to go to a place where I can get alcohol and hang out with my friends please." Haha.

    Also, the mobile thing made me think of that Friends episode when Phoebe's friend is visiting from England, and she's all, "Please just ring me on my mobile!" I know people actually use that term regularly, but I can't hear that word and NOT think of that episode. Haha.

  16. This made me super nostalgic because I totally miss Australia and I remember so many of these terms! ALSO I WENT TO THE AUSTRALIAN HOTEL (twice, actually)!!! I had kangaroo pizza there and felt kind of guilty because I literally went to pet kangaroos the next day. Also wait...June bugs are just the beetles that are everywhere in the summer? Because we don't say June bugs in the PNW, but we most definitely get overrun with beetles (one landed on me this weekend and I flipped out).

  17. It does seem like such a different language!
    The adding "o" sticks out to me, in particular.

  18. you used a pic from fear and loathing in las vegas! yee! love that movie.


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