Strine, aka Aussie English

Sydneysiders, that’s what the good people of Sydney call themselves. Now that we’ve taken possession of our cute little apartment in the middle of trendy Darlinghurst, we might be tempted to call ourselves Sydneysiders too but it’s just an address really. As soon as we open our mouths, we’re debunked as fakes. Ah, Strine what a strange idiom you are…

To learn Strine, you have to start by never using the full word if a shortened version will do. Umbrella? That’s for poms. It’s brolly, mate. Breakfast? Naw, down under you eat brekkie. Afternoon? It’s here by the time you’re through with that. Arvo is much quicker.

Unfortunately no one has told the Aussies that with some words this just doesn’t work. Take, for example, the following sentence, recently seen in the Sun Herald: “Police will try to lock bikie gangs out of Kings Cross amid fears that an intensified turf war between rival gangs could leave innocent partygoers hurt in the crossfire.” Bikie gangs? That sounds like a tricycle troop of pre-schoolers squabbling over their afternoon biscuits (arvo bikkies) instead of black-leather clad bikers shooting at each other.

A similarly misleading term is bities. This includes any creature that might bite you, from a mosquito to a spider or a snake. Since Australia is full of bities and most will inflict some serious pain if not worse, a slightly less cute and more fear-inspiring moniker would be apt in my humble opinion.

But of course having so many scary things united in one country – spiders, snakes, the outback, Paul Hogan – would explain why Aussies had to come up with cute, diminutive forms to deal with all the horror.

So in the spirit of Strine, we’ve packed our cozzies, put on our sunnies, slipped on our thongs and are off to the beach for a bit of sunbaking.

2 Responses to “Strine, aka Aussie English”

  1. Luis says:

    I have always been afraid of bikies, but I am even more afraid of the public thunderbox.

  2. Alex says:

    Love the name: Thunderbox, would that be thundie in Strine?

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