Help + advice

 Language

OVERVIEW

English is Australia’s national language, but there are certain words and expressions that are uniquely Australian. The longer you have been in Australia the more you will understand the language, customs and habits of Australians.

Names

Addressing people on a first name basis is normal in Australia, but titles such as Mr, Mrs, Miss followed by the surname are usually used in business and formal situations.

Nicknames such as Dave (David), Mike (Michael), and Bec (Rebecca) are commonly used. In most cases this is a sign of acceptance and friendship.

Conversation

Australian English is considered quite different from American or British English. The Australian accent is broad and slang or colloquial (local) language can be difficult for visitors to understand.

If you are unsure of what was said, ask the people around you to explain their message, as people will be happy to help to translate for you.

Being polite and using words such as ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’ are appreciated and considered good manners when buying goods or services. Using good manners will assist in building good relationships.

Greeting people

When you meet someone for the first time it is normal practice to shake the person’s right hand with your right hand. In Australia, generally people who are meeting for the first time do not kiss or hug.

Australian slang

Australian expressions are often unique and very colourful. Often slang words reflect a habit to shorten words, often adding ‘o’ onto the end i.e. bottlo (for bottle shop or liquor shop).

Although they may be difficult to understand at first, in no time at all you will pick them up and probably start using them in your daily language.

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