Australian English: British-Sounding and Slangy

Two female friends talking at a coffee shop.
Australians often shorten breakfast to “brekkie”.

Because Australian English stems from British English, the two dialects have many similarities. One of these similarities is to regularly omit the r-sound if an ”r” follows a vowel, such as in the words car and here. It is also commonly the case in pronunciation of both varieties that an extra r-sound is inserted between two words to simplify pronunciation. This is done when a word ending with a vowel sound comes before a word beginning with a vowel sound. An example of this is found in the phrase “Australia and New Zeeland”, which Aussies would normally pronounce “Australia[r] and New Zealand”.

Shortening words

Moving on to variety characteristics that Australian English doesn’t share with either British or American English, Aussies have a tendency to abbreviate ordinary English words in colloquial conversation. In colloquial Australian English, for example, afternoon becomes “arvo”, barbecue becomes “barbie”, sunglasses becomes “sunnies” and breakfast becomes “brekkie”. These types of simplifications, which often end in “o” or “ie”, reflect many Australians’ great liking of slang and easy pronunciation.

Me and my mates

Going back to variety features that Australian English shares with British English, another Aussie dialect characteristic is to call friends mates, as in the expressions “me and my mates” and “cheers, mate”. The same word, mate, moreover, in conversations Down Under only, is sometimes also added at the end of the colloquial Australian English phrase “How are you going?”, which means “How are you doing?” Hence, if you hear an Aussie slur “Ow ya goin, mate?”, you are likely to see a friendly face and a person wanting to know what’s up, not where you are heading.