1. Travel


Don't Let Language Get in the Way of Romance


Aussiespeak needs an understanding of the Australian language, its idioms, terms, words, phrases...

Let's say you’re an American male on a visit to Australia and you meet this dinki-di Aussie sheila.

You click, and she wonders if you can meet her later, say at 5pm, near the lifts by the chemist’s on the first floor of the Oz Building.

"No worries, mate," you say, having already picked up that Aussie expression.

And, yes, you know that lifts are elevators and the chemist’s is the pharmacy or drugstore.

A really good start to what could develop into something great.

And so at 5 o’clock...

Before it’s 5pm you rush into the Oz Building, which you discover to be a shopping centre. You had a map and it was easy to find.

The elevators are there all right but there’s no drugstore. Well, even a true blue Aussie sheila can get her bearings wrong.

So you wait by the elevators, and the minutes tick by.

By 6pm you just know you’ve been stood up...

But what about her?

Well, she was there before 5pm. She was waiting near the lifts by the chemist’s on the first floor but when you didn’t arrive by 6pm, she just knew she’d been stood up.

Unfortunately, the American knows the ground floor of a building as the first floor. Any Australian knows that the first floor of a building is the first floor up from the ground floor, or what the American would know as the second floor.

The moral of this little story is: Know a little bit of the local language.

A recent development is using level instead of floor, hence Level 1, Level 2, and so on, to avoid confusion. (Of course, Level 1 may not be the ground floor either, particularly in buildings with underground levels.)

There are a number of Australian words and phrases, for which Americans, or people influenced by the American language, use different terms.

Next page > Words and Phrases > Page 1, 2

More of this Feature
  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. Australia Travel
  4. Visiting Australia
  5. Alphabetical Index
  6. Aboriginal Art to Ayers Rock
  7. Aussiespeak: Australian Language, Idioms, Terms, Words

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.