You great big galah and other Australian sayings

G’day cobber! How yer goin’? This blog is devoted to teaching you a new language called Australian (pronounced “Strine”).

First of all, the Aussies love to abbreviate words, and typically add an “o” to the end of the shortened word. Here are a few examples: arvo (afternoon), doco (a documentary) Salvo (Salvation army officer), dermo (dermatologist), and gyno (gynaecologist – I thought I’d just throw that one in for heck of it!). The ‘-o’ form is often found at the ending of Australian nicknames, as in Johno, Jacko, and Robbo. However, if you happen to be called Marco (you might have Italian origins), they’ll probably just call you Mark!

Also used are abbreviations that end in “ie”: bikie (biker), truckie (trucker), pokie (poker machine – what else did you think?), sickie meaning taking a sick day off from work, and the most used one, barbie (Ok, give it a think. It’s not a doll. You’re getting warmer. YES – it’s a barbeque!!!). I’m not sure of the grammatical rule defining when one uses an “o” or an “ie”. I’m not sure anyone really knows – or cares, for that matter.

They use rather unique expressions, too. Flat out like a lizard drinking means extremely busy, at top speed. Pretty obvious, wouldn’t you say?

Howya goin’, mate?

Here’s another one. Full bottle, meaning knowledgeable. Here’s an example of how it is used: “Does Robbo know anything about paving? Yeah mate, he’s the full bottle.”. See how I have now incorporated Robbo (remember the “o”?) into a full sentence? One gets the hang of Strine flat out like a lizard drinking!

Then there is a galah. It’s the most common type of parrot in Australia, but it also means idiot or fool. “You great big !@#&ing galah!” is something one might hear a parent fondly say to a juvenile delinquent who has just totalled the family car.

Continuing with the victimization of the poor galah, there is a galah session.

Huh? You talking about me?

The galah usually flies in a large flock, has a rowdy, raucous call, and this might be why the term galah session is used for a time allocated for private conversation, especially between women on isolated outback stations, over an outback radio network. Hhhmmm. Methinks men were involved in that definition!

Here’s a good one: Gone troppo, meaning gone bloody mad! Get the rough end of the pineapple means to get a raw deal. So, one might well overhear the following in a local pub: “Bloody oath mate! Jacko got the sack from work. Got the rough end of the pineapple, he did. Went troppo, chucked a wobbly, carried on like a pork chop and really spat the dummy”.

Well, the mind just boggles and I feel like a stunned mullett. I feel the need for a glass of champagne, and some classical music to sooth me.
Till next time!


9 thoughts on “You great big galah and other Australian sayings

  1. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog, and you are making me look forward, even more, to my first visit to Oz in January. I just might need an interpreter judging from your latest! But what fun it’ll be to try to figure things out. I love your “asides” in your blog – very funny.

  2. Colin loves the hat. He made one last year for his buddy that went to Hastings (south of Sydney). Wore it off the plane – sister embarrassed – brother – in – law – roared with laughter !!

  3. It is such a shame that many of these sayings are going by the wayside now. That our unique Aussie way of speaking is getting taken over. There are some classics. I love calling people dags, but hate explaining what it means and where it comes from. The hardest expression I’ve had to explain is what a bogan is. Toughie.

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