Want to speak Australian? Just abbreviate

Want to speak Australian? Just abbreviate
PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY - Travelling to Australia and want to fit in? Or just trying to understand your mates from Down Under? The Sydney pastor behind a video that has gone viral explaining the local lingo might be able to help.

Josh Hawkins put the three-minute clip entitled "How to speak Australian: Abbreviate Everything" on YouTube a week ago and since then it has been viewed more than 130,000 times and even drawn praise from former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard.

Hawkins said Monday the key to speaking Aussie is to shorten words where possible - a practice which means that even Australia itself is condensed to "Straya".

"There wasn't a lot of thought behind it to be honest," he told AFP of the video.

"I just thought that it would be interesting to see how many abbreviations we could come up with ... that everyday Aussies use." Simple words such as football, biscuit and chocolate become "footy", "biccy" and "choccy" - and the general response has been amazement at how many common words are shortened in everyday use.

"For anyone who's visiting, an essential is 'G'day, how ya going?'. You can have a full conversation with just that," said Hawkins, a pastor who works with young adults.

Another essential would be understanding what Australians call a pub.

"There's a few options: you can just call it 'the local'. So, 'Heading down to the local for a bevvy' (that's a beverage)," said Hawkins.

"But also you can call it the 'tav', that's short for tavern, the 'bowlo', that's short for bowling club, or the 'arrie', that's short for the RSL," he added in reference to the Returned and Services League of Australia, which has hundreds of establishments around the country that serve the country's veterans.

There is less confusion with the word beer, but as he notes that "if you drink it out of the tin can, it's a 'tinny'".

Hawkins said he had been surprised by the huge response to the video, which was retweeted by Gillard who described it as "hilarious!". However, she noted it omitted "chuck a sickie" which means to take a sick day off work.

"She's probably the queen of Aussie slang actually," he admitted.

"Some of the stuff that she comes out with is what we like to call a bit bogan (uncouth). I think she's said in the past... 'Yeah, come down with the family, have a gawk, have a gander at what's going on'.

"So that basically means have a look and enjoy whatever it was she was talking about." Hawkins said there were many words he had to leave out, and obviously swear words were not acceptable. But for their next video he's considering names.

"We don't call anyone by their actual name. It's either a variation of their last name or something out of left field. So I would be known as 'Hawko' because my last name is Hawkins."

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