Australian English

Students often ask what the ‘correct’ English is, and the short answer is that there isn’t one! While the English language obviously originated in England, it is now used so widely around the world that it is more often referred to as ‘World Englishes’. While it’s still the same language, different countries will use English in slightly different ways, using different words and pronunciation, and sometimes even different grammar!

Australian English is similar to British and American English; however, there are also some differences. Vowel sounds may be pronounced slightly differently, and many Australians don’t speak as clearly as you might be used to. Students often complain that we speak fast – while some people do, the problem is usually more about the ways we link sounds together, and we talk about this more in the fourth listening skills video below.

One common feature of Australian English is the way we abbreviate words and add an /i:/ or /əʊ/ sound to the end. For example, ‘chocolate’ might become ‘choccie’, and ‘biscuit’ might become ‘bikkie’ … so you might be offered a ‘choccie bikkie’! Or someone might ask what you’re doing in the ‘arvo’ – afternoon.

Like most languages, Australian English also has different words for formal and informal English. You might like to learn some informal (slang) expressions – while you might never say them, and you definitely won’t use them in your academic writing, learning them might help you to better understand spoken English in Australia. Be careful though – slang changes as fashions and times change and may even change with different regions. Try to find opportunities to chat informally with Aussies, and if they say anything you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask them to explain.

If you would like to learn some common slang expressions, you can go here (link to There’s also a quiz to test your understanding!