G’day mate – Aussie & American vocabulary comparison

It’s always a funny experience when I run into a language barrier with my American friends and work colleagues. The problem is most commonly  with my helping verbs. Today, over lunch the 3 of us Aussies shared some terms we ran into which our American friends have / had trouble recognizing. In spirit, I compiled a list to get us Aussies accustomed to the choice of words to use when speaking with our American friends.

The list – vocabulary comparison

The following list of words are angled from an Aussie wanting to convey a message. Use the American column as a guide to see what an American will understand, and adjust accordingly.

Word American Australia
Boot Something that goes on your foot The trunk of a car
Texta { confusion } Say: marker A marker & also a brand
Thong G-String (the underwear) & something Borat wears A sandal held on the foot by a strip. For reference, a La Tribe Sandal.
Fortnight { confusion } Say: 2 weeks A period of fourteen consecutive days
Soft drink Say: soda/ pop / soda-pop Nonalcoholic beverage (usually carbonated)
Takeaway { confusion } Say: to-go Prepared food that is intended to be eaten off of the premises
Lemonade Drink made from lemon juice, sugar, and water – not carbonated Fizzy lemon drink
Arvo { confusion } Say: Afternoon The hours after 12pm
Pissed Very angry. Say: drunk Some who is drunk
Chemist { confusion } Say: Pharmacy / Drug store The place you buy medicine, shampoo, cough syrup and lotion
Ute { confusion } Say: Truck An automotive vehicle suitable for hauling
Napkin A piece of paper or cloth you use to wipe your face and hands when you eat A women’s sanitary product
Barbie It’s an anatomically incorrect female doll that comes in a pink box What you put beef, shrimp and chicken on to grill it outside
Rubber A contraceptive device An eraser

Employment tip

If you are using British syntax/terms (non American spelling) in your LinkedIn resume, fix it up immediately or crowd source it to an American to correct the grammar for you. Recruiters in Silicon Valley use LinkedIn to “keyword search” for potential candidates using the American grammar. So you may miss out on potential offers if you are in the market for a new opportunity.

Keep these differences in mind next time chatting with an American

An America (SFFD) with an Aussie (me)

If you have other words which you ran into please share them below in the comments section and I will add to the list above.

Happy conversing!

~ Ernest