The Sydney Morning Herald: "Save the song and dance mate, we're Australians"

by Joseph McKeown


We already linked to English to English, The Guardian's excellent guide to translating between British and American English, and now in honor of Australia Day (January 26), here is columnist Richard Glover with a guide to Australian English:

1. Say the opposite of what you mean. If someone is tall, call them Shorty. If they have red hair, call them Bluey. If the food on offer at that Australia Day barbecue is the best you've ever eaten, describe it as "not bad"...

4. When helping someone out, downplay the effort involved. You may have just helped your friend carry a grand piano up 10 flights of stairs, but - when thanked - the correct response is to say: "Too easy". That's right - it wasn't just easy, it was too easy, as if, frankly, next time it would suit you better if there were two grand pianos involved and preferably 20 flights of stairs.

5. Learn the counterintuitive use of the word "bastard". In Australian English, someone you detest is a "bit of a bastard", while your best friend is "a total bastard".