US Embassy Aussie slang fail

The land of unique slang that is both colourful and often confusing to anyone who isn’t from the country.

From slang such as ‘yeah nah’ (no), ‘nah yeah’ (yes) to ‘smoko’ (cigarette break) and ‘bikkie’ (biscuit), there’s little wonder why foreigners are often left scratching their heads.

The US Embassy in Australia attempted to provide clarity by offering some translations to help Americans “speak like a local”.

“We’re lucky to work with such lovely Australians who help us with the lingo. Could say we’re over the mother onion,” the US embassy tweeted.

But their list didn’t quite hit the mark.

Some of the more baffling Aussie “slang” words included chubbers (shoes), koala log (cigarette), sky gator (plane), bogga bogga (toilet) and freshie (tourist).

Aussies did not hold back in the comments, informing the embassy that only one of the words in the list was correct: mate.

“Yeah the only one [that] is right is the first one mate, and even then [it] doesn’t always mean friend [depending] on the context,” one person commented.

“Hey champ been here 20 years and bar the first one [I’ve] never ever heard any of those other ones – someone is pulling your leg. Now I’m off [to] Google ‘Finnegan’s hole’,” another wrote.

Others took offence when the embassy asked for sources when one critic pointed out how wrong the translations were.

“The fact that actual Australian are yelling [at] you [that] they’re wrong isn’t enough of a source?” one user commented.

“Source? Being an Aussie isn’t enough of a ‘source’?” another wrote.

Others suggested the person behind the embassy Twitter account was likely a “troll” who deliberately built a list of bogus slang in a bid to rile up Aussies.

Origins of Aussie slang

Aussie slang dates back to the earliest settlement of English speakers in Australia.

In his 1829 letter from Sydney, Edward Gibbon Wakefield noted that: “The base language of English thieves is becoming the established language of the colony.”

Another reason why Australian slang is so strong is due to convicts and settlers coming from rich local linguistic places like Ireland, Scotland and the East End of London.

According to linguist Tony Thorne, this was due to people being free from the “upper-class cultures of the UK”.

“They were much more free to play with language, creating nicknames for local things, in a way that the buttoned-up Brits in those days weren’t able to do,” he told the BBC.

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