Australian English (AusE, AuE, AusEng, en-AU) is the name given to the group of dialects spoken in Australia that form a major variety of the English language
Australian English began to diverge from British English soon after the foundation of the Colony of New South Wales in 1788.
A much larger wave of immigration, as a result of the first Australian gold rushes, in the 1850s, also had a significant influence on Australian English, including large numbers of people who spoke English as a second language.
The " Americanisation" of Australian English — signified by the borrowing of words, spellings, terms, and usages from North American English — began during the goldrushes, and was accelerated by a massive influx of United States military personnel during World War II. The large-scale importation of television programs and other mass media content from the US, from the 1950s onwards, including more recently US computer software, especially Microsoft's spellchecker, has also had a significant effect
Australian English is a non-rhotic dialect. The Australian accent is most similar to that of New Zealand and is also similar to accents from the South-East of Britain, particularly those of Cockney and Received Pronunciation. As with most dialects of English, it is distinguished primarily by its vowelphonology.Australian English vowels are divided into two categories: long, which includes long monophthongs and diphthongs, and short, all of which are monophthongs
Varieties of Australian English Most linguists consider there to be three main varieties of Australian English. These are Broad, General and Cultivated Australian English.
Broad Australian English is the archetypal and most recognisable variety. It is familiar to English speakers around the world because of its use in identifying Australian characters in non-Australian films and television programs. Examples include television personalities Steve Irwin and Dame Edna Everage, Pauline Hanson
General Australian English is the stereotypical variety of Australian English. It is the variety of English used by the majority of Australians and it dominates the accents found in contemporary Australian-made films and television programs. Examples include actors Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman.
Cultivated Australian English has many similarities to British Received Pronunciation, and is often mistaken for it. Cultivated Australian English is now spoken by less than 10% of the population. Examples include actors Judy Davis, Robert Hughes, Geoffrey Rush.
Aboriginal Vocabulary The aboriginal vocabulary, which is one of the trademarks of Australian English, included billabong (a waterhole), jumbuck (a sheep), corroboree (an assembly), boomerang (a curved throwing stick), and budgerigar (from budgeree, “good” and gar, “parrot”).
The number of Aboriginal words in Australian English is quite small and is confined to the namings of plants (like bindieye and calombo, trees (like boree, banksia, quandong and mallee), birds (like currawong, galah and kookaburra), animals (like wallaby and wombat) and fish (like barramindi).
The Aborigines also adopted words from maritime pidgin English, words like piccaninny and bilong (belong). They used familiar pidgin English variants like talcum and catchum. The most famous example is gammon, an eighteenth-century Cockney word meaning “a lie”.
Non-aboriginal Vocabulary The roots of Australian English lie in the South and East of England, London, Scotland and Ireland. To take just a few examples, words like corker, dust-up, purler and tootsy all came Australia from Ireland; billy comes from the Scottish bally, meaning “a milk pail”. A typical Australianism like fossick, meaning “to search unsystematically”, is a Cornish word. Cobber came from the Suffolk verb to cob, “to take a liking to someone”. Tucker is widely used for “food”. Clobber has Romany roots and is originally recorded in Kent as clubbered up, meaning “dressed up”.
Australian Peculiarities Examples with the -o ending includeabo (aborigine - now considered very offensive), aggro (aggressive), ambo (ambulance office), arvo (afternoon), avo (avocado), bizzo (business), bottleo (bottle shop/liquor store), compo (compensation), dero (homeless person – from derelict), devo (deviant/pervert), doco (documentary), evo (evening), fisho (fishmonger), fruito (fruiterer), garbo (garbage collector), gyno (gynaecologist), journo (journalist), kero (kerosene), metho (methylated spirits), milko (milkman), Nasho (National Service – compulsory military service), reffo (refugee), rego (vehicle registration), Salvo (member of the Salvation Army), servo (service station/gas station), smoko (smoke or coffee/tea break), thingo (thing, whadjamacallit), vejjo (vegetarian),etc.
Examples of the -ie (-y) ending include aggie (student of agricultural science), Aussie (Australian), barbie (barbeque), beautie (beautiful, stereotypically pronounced and even written bewdy), bikkie (biscuit), bitie (biting insect), blowie (blowfly), bookie (bookmaker), brekkie (breakfast), brickie (bricklayer), Brizzie (Brisbane – state capital of Queensland), Bushie (someone who lives in the bush), chewie (chewing gum), chokkie (chocolate), Chrissie (Christmas), exy (expensive),lippy (lipstick), oldies (parents), postie (postman), sunnies (sunglasses), surfy (surfing fanatic), swaggie (swagman), truckie (truck driver), vedgie (vegetable) etc.
Occasionally, a -za diminutive is used, usually for personal names. Barry becomes Bazza, Karen becomes Kazza and Sharon becomes Shazza.There are also a lot of abbreviations in Australian English without any suffixes. Examples of these are the wordsbeaut (great, beautiful), deli (delicatessen), nana (banana), roo (kangaroo), uni (university),etc.
These are the best-known Australianisms in the English-speaking world.
Australian American British English Lexical Differences