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English is one of the most popular languages worldwide. It’s spoken on every continent, and it is the most wanted foreign language people learn.
For all these reasons, it has many different dialects and variants.
Did you know that there are more than 160 different variants of English?
One of the most known differences is between British English and American English.
But what about Australian English?
Did you know that there are many differences between Australian English and British English?
No matter if you’ve just started learning English with Justlearn tutors, or you are at the end of the road, knowing the differences between Australian and British English can ease your communication with natives in the UK or Australia
Today, we are going to discuss differences in grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary between these two English variants.
It can help you with your career, facilitate communication wherever you go, and, perhaps, ease the way of finding a significant other.
So, Australian English vs. British English, let’s get started!
Before we dive into Australian English vs. British English, let’s take a brief look at these two English dialects.
Even though you probably know everything there is to know about British English, it wouldn’t hurt to recall a little bit.
British English is the standard English dialect spoken in the United Kingdom. English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialect. German settlers brought it with them to today's United Kingdom, so it is considered that it was created around the fifth century.
Over the centuries, the British impact on the rest of the world was enormous, which resulted in many colonies accepting the language.
Even though there is no official constitution, Australian English is one more English variant spoken in Australia. It’s also the first language of the majority, as well as de facto language on this continent.
It diverged from the British English right after the first settlers set up the colony.
Very soon, many recognized it as the speech that became different from British English.
And the rest is pure history. Over time, this English variant, even though it remained faithful to the British English, created its own words, phrases and adopted some other spelling rules.
It is known worldwide that Australian and British are English dialects that are very similar.
And even though a few are familiar with their differences, there’s no need for English to Australian translator.
In the following lines, we’re going to show you the key differences between Australian English and British English.
The first thing anyone notices is the difference in vocabulary.
Many everyday words are quite different in English dialects that it may sound like someone is speaking a completely different language.
Australian vocabulary has similarities with both American and British English but has its own vocabulary as well.
When you, for example, use the word ‘sanga,’ if you are in Australia, everyone will know what you are talking about. In the UK, nontheless, people will look at you like you are from another planet. They wouldn’t know that the word ‘sanga’ is another word for ‘sandwich.’.
That is why it is essential to know where you can use which words.
Below, you may find some of the differences in vocabulary between British and Australian words.
|Australian English||British English|
|G-day||Hello! How are you?|
|How ya going?||How’re you?|
|What’s the goss?||What’s up?|
|Belt up!||Shut up!|
|Crickey/ Streuth||Exclamation of shock or surprise|
|True blue||The real thing|
|Pom/ Pommie||English person|
If you find this as useful as entertaining, take a look at our printable Vocabulary List of Australian English vs. British English.
Download it to your device so that you have it with you whenever you need it.
When we mention grammar as one of the fields where there’s a clear difference between English dialects, we often think about American vs. British English.
Somehow, we put the Australian version in the same basket as the British.
And we aren’t wrong. But, still, we aren’t right, either.
Similarities in grammar, such as irregular verbs in the past tense, the ‘u’ sound in some words as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ and so on are mainly familiar to every learner.
But, can you name some of the differences between the ‘Aussies’ and ‘ Pommies?’
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Australians rather use the word ‘program’ while the British use ‘programme.’
The word ‘inquire’ is often used like ‘enquire,’ which resembles American English.
In Australian English collective nouns are rather used like Americans use them. For example, Australians would say ‘the team has scored the goal,’ and the British say ‘the team have scored the goal.’
For numbers, Australians use the same rules as Americans. For example, the number 1.200, they say ‘twelve hundred’ rather than ‘one thousand two hundred.’
People in Australia use the names of the rivers depending on the place they are in. In Southern Australia it is used following the British system, so they first say the ‘river’ and then its name, like, for example, ‘River Darling.’ In other parts of Australia, people rather use the American system, so they would say ‘Darling River.’
The pronunciation between Australian and British English is pretty similar.
But, if we take a closer look, we can notice that the Australian English accent seems a bit different from the British.
If you are interested in learning a British accent and speak like the locals, take a look at this article.
Some of the obvious differences between these two English variants are:
The ‘i’ sound in some words, such as ‘like,’ or ‘night’ is pronounced as ‘oi.’
The sound ‘a’ is pronounced soft, in words like ‘cat,’ or ‘hat’ as ‘eh.’ On the other hand, this sound can be pronounced hard like in words as ‘way,’ or ‘mate.’
Even though it is sometimes used in informal English, this feature is common in Australian English. The ‘ing’ ending isn’t pronounced in full. In words ‘’singing,’ or ‘jumping’ it is pronounced as ‘singin’ and ‘jumpin.’
In words that are spelled with ‘oo’ in Australian English it is pronounced as ‘ew.’ The best examples are ‘pool,’ ‘cool,’ or ‘school.’ Aussie used to pronounce them as ‘pewl,’ ‘cewl’ and ‘skewl.’
Slang is the most interesting part of any language.
It’s funny and it’s changing fast. It’s also different not only between dialects but ages and certain groups, too.
British slang words have their own style, the well-known British one. So, when you are ‘pissed’ in Britain, in the Land Down Under, you’re surely ‘smashed.’ Don’t think that it is something bad and dangerous. These slang words show when someone is drunk.
In case you plan traveling to Australia, remember that in there you aren’t asking for a ‘drink’ but a ‘bevvies.’
Moreover, if you ‘want to go for a drink?’ in Australia with someone, don’t forget to rephrase it when you get in England into ‘Fancy a drink?’
Here are some more amusing Australian English slang words and their British equivalents:
|Australian English||British English|
Perhaps some of you think this is not so important to mention, don’t forget that we live in a digitalized world, where typing is essential for any communication.
Therefore, we should mention one of the key differences between Australian and British English variants.
When you are using the British keyboard, note that punctuation symbols are in different places than the Australian. British keyword also has Euro and British pound currency symbols, which, again, the Australian doesn’t.
There is one easy thing, though. Australian keyboard is the same as the American.
We hope you enjoyed reading these key differences between Australian English and British English.
We also hope that you’ve learned something useful that can help you with your further learning.
You don’t have to take sides and decide which English variant you should master.
Vocabulary, grammar, accent, slang
Australian English and British English are similar but there are still many differences. Some words are spelled differently and they don't share the same slang.
Foreigners often find Australian and British more similar than Australian and American.
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