IN THE NEWS – A poll of nearly 3000 new Australians has revealed the most amusing and misunderstood Aussie sayings.
“G’day” topped the list with migrants sometimes misinterpreting the true blue greeting as “God Day”, “get aye” and even “get hay”.
“Mate”, “good on ya”, “how ya going?”, “she’ll be right”, “bloody oath” and “fair dinkum” — frequently heard as “fair drinkum” — were also terms migrants found especially amusing and hardest to fathom.
“No worries”, “grog” and “grouse” (which has nothing to do with the bird) completed the top 10 list.
LanguageLoop chief Elizabeth Compton, whose national translation service conducted the survey, said Aussies were well known for their casual, humorous and lighthearted way of talking.
Aussie slang can prove a fair dinkum drag for migrants such as Hassan Saeed and Sheharyar Ahmed.
But our homegrown language was perplexing for many migrants who spoke English as a second language.
There was also shock at the amount of swearing across our wide brown land.
“Many of the words and phrases identified in our survey are so mainstream and commonplace that they wouldn’t appear the slightest bit strange or amusing to English-speaking Australians,’’ Ms Compton said.
“To those with English as a second language, even the simplest of dialects are peppered with wonder and amusement.
“On a more serious note, this insight is further evidence that Australian businesses should aim to cater to multilingual residents.”
The survey revealed 92 per cent of multilingual Australians tried to find ways to speak their own language whenever possible.
More than half worried they were not properly understood when they spoke English and nearly a third missed being able to write fluidly and without fear of mistakes.
Ms Compton said that, with immigration the main driver of Australia’s population growth and its economic contribution tipped to reach $1.6 trillion by 2050, connecting with migrants in their native
One in five Australians speak a language other than English at home and 17 per cent of migrants are not able to speak much or any English, according to LanguageLoop. Forty per cent of migrants are born in China or India, and there are now 1.3 million Chinese speakers in Australia.
LanguageLoop translator Hassan Saeed — who arrived in Australia from Pakistan six years ago and speaks four languages — said Aussie slang often caused confusion.
Mr Saeed said he used to think fair dinkum meant fair income, that a milk bar only stocked milk and that “arvo”, meant a house in a caravan park.
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13 October 2019