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bennylinMonday 10th of May 2004 10:33:01 PM
What is the difference? - anybody know what are the differences between American English, British English, and Australian English?
TyraTuesday 11th of May 2004 07:49:20 AM
- It's mostly a matter of accents pronunciation and slang
CrimsonWolfTuesday 11th of May 2004 09:32:01 AM
differences - OK the biggest difference is usage and idioms. we americans have basically created our own form of English and in that one form there are literally thousands of dialects and sub-dialects...i believe in some areas there are even mixed languages (spanglish/lol). The UK also has the dialects and subdialects but there are much fewer of them and from what i have observed most of the dialects still keep to the traditional usages. The UK is probably one of the only places in the world where one can speak "perfect" english and be understood.
Austrailia was founded as a penal colony (correct me if im wrong..i dont claim to know all that much about it) and thus, the languages that were established were primarily of the lower class of england and the UK. it was also a place (like america) where there were many people from many countries thus contributing to different dialects and subdialects as well as usage and idioms. i imagine if you examined the language characteristics between america and austrailia you would find more similarities than differences.
Hope that helped to answer your question.
Tuesday 11th of May 2004 10:16:15 AM
- from my opinion from reading, hearing, discussing about this matter, at least there is two differences now that i know in written English (between American and British)

1. -our:
British : labour, colour, flavour, favour, etc
American : labor, color, flavor, favor, etc

2. -tre:
British : centre, theatre, (what else?), etc
American : center, theater, ect.

correct me if i'm wrong
bennylinTuesday 11th of May 2004 10:27:19 AM
- from my opinion from reading, hearing, discussing about this matter, at least there is two differences now that i know in written English (between American and British)

1. -our:
British : labour, colour, flavour, favour, etc
American : labor, color, flavor, favor, etc

2. -tre:
British : centre, theatre, (what else?), etc
American : center, theater, ect.

correct me if i'm wrong


oh yeah, one more thing, what about Canadian English? (so now we have 4 different English, right?)

edit note:

neighbour
honour
humour
CrimsonWolfTuesday 11th of May 2004 10:43:18 AM
english - there are way more than 4. canadian english isnt that far from american. in fact the only real difference is dialect and accent and that can be said for any language.

now as im sure you know...we americans are lazy. ill be the first to admit it. and it also shows in our language. there are many phrases that have become publically accepted that are incomplete :
"Have a good one!"(one what?)
"See ya."(when?)
and my personal favorite..."Later!"(what about it?)
I cant imagine how confusing it would be to someone learning the language.
CrimsonWolfTuesday 11th of May 2004 10:48:29 AM
- oh yeah and to add a fifth English to the board there's South African english as well. i know nothing about the origins and nature of it, so i wont venture a guess about how it behaves (the language).

the spelling differences in British and American english is that controversial. i have heard that the "tre" suffix has its origins from French spellings. or that its a carry-over from the previous versions of the language. when everyone first came to america most of us wanted nothing to do with england and europe so we dropped what we could...langauge included. i really dont know where the differences come from, ive only heard those speculations.
CincinMenteriWednesday 12th of May 2004 03:23:25 AM
other words - There are also certain words different between the dialects...
I don't know of that many, so maybe someone who does can tell us more?
But: -
American English: - Vacation
British English: - Holiday

American English: - Elavator
British English: - Lift

American English: - Program
British English: - Programme

Most of the television in England is in American English, so sometimes i don't understand three or four words from the tv programme, but it will never be a large amount.
ClárThursday 27th of May 2004 01:42:43 PM
- Hey,

You forgot about us Irish who speak english, it is quite similar to British english but obviously our accents are different. Alot of people get confused and class Irish people as British but we are not, unless you are from Northern Ireland and not the Republic of Ireland, the Republic is not part of the British Isle's anymore. Often when we speak, somtimes we phrase things differently becuase the phrases are a direct translation from the Irish language, we also have different words for different things.

go raibh maith agat
Clár
jeffSunday 30th of May 2004 09:24:31 AM
Subtle Differences of English - bennylin - I love this question, I've traveled extensively in all 3 countries and would like to shed the following light...

First, Australian and British English are much more alike than American English is to either of the two. Reason being, yes, Australia was originally a Penal colony for England several hundred year backs, so the aside from the aboriginals, the original Australians, the Poms (slang for English Folks) are the next original settlers of Australia.

The country, as far as I know, is still under British Law, at least, the Queen of England can still be found on the currency, and I believe, is regarded as the queen also for that country. Australia, Great Brittan, NZ, India and several other countries that were formerly English Colonies are considered "Common Wealth" countries, and so all get special privledges and shared advantages.

Apointed out above, there are differences the following differences in the languages... a) Spelling b) Pronunciation and c) sayings and idioms.

For Spelling, Americans use OR endings versus OUR endings in words like Color / Colour - Flavor / Flavour - etc.. Also Americans use Z's instead of S's like in Personalization versus Personalisation, and similiar such words.

For Pronunciation, it's difficult to explain in text, but there are a few words that are pronounced differently.. for example, the word Aluminum is pronounced al-OO'-min-num in American while Common Wealth countries pronounce it as aloo-MIN'-ee-yum. Likewise, Americans say AD'-ver-tize-ment as opposed to ad-VER'-tis-ment.

Then there is the idiom/slang/sayings differences which are easier to recognized and list... Between Common Wealth and American English, here are some I've come up with....

American English - Common Wealth English
Dollar Bill - Pound Note
Resume - CV (Cirricula Vitae)
How are you doing? - How is it going?
Good for you! - Good on you!
Drunk - Pissed
Just some guy - Just some bloke
What's happening dude? - What's happening Mate?
Trunk of your car - Boot of your car
01 22 555... - 01 double 2 triple 5
cigarette - fag
fag - daggy
stupid - dodgy
that's very lovely - that's quite lovely
whatever I like - whatever i fancy
that girl is hot - that girl is quite fetching
you think? - you recon?
french fries - chips
I need to get laid - I need a good shag
sex - posh-n-becks (as in posh and david beckham)
toilet - loo
cappacino - short or tall white
black coffee - short or tall black

Finally, there are some subtle differences between Aussie slang and Brit slang... To my knowledge, it's mostly that the aussies like to shorten and simplify common words and terms and add a bit of a rhyme to them like...

McDonalds = Maccas
Aussie = Australian
Kiwi = New Zealander
Daggy = unhip uncool person (Damnit, why is it I remember this one..?)

Shoot.. I used to know of TON of these but can't think of them at the moment...

fluffmuppetWednesday 02nd of June 2004 01:32:36 PM
Aussie Speak - The Queen is seen as our head of state ( for some reason) thats why she is on our currency. Apart from that she doesn't really do anything anymore.

Oh and in Australia and Britian Aluminium is said that way because it is spelt that way.
In the USA someone forgot the second 'i'.

Also Meter and Metre are different. The first is a gauge the second the measurement unit.

Wednesday 09th of June 2004 01:34:10 AM
- I heard somewhere that Canadians use American English to write informal and British English for formal. Is this true? Any Canadians here to confirm this?

Oh and South-African English probably has a lot of influences from Dutch since South Africa was first colonized by the Netherlands before the English came there. I'm just presuming this, so it would be nice if someone could confirm this as well.
Kathy84Wednesday 09th of June 2004 01:40:11 AM
- Is it true that Canadians use the American spelling to write informal and British spelling to write formal? I heard this somewhere, but I don't know if it's true. So is anyone here to confirm this?

I think South African English has influences from Dutch, because the Netherlands were the first people to colonize South Africa before the English. But if there is anyone who thinks I'm wrong... just tell me, because I'm only presuming this. Afrikaans by the way, which is the language of the black people of South Africa, is similar to Dutch, that's why I think there are influences from Dutch/Afrikaans in the South African English.
MetsTuesday 15th of June 2004 02:14:36 PM
USA and UK - Here is a comparison of some useful words between the two languages, if anyone is still interested.

US UK

apartment - flat

argument - row

baby carriage - pram

band-aid - plaster

bathroom - loo or WC

can - tin

chopped beef - mince

cookie - biscuit

corn - maize

diaper - nappy

elevator - lift

eraser - rubber

flashlight - torch

fries - chips

gas - petrol

guy - bloke, chap

highway - motorway

hood (car) - bonnet

jello - jelly

jelly - jam

kerosene - paraffin

lawyer - solicitor

license plate - number plate

line - queue

mail - post

motor home - caravan

movie theater - cinema

muffler - silencer

napkin - serviette

nothing - nought

overpass - flyover

pacifier - dummy

pants - trousers

parking lot - car park

period - full stop

pharmacist - chemist

potato chips - crisps

rent - hire

sausage - banger

sidewalk - pavement

soccer - football

sweater - jumper

trash can - bin

truck - lorry

trunk (car) - boot

vacation - holiday

vest - waistcoat

windshield (car) - windscreen

zip code - postal code

Taken from Susan Jones' American vs. British Spelling Differences, Georgia State University
bambiThursday 24th of June 2004 12:25:27 AM
- Some more spelling differences:

BRITISH -- AMERICAN

programme -- program

cheque -- check

jewellery -- jewelry

traveller -- traveler

pyjamas -- pajamas

draught -- draft

plough -- plow


There are also some minor differences in grammar such as

BRITISH -- AMERICAN

different from/to -- different from/than
live in .. street -- live on .. street
in a team -- on a team
it looks as if it's going to rain -- it looks like it's going to rain
He's just gone home -- he just went home
He has probably left -- he probably has left

etc...

Anyway many of them are disappearing because of the influence of American English on other varieties.
musicmakerTuesday 29th of June 2004 12:12:11 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by Kathy84


Afrikaans by the way, which is the language of the black people of South Africa, is similar to Dutch, that's why I think there are influences from Dutch/Afrikaans in the South African English.[/quote]

I could be insane (oh wait- I AM insane, let me rephrase that). I could be *wrong*, but last I checked Afrikaans was the language of the Afrikaners, who were the *white* settlers in South Africa. I can only assume they called themselves Afrikaners so no one would hear "Africans" and think "black people". (Apartheid and all that, remember?) As far as I know most black South Africans spoke various tribal languages at home (Zulu, Sisotho, Shangaan), while those fortunate enough to attend school later learned English and Afrikaans.

But yes, Afrikaans is very closely related to Dutch- I believe (but again I could be wrong) closer than German to English; at least, before we started borrowing all those Latin derivatives.

Okay, the overzealous amateur linguist is being quiet now. ^_^
spudnikWednesday 07th of July 2004 07:03:13 AM
- From the little that I know about it, I would like to add a personal contribution. There are loads of phrases and words that differ.
For instance:
lorry(UK)/truck(US)
queue/line
flat/apartment
a quid/a buck
etc.
And there are many words or phrases that are used in the UK or Ireland and not in the US. I noted for example: to fancy (for "to like"), grand (wonderful), brilliant (wonderful also), to sort (to solve), and in Ireland especially, dear (expensive). In Ireland the word "lad" is commonly used for "bloke" or "guy".
Tell me if I'm wrong...
ComteSunday 11th of July 2004 03:03:25 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by bennylin

oh yeah, one more thing, what about Canadian English? (so now we have 4 different English, right?)[/quote]

I wouldn't worry about Canadian English too much, its very similer to American i have heard, as when america gained there indipendance a large group of Royalists marched to British Canada, and thus kept there american accent and dialect, so im told anyway, i have a few Canadian friends, and most of them are American, well their families anyway

[edit] oh yeah [quote]I could be insane (oh wait- I AM insane, let me rephrase that). I could be *wrong*, but last I checked Afrikaans was the language of the Afrikaners, who were the *white* settlers in South Africa. I can only assume they called themselves Afrikaners so no one would hear "Africans" and think "black people". (Apartheid and all that, remember?) As far as I know most black South Africans spoke various tribal languages at home (Zulu, Sisotho, Shangaan), while those fortunate enough to attend school later learned English and Afrikaans.

But yes, Afrikaans is very closely related to Dutch- I believe (but again I could be wrong) closer than German to English; at least, before we started borrowing all those Latin derivatives.[/quote]

i always belived that africaans was a mixture of German English and Dutch, all the Germanic languages, but am i wrong on this? is some of it like the latin languages? io know some words in dutch and english are similer (chair=stool) and that dutch and english are phrased exactly the same, but am i wrong on this?

[more edit (i wonder if i can get a € for every time i edit this)] [quote]The Queen is seen as our head of state ( for some reason) thats why she is on our currency. Apart from that she doesn't really do anything anymore.[/quote] is this about England, or Australia, as i was under the impression taht the queen doesnt do much in England either :/
bennylinMonday 12th of July 2004 12:14:53 AM
bad news - here's the bad news. i just realized at window's word there are not only 5, but 13!

Australia
Belize (wherever that is)
Canada
Carribean (whoa.. pirates use english too?)
Ireland
Jamaica
New Zealand (hmm.. differ from Australia, like Ireland from England)
Philipines
South Africa
Trinidad
United Kingdom
United States
Zimbabwe

KhaliaTuesday 20th of July 2004 05:41:56 PM
Canadian - Canadian is kind of a mixture of British English and US English. Our spelling is that of the British (ie flavour, colour, favour, etc.) but the terminology we use is often more Northern US style. The Southern US is different. We also put our words inthe same order as the Northern US speakers. I'm not sure about the formal writing thing. Oh and we pronounce our 'z' as ZED not ZEE.

As for the whole 'ise' vs 'ize' or variations of that MOST of the time we write the 'ize' (eg. realize, specialize, etc) but remember, I did only say 'most'.
zarkannWednesday 28th of July 2004 07:55:53 AM
French and English - That i can notice, is that English from UK have some words took from french like :

Programme
Theatre (all -tre words)
Cheque
Pyjamas
biscuit
serviette
cinema
etc..

thats all french word that the meaning is the same in french and english from UK.. basically is because that UK is not soo far from Europe (France). and Here in canada, we use those word in French and English so we are a mix between UK english and US english.. thats weird, i just noticed that lol

i'm a french from Canada btw.
travellaFriday 30th of July 2004 07:21:51 AM
British vs. American English - A good book on this topic is _The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way_ by Bill Bryson.
It is a hilarious and informative read!
CassieFriday 13th of August 2004 10:37:25 AM
Canadian English - Because I teach ESL to new immigrants, I have been asked many times how Canadian English differs from that of British or American English. For the most part, scholars and academics will always refer to British lexicons and materials when working/writing in Canada. I would say that most of our spelling is British, with the exception (in some writing) of using IZE (American) instead of ISE (realize vs. realise). However, I've had marks deducted from essays at Canadian University for failing to use "ISE" because the professor did not want our writing to be American!

The ways in which Canadian English really stands out is in our use of idioms and phrases. Most of the slang we use is uniquely Canadian. By far, the most well-known would be "EH" which I use close to 100 times per day at the end of almost every spoken sentence! From travelling in the United States (mostly the eastern parts, both north and south) it seems that Canadian English is more formal than American English..but that is just an observation.

A Canadian friend of mine, who travelled to BC, and then crossed into the States was asked if she was British because of her accent. If you travel to the far east of Canada (Newfoundland) you will hear a distinct accent that often sounds very Irish or Scottish.

There are many other things that set us apart from the U.S., and make for communication snags....
We use the metric system, although most children grow up experiencing both the metric system in school, and the U.S. Imperial system on TV, movies, and in general life.

My Swedish husband always laughs when he asks a young kid how tall they are and they answer in feet and inches, and have no clue how tall they are in centimetres! The same kid will tell you that the speed limit on most major highways in Ontario is 100 km/hour, but usually have no idea how fast that is in miles/hour.
Our money is different, with a 1 and 2 dollar coin, and of course COLOURED notes! $5 is blue, $10 is purple, $20 is green, $50 is red and finally $100 is brown! much easier to distinguish that way!

happyturnipTuesday 17th of August 2004 02:46:56 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by zarkann


That i can notice, is that English from UK have some words took from french like :

Programme
Theatre (all -tre words)
Cheque
Pyjamas
biscuit
serviette
cinema
etc..

thats all french word that the meaning is the same in french and english from UK.. basically is because that UK is not soo far from Europe (France). and Here in canada, we use those word in French and English so we are a mix between UK english and US english.. thats weird, i just noticed that lol

i'm a french from Canada btw.[/quote]

I feel it time to quote President George Bush Jr. here:

" The French have no word for entrepreneur " What a genius.

I've noticed one more difference: Thru and through. American spelling is certainly easier, but the british seem to take pride in our impossible spelling, made even more different by impossible accents. Has anyone ever heard Geordie? I am one and always mistake it for a foreign language. George Mikes' "How to be an alien" is a great book for those who want an insight into English culture and humour. Even down to explaining our passion for talking about the weather, tea and forming queues (which is another odd word to spell). READ IT NOW - it made me laugh on the train and everyone else thought I was a lunatic. It's actually a required book for foreign students studying english at some universities in Europe.
surfpantherSaturday 21st of August 2004 12:06:22 PM
Afrikaans - [quote]Originally posted by Kathy84

I think South African English has influences from Dutch, because the Netherlands were the first people to colonize South Africa before the English. But if there is anyone who thinks I'm wrong... just tell me, because I'm only presuming this. Afrikaans by the way, which is the language of the black people of South Africa, is similar to Dutch, that's why I think there are influences from Dutch/Afrikaans in the South African English.[/quote]

Excuse me, it's out of place, but I have too much fun giving history lessons (yeah, that's right, i'm a history nerd, what's it to you?) The Dutch were the first whites to inhabit South Africa, historically. Afrikaans is actually the language that resulted from their inhabitation. Boers (the Dutch in S. Africa) were also called Afrikaaners and the language that arised from their stay (Afrikaans) is a lovely mixture of Dutch and whichever African language was indigenous to those people (unfortunately, it escapes me, there are far too many to remember!). In any case, there is your confirmation!
surfpantherSaturday 21st of August 2004 12:20:52 PM
English - Oh, and before I forget, let me give another history lesson that conveniently intermingles with this thread's discussion. As we all probably know, America was once a series of British colonies, which is why we Americans speak English rather than French or Spanish (though we came close!) Britain had imperialized a lot of countries in its day: India, Australia, New Zealand, various African countries, Hong Kong, and many others. The power that the British held inherently and irreversibly spread the use of the English language, which is why so many people use English today. Another reason is America's economic power in general (which is why we can speak with on international stages like this one and be speaking English!) Everyone who wanted to trade, sell, or buy on the international level needed to know various languages, English being prominent of these.

English has spread through these various countries, but like the Mongol invasions under Genghis Khan, it is impossible to totally invade a culture and change it. Local culture generally changes the invader (eg. the Mongols became Muslims, their conquered land conquered them ...). English, as a language, is an invader of other countries, but it is inescapable that it should be changed and vary throughout the different English-speaking countries.

The British speak what is known as "proper English", at least here in America. Now, as for Americans being "lazy" and saying, "have a good one" and not defining that we're saying, "have a good day", it's not so much the laziness for not defining what we meant, it's that the meaning is inherent. I felt I needed to correct that.

Also, I can't let it go: the comparison of corn vs. maize as a use for a term for the yellow vegetable between the US and the UK is odd to me. Maize is a type of corn brought to Europe from the Americas in the early inhabitation of the New World. To use "maize" as a word for corn is incomplete in describing the species of vegetable at all, as it has various breeds, maize being only one. But who am I to say? I like history. I'm not a horticulturist. :)
surfpantherSaturday 21st of August 2004 12:23:58 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by happyturnip

I feel it time to quote President George Bush Jr. here:

" The French have no word for entrepreneur " What a genius.

[/quote]


Please, leave insulting President Bush to the Americans. We have the right to. You don't.
Peter fra LASaturday 18th of September 2004 10:49:09 AM
0 7225 3677 1 - [quote]Originally posted by surfpanther

Boers (the Dutch in S. Africa) were also called Afrikaaners and the language that arised from their stay (Afrikaans) is a lovely mixture of Dutch and whichever African language was indigenous to those people (unfortunately, it escapes me, there are far too many to remember!).[/quote]

Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie:
Roughly 37 percent of the forefathers of the White Afrikaans speaking population were Dutch, 35 percent were German, 15 percent were French and 7 percent were Non-White. (J. A. Heese)

Most scholars are certain that Afrikaans has been influenced by creole languages: Khoisan, Khoikhoi, German, French, Malay, and speakers of different African languages. (1)

Before the Namibian 1990 independence, it held equal status with German as the official language. Now it has been classified as a national language.

It has also fed quite a few loanwords into South African English and even some loanwords into standard English.

(1) The Khoi and San are two main indigenous peoples who along with Malays filled the ranks of the indentured worker and slave class.

Peter fra LASaturday 18th of September 2004 11:04:48 AM
American-British-Canadian English - [quote]Originally posted by Cassie

Because I teach ESL to new immigrants, I have been asked many times how Canadian English differs from that of British or American English.[/quote]

In many ways, compared to British English, American English is conservative in its phonology. The conservatism of American English is largely the result of the fact that it represents a mixture of various dialects from the British Isles. Dialect in North America is most distinctive on the East Coast of the continent; this is largely because these areas were in contact with England, and imitated prestigious varieties of British English at a time when those varieties were undergoing changes. The interior of the country was settled by people who were no longer closely connected to England, as they had no access to the ocean during a time that journeys to Britain were often by sea. As such the inland speech is much more homogeneous than the East Coast speech, and did not imitate the changes in speech from England. (1)

The British Isles are the most linguistically diverse area in the English-speaking world. Significant changes in accent and dialect may occur within one region.

Three major divisions are normally classified as Southern English dialects, Northern English dialects, and Scottish English and the closely related dialects of the Scots language.

There is also Hiberno-English (English as spoken in Ireland) and the form of English used in Wales, as well as Ulster Scots (a variety of Scots spoken in Ulster).

The various English dialects differ in the words they have borrowed from other languages. The Scottish and Northern dialects include many words originally borrowed from Old Norse and a few borrowed from Scots Gaelic. Hiberno-English includes words derived from Irish Gaelic.

There are thus many differences between the various English dialects. These can be a major impediment to understanding among the older dialects. However, modern communications and mass media have reduced these differences significantly. In addition, speakers of very different dialects may modify their speech, and particularly vocabulary, towards Standard English.

The spelling of Canadian English is intermediate between British English and American English. However, the spoken language is much closer to American English than British English. It is also influenced by Canadian French, as Canada has both English and French as official languages.

(1) That said, it is interesting to note that with the nationalization and now globalization of the media [Hollywood] the spread of the flat Californian-English dialect is eroding the regional American-English dialects [ex: Texas] in the upcomming generation(s).

Peter fra LASaturday 18th of September 2004 11:29:03 AM
Australian English - [quote]Originally posted by bennylin
anybody know what are the differences between American English, British English, and Australian English?[/quote]

American English: see Anmerican-British-Canadian above
British English: see Anmerican-British-Canadian above
Australian English: the first form of English I learned

Australian English is similar in many respects to British English but it also borrows from American English. There are also influences from Hiberno-English, as many Australians are of Irish descent. Most noticeable is the non-standard pronunciation of the letter 'h' as /heItS/. This is attributed to Irish Catholic brothers and nuns teaching in schools.

Many Americans struggle to distinguish an Australian English speaker from a New Zealand English speaker, or even a British speaker (just as Canadian and other North American English speakers are often indistinguishable to Australasian ears and are only identified as American).

Australian English also incorporates several uniquely Australian terms. Some elements of Aboriginal languages have been incorporated into Australian English, mainly as names for places, flora and fauna (e.g. Dingo, kangaroo).

Australian English has a unique set of diminutives formed by adding -o or -ie to the ends of (often abbreviated words). There does not appear to be any particular pattern to which of these suffixes is used. Examples with the -o ending include abo (aborigine - now considered very offensive), arvo (afternoon), servo (service station), rego (annual motor vehicle registration) and ambo (ambulance officer). The Salvation Army is often referred to as "The Salvos". Examples of the -ie ending include barbie (barbecue), bikkie (biscuit) and blowie (blowfly). A rarely-heard -ie ending is firie (firefighter) Occasionally, a -za diminutive is used, usually for personal names where the first of multiple syllables ends in an "r". Barry becomes Bazza, Karen becomes Kazza and Sharon becomes Shazza.

A very common feature of traditional Australian English was rhyming slang, based on Cockney rhyming slang and imported by migrants from London in the 19th century. Rhyming slang consists of taking a phrase, usually of two words, which rhymes with a commonly used word, then using the first word of the phrase the represent the word. For example "Captain Cook" rhymes with "look", so to "have a captain cook," or to "have a captain," means to "have a look." Rhyming slang was often used to create euphemistic terms for obscene words. In recent years this feature of Australian English has declined under the impact of mass popular culture. [A snakes (from snake's hiss): a piss, as in "I'm busting for a snakes". Such slang can and often is further abstracted "I have to see a man about a snake" meaning "I'm going to take a piss".]

According to stereotype, spoken Australian English is thought to be highly colloquial, possibly more so than other spoken variants (1). Various publishers have produced "phrase books" to assist visitors. These phrasebooks reflect a highly exaggerated and outdated style of Australian colloquialisms and they should partially be regarded as amusements rather than accurate usage guides.

Spoken Australian English is also generally far more tolerant of expletives than other variants: the former Prime Minister Paul Keating would openly refer to his parliamentary opponents as "mangy maggot pissants". This has been theorised to be due to the phenomenon known as tall poppy syndrome(2), itself an Australian English term.

(1) Out of all variants of English I encounter, I hold this form of English closest to my heart. This rapid turnover of slang and playing with the language I have only seen in America among the African-American population groups.

(2) Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS) is an Australasian (particularly) description of a levelling social attitude, pushed to the point of bad behaviour. Someone has TPS, when he is shows himself envious of someone who is placed in a higher social, political, etc. position than himself. TPS can also make the envious person slanderous about the better-positioned person. This originates from the Roman tyrant, Tarquinis Superbus, who when he learnt that his son Sextus was coming to slay him, went into his garden, took a stick, and symbolically swept it across his garden, thus cutting off the heads of the tallest poppies that were growing there. Cf. the concept of jantelagen in Denmark and Sweden.

Australians and New Zealanders have a reputation for resenting the success of others; whether this reputation is deserved is another question. Many Australasians have achieved success and wealth without attracting such hostility (e.g. Dick Smith). Apparent cases of TPS can often be explained as resentment not of success but of snobbery, combined with an egalitarian attitude.

TPS is frequently invoked as an explanation when a public figure is on the receiving end of negative publicity - even if such publicity has actually been earned by that person's own misconduct.


AnyaWednesday 22nd of September 2004 07:16:41 PM
- Peter,
Thank you for such a great explanation! Things are making more sense now ;)
I have a couple more examples of Australians/New Zealanders to look up to:
Hugh Taylor and Fred Hollows :)

You should be on that list too, keep up the great work!

HayleyWednesday 29th of September 2004 08:19:59 PM
you forgot.... - What about New Zealand English!?!?!?
torisutanThursday 30th of September 2004 09:53:36 PM
pfft. - New Zealand doesnt matter. You think just because you have lord of the rings and all that you think you are good, but you aren't. :P
Peter fra LAFriday 01st of October 2004 07:43:39 PM
New Zealand English Highlights - [quote]Originally posted by hayley4orli


What about New Zealand English!?!?!?[/quote]

New Zealand English is close to Australian English in pronunciation. Possibly the only difference between New Zealand and British spelling is in the ending "-ise" or "-ize". New Zealanders use the "-ise" ending exclusively, whereas Britons use either ending, and some British dictionaries and style manuals prefer the "-ize" ending.

Many local words, largely borrowed from the indigenous Maori population, have arisen to describe the local flora, fauna, and the natural environment, and some other Maori words have made their way into the language.

Although foreigners can find it hard to distinguish the New Zealand dialect from the Australian, there are differences in the pronunciation of vowel sounds, which are considerably more clipped in New Zealand English. The main distinguishing sounds are the short 'i' and 'e', as well as words like "chance".

Short i

The short 'i' in New Zealand English is pronounced as a schwa. In Australian English, the short 'u' is the vowel closest to the New Zealand pronunciation, so an Australian hears "fush and chups" when a New Zealander is saying "fish and chips". Conversely, the closest sound in New Zealand English to the Australian short 'i' is 'ee', so New Zealanders may hear Australians talking about the "Seedney Harbour Breedge".

Short e

The short 'e' in New Zealand English has moved to fill in the space left by 'i', and sounds like a short 'i' itself to other English speakers. For example, you may hear New Zealanders talk about having "iggs for brickfast".

More/sure

"More" and "sure" are pronounced mua and shua, whereas in Australia they would be pronounced as maw and shaw.

Letter 'h'

Pronunication of the letter 'h' is 'aitch', as in Britain and North America, as opposed to the aspirated 'haitch', found in Australian English, in turn of Hiberno-English origin.

Misc:

[NZ]jandals
[AUS]thongs
- backless sandals (or flip-flops in other English dialects)

[NZ]Gidday
[AUS]G'day
- Hello!

[NZ]chilly bin
[AUS]Esky
- insulated container for keeping drinks and food cool

[NZ]Swanndri
[AUS]Driza-Bone
- The quintessential back-country farmer's jacket of each country, a woollen shirt and oilskin jacket respectively.

[NZ]dairy
[AUS]milk bar
- A kind of convenience store.

[NZ]duvet
[AUS]doona
- A padded blanket

Dialects within New Zealand English

Most Kiwis speak Newzild "as she is spoke": geographical variations appear slight, and mainly confined to individual special local words. One group of speakers, however, hold a recognised place as "talking differently": the South of the South Island (Murihiku) harbours a "Celtic fringe" of people speaking with a "Southland burr" in which a back-trilled 'r' appears prominently. The area formed a traditional repository of immigration from Scotland.

The trilled 'r' is also used by some Maori, who may also pronounce 't' and 'k' sounds almost as 'd' and 'g'. This is also encountered in South African English, especially among Afrikaans speakers.

Unique phrases

Ladies, a plate is often seen as part of the advertisement for social functions. It means that the function is self catering; people attending are meant to bring a plate full of food. Many new arrivals in New Zealand have mistaken this and turned up with an empty plate, but only once.

Up the Puhoi without a paddle meaning to be in difficulties without an obvious solution. The Puhoi is a river just north of Auckland. Over the years the phrase has evolved and is now often heard as "Up the Boo-eye without a paddle". It is also sometimes attributed to other New Zealand rivers. It will be interesting if the phrase can withstand competition from the modern and very colourful variant "Up shit creek without a Paddle".

A variant of the latter is up the boohai shooting pukeko with a long-handled shovel, meaning a fictitious place.

Wide enough for an Ox team to do a U-ie Said of very wide roads.

Sticky Beak meaning someone unduly curious about other people's affairs, ie nosey parker. Sticky beak is used in both New Zealand and Australia with the same meaning but slightly different emphasis. In Australia "sticky beak" is quite pejorative, to be called sticky beak is definitely a criticism whereas in New Zealand it is used with more affection, it is often used as a tease.

Box of Birds or even more colloqially "Box of Fluffies" meaning to feel very good. "How are you feeling? Oh, a Box of Birds"

Rattle yer Dags an instruction to hurry up. Sheep running through gates and yards often make a curious rattling noise caused by their 'dags' (dried faeces) clattering together. Similarly "He's a bit of a Dag" describes someone as a comedian. The word "dagg" possibly derives from the regional English word, "daglock" meaning the same thing.
HisGirlFridaySaturday 02nd of October 2004 02:02:43 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by torisutan


New Zealand doesnt matter. You think just because you have lord of the rings and all that you think you are good, but you aren't. :P[/quote]

you know someone's going to get mad at that statement. But I'm one of those people that actually didn't see a big deal to LOTR...so I won't comment on that.

I think everyone said the differences in American English. But i'll just agree that it's all the slangs and spelling of certain words.
ashleejsSaturday 02nd of October 2004 05:38:00 PM
NZ English - [quote]Originally posted by HisGirlFriday
[quote]Originally posted by torisutan
New Zealand doesnt matter. You think just because you have lord of the rings and all that you think you are good, but you aren't. :P[/quote]

you know someone's going to get mad at that statement.[/quote]

I think I have the right to get at least a little annoyed... If New Zealand doesn't matter, then neither does Australia. It was founded by convicts anyway. I'm really quite insulted. Imagine if you said that about America, in America! You'd get shot (or at least shot down). Don't be so immature.

By the way torisutan, we're discussing LANGUAGES not 'which country actually matters', and no one mentioned Lord of The Rings. I'm sure there are plenty of other Australians with whom you can bash New Zealand's success in the film industry elsewhere. Thank you for being a prime example of a resentful Australasian.

Ignoring that rude comment, New Zealand English is distinct from other forms of English. Speakers of New Zealand English are often mistaken for Britons when travelling to North America, but can be easily distinguished by Australians.

Kiwi is not Australian slang for New Zealander, Kiwi is a Maori bird name, and now part of New Zealand English (meaning New Zealander).

Maori words/phrases like E tu and E noho (stand up and sit down) become (or used to become) part of a child's vocabulary when they attend Kingergarten and School. We are frequently exposed (at least in multi-cultural areas like Auckland) to Maori words like 'Wahine' (woman, a sign on the ladies' restrooms), and until a few years ago, I thought 'tumeke' was an English word (I couldn't remember seeing it spelt but thought it was something like "too mekky", meaning 'awesome' 'primo' (prime, good))

You know, I had more to say but have been a bit put off =P
HayleyTuesday 05th of October 2004 11:40:46 PM
- I couldn't agree more, Ashlee! Very well put. :)

(Please just ignore the jealous aussie)
shayeSaturday 09th of October 2004 12:13:51 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by torisutan


New Zealand doesnt matter. You think just because you have lord of the rings and all that you think you are good, but you aren't. :P[/quote]

Hahahahahahahahaaaa no. Its yous that suck, we think we are good, and we are :P
nah im not angry, just good old australia vs nz competition
Peter fra LAThursday 14th of October 2004 04:24:20 PM
- Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

~ Benjamin Franklin ~
1706-1790, American Scientist, Publisher, Diplomat

bennylinMonday 18th of October 2004 07:05:01 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by hayley4orli What about New Zealand English!?!?!?[/quote]

nah, i didn't forgot, see me post @ page 2
di_yonFriday 19th of November 2004 07:01:38 AM
american slang - hi,

can anyone give me exemples of american slang,
afro-american for exemple or hip hop slang?
American FinnSunday 12th of December 2004 08:58:40 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by happyturnip
I've noticed one more difference: Thru and through. American spelling is certainly easier, but the british seem to take pride in our impossible spelling, made even more different by impossible accents.[/quote]

Actually while thru is quite often used, it is not the correct spelling. It is only used for abbreviations, like if you drive through at McDonald's, it would say "Drive Thru" (well actually "Thru Drive" but thats a different story)

If I were to write an essay or something for my english class, and spelt "through" "thru", it would be wrong.


orderinchaos78Friday 24th of December 2004 02:43:39 AM
- (Edit: I split this in two because it seemed altogether too long to be in one message. I hope this doesn't break protocol - please accept my apologies.)

Firstly, it's amusing reading some of the misinformation in some earlier parts of this thread. I'm glad some people have kicked in with more correct information about the South Africans, Canadians and Australians in particular :)

Being an Australian of Irish origin with Czech ancestry and having spent time in Canada, I guess I bring a rather unusual take to the situation. My Australian accent/dialect is learned (I picked it up from about age 6 onwards) and I have been told I flip straight back into a broad Ulster accent when dealing with my parents.

- Australian English -

Living here in Perth I hear terms from "eastern staters" (as we call them) that make little sense here. This is probably because of our history as 6 separate colonies with different histories - everything from convict colonies (NSW, Tasmania) to a social experiment by upper-class English (South Australia). However compared to say Canada or the US, our accent and dialect is surprisingly unified no matter where you go, being split only between rural and urban variants. Urban Australian English is a lot closer to British English than the so-called Aussie I see on websites on this topic, which has been great laughing material in the past for friends of mine (Bonzer/fair dinkum etc).

Some interesting distinctions within Australia. Standard Australian English is almost 100% unified between the centres - I've noticed some quite dialectical speakers do adopt a more SAE accent when on the phone or when dealing with people formally. (If anyone wants elaboration on the differences let me know :)

ABC's Radio National ( http://www.abc.net.au/rn/audio.htm ) is a good place to hear Standard Australian English.

As for the rest, ignore most of the slang websites you'll find - about 1/4 or less of the terms found there are used, but most of them are outdated (like 1800s/WW1 sort of outdated) and restricted to only one or two regions.
orderinchaos78Friday 24th of December 2004 02:44:01 AM
- - New Zealand English -

I agree with the NZ posters here, but will add to them. There are slang and linguistic differences between AU and NZ - NZ English is much closer to British English than ours is, although there are some very interesting departures. For example:

US/CA = freeway, AU = freeway, UK/NZ = motorway
US/CA = cellphone, AU/UK = mobile phone, NZ = cellphone
US/CA/NZ = downtown/midtown, AU = (no steady equivalent but "city" or "CBD" is most common).

As for pronunciation, NZ sounds to the untrained ear like AU, but with vowel shifts:

NZ a -> AU e (as in hat, cat)
NZ e -> AU i (as in met, set)
NZ i -> CA i (as in six, bit)

A signature of NZ English used by linguists is NZ air/ear -> AU ear (i.e. air and ear and words containing them sound the same in NZ English but sound like "eh" and "ee-ah" in AU)

Most other vowels sound the same as Australian (eg a in father, u, ee), but diphthongs are more strongly and distinctly pronounced (ao hOW/ay rIght/ey plAte/ou rOde)

- Canadian English -

Is a lot less like US English than I've heard discussed. For one, the accent is completely different. Many differences arise from the fact that the US accent derived from an Irish application to British English whereas the Canadian derived from a Scottish application. In fact, "right", "house" and "hat" are pronounced exactly as the Scots would - like "rate", "hoase" and "haat" if you were to write them from an American viewpoint.

Secondly, the spelling, with the "-ize" exception, is British English. There was a movement in Canada to adopt American spellings but it was tomatoed by the general public - a quick scan of Canadian weblogs, even ones with quite bad spelling and clear American cultural influences, still use British spellings.

Thirdly, the words used, with some exceptions, often resemble slang used right here in Australia, as both countries have some shared heritage. When I talk to an American, we almost need a dictionary and conversion table to communicate. When I talk to a Canadian I can conduct a fluent conversation, although I may need to change my own accent to be understood, but not my use of language. The words for some things are American but British is understood and accepted as an alternative, with the exception of cellphone and bill as opposed to mobile phone and note, each of which is understood in only one of the two countries and sounds awkward in the other.
orderinchaos78Friday 24th of December 2004 02:46:02 AM
- [quote]Originally posted by surfpanther


[quote]Originally posted by happyturnip

I feel it time to quote President George Bush Jr. here:

" The French have no word for entrepreneur " What a genius.

[/quote]


Please, leave insulting President Bush to the Americans. We have the right to. You don't.[/quote]

Hehe... besides, despite the incumbent's notorious use of language, most of the things attributed to him on the Net are actually the territory of Dan Quayle, former vice-president under the first Bush. I think this was actually one of them.