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Crikey! Australian Slang Takes a Decade to Learn

February 22, 2024 12:29 pm in by

Did you know it takes a decade to learn Australian slang? Words & Phrases like “Crikey”, “Fair dinkum” or even the humble “G’Day” can be difficult to grasp for people assimilating to life in Australia.

Recently over 1,000 immigrants shared their unique experiences with interesting data revealed in new research commissioned by Ria Money Transfer and the results were surprising.

Responses from expats included their take on culture shock and local customs, as well as their willingness to try Aussie snacks. 

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But what was the hardest Aussie Slang to grasp? Well number one on the list of most well known Aussie Phrases was “Fair Dinkum” that came in at a massive 70% recognition and that sounds pretty spot on.

Other phrases like “Crikey” weren’t far behind on 69% while one of the hardest to grasp was the term “Durry” at only 35%, too be fair we don’t hear that as often as we used to either. But we were absolutely “devo” to see “devo” so far down the list.

Over 90% of expats who have lived in Australia for over 10 years know an average of 5-6 slang terms, but we don’t think the research reflects the really naughty ones.

Other interesting parts of the research reveals that in their first year of living in Australia, 88% of expats will experience a local custom, like trying a Tim Tam or attending an AFL match. Here’s a big stat for you though more female expats (73%) will try Vegemite compared to male expats (66%) – Go Girls!

With more than a quarter of Australia’s population born overseas, the findings of the research reflect the powerful cultural exchange occurring within Australia, and give insight to the enrichment the international-born population provides to Australia’s own cultural landscape, with their connections to home. We pride ourselves on being Multi-Cultural and seeing our young people grow up with so much cultural diversity is wonderful to see.

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Expats who have settled down under in more recent years cite cost-of-living to be a greater culture shock than the language, suggesting both an increase in globalism and the serious economic change our country is facing. 

Simon Wilding, Country Manager Australia & New Zealand of Ria Money Transfer, said the survey exposes the voices of the nation, even if they weren’t born here. 

“While it was a surprise to see from these results that our unique Australianisms cause massive culture shock, unfortunately it’s not a surprise to hear that the cost-of-living crisis we’re all facing in this country is confronting to migrants. 

So next time you have your bonza expat mates over for a barbie, while the snags are sizzling give ’em a few pointers on the ripper secret slang language of this great country of ours. It’s a great learning experience for them and fun for everyone. Hoo-Roo!

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