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Thread: AUSTRALIAN Culture and Language Help!

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  1. #1
    Mudblood_and_Proud_of_it
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    AUSTRALIAN Culture and Language Help!

    Hello all,
    I'm currently writing a fic involving Hermione when she goes to Australia to find her parents. As she will be in Australia for a while, I will need anything anyone could tell me about Australia's culture in general. For instance, is there any special lingo they often use? Are there any special traditions I could include? Could you describe the general look of Australia (Sydney, if you want specifics)? Are there any landmarks I could mention?
    Thanks in advance for the help, and I hope I haven't been to vague. If you are wondering if you should omit something, put it in because I am aiming to make this as authentic as possible! Thanks again!
    Mapoi

  2. #2
    Fourth Year Ravenclaw
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    Australia is such a diverse place; it really depends on where you are going in Australia. Australia has 6 states and 2 territories. We have a population of about 20 million.

    Capitals are in blue
    East Coast
    Bottom
    Victoria- Melbourne
    Victoria is the southern most state on the mainland. It has a population of around 5 million people. Melbourne is a pretty modern city, with suburbs and the like.
    Middle
    New South Wales- Sydney
    NSW has the most people. Some famous landmarks in Sydney include Bondi Beach, The Sydney Opera House and The Sydney Harbour Bridge. They also have suburbs in Sydney.
    ACT- This is a small territory that contains the nations capital- Canberra.
    Top
    Queensland - Brisbane
    Queensland is most famous for its beautiful beaches. The Gold coast is a stretch of beaches that are particularly famous. The thing about Queensland beaches is there are so many, you can find yourself totally alone on a beautiful beach.

    Middle

    Bottom
    South Australia- Adelaide.
    Sadly I don't know much about SA, I’ve only been once when I was little.
    Top.
    Northern Territory- Dawin
    The Northern Territory, while the size of Queensland, only has 600,000 people. Due to lack of population it is called a territory. It has some famous landmarks, such as Uluru and the most amazing waterfalls, rock pools and natural landmarks.

    West

    The entire west coast is take up by Western Australia or WA where the capital is Perth. Once again I’ve never been there.

    Other
    Tasmania- Hobart. That island from the bottom of Australia. It has colder weather then most of Australia and a smallish population.


    Speech-

    Accents vary through Australia- for example Steve Erwin was from Queensland. One thing we do a lot all over is shorten words.
    Eg. Good Day – G’day
    Aus-tra-li-a – “stray-ya” “stral-ya” (We don’t write it like that, but we often pronounce it that way)
    Barbecue- Barbie (Throw a steak on the Barbie)
    And many many more

    Everyone says Mate a lot. It is very common if you fall over in the street for a complete stranger to help you up and say "You right mate?"
    This is the best site I have found on the internet for Aussie slang.


    Culture-

    AFL- Australian Rules Football. There are 16 teams who try and kick the ball through 4 goal posts. If it is between the middle two it is 6 points (or a goal) and if it is between the outer two it is a behind (One Point). Sometimes referred to as “Aussie Rules.” While most states have at least one team, it is much more popular in Victoria and the Southern States.
    (Those crazy other states love Rugby :P)

    In general we love sport.

    The leader of out country is known as the Prime-Minister. At the moment our PM is Kevin Rudd, but from 1996-2007 the PM was John Howard. We have an election every 3 years and you can be voted in as many times as you like. We have two main parties- Liberal and Labor. Kevin Rudd is Labour, John Howard was Liberal. It is compulsory if you are a citizen over 18 to vote at every election.

    Aussies are generally open people and pretty friendly. We call English people “Poms” in an affectionate kinda way, and Americans “Yanks.”

    I’m not sure about other states, but in Victoria we often make jokes about Tasmanians (in the same way Americans mock Alabama) and we mock New Zealand. We get annoyed when you mix up NZ accents with Aussie ones (Same way Americans get annoyed if you mix them up with Canadians.)

    In many ways Australia is like America and England. We speak English, we go to movies, we go out shopping ect.

    That’s all I can think off for now. Feel free to PM me.
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  3. #3
    cirelondiel
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    Yes - someone's interested in Australia! Prepare for an essay...

    Geography (mainly WA)
    Quote Originally Posted by Helen
    West
    The entire west coast is take up by Western Australia or WA where the capital is Perth. Once again I’ve never been there.
    Luckily, I am a Perthite, so I can fill in this part.

    WA is the largest state, with 1/3 of Australia's area, but it doesn't have a particularly large population. Perth has approximately 2 million people, I believe, and is apparently the most isolated city on Earth. WA is rich in resources such as iron and gold, and our mining industry is huge. We're currently experiencing a boom so there are lots of people living up north earning huge wages as truck drivers in the mines etc. On that note, an interesting place for tourists to visit is the town of Kalgoorlie, which was born out of the gold rush after A guy named Paddy Hannan discovered gold there. Kalgoorlie's Super Pit is a massive open gold mine which you can go see. It also has a tourist mine where you can go into a mine shaft, see what life during the gold rush might have been like for prospectors, and sieve for gold in a stream. There's also an interesting museum and some old hotels. Like much of WA, it's a dry place with red dirt stretching in all directions and it's HOT.

    Perth is situated on the coast and on a river, the Swan, and is surrounded by hills. Near the top of the river is the Swan Valley area, with many vineyards. Closer to the coast is the city, with just a handful of tall buildings and a few nice old ones around among all the flashy modern office building. The Bell Tower, located right on the river, is also popular for tourists. Perth has been labelled Dullsville by the more 'hip' cities because of it's lack of nightlife, but it's a calm and peaceful place which is lovely to live in. On the coast are beaches such as Cottesloe, which is quite well-known (but not as much as Sydney's Bondi). To the south-west is the port town of Fremantle, a love heritage town which has markets, the old jail, cafes and restaurants to amuse you. Water sports are popular in Perth, taking advantage of our location.

    Off the coast of Perth is Rottnest island, home of a small marsupial, the quokka.

    The South-West region of WA includes Bussleton, home to the southern hemisphere's longest wooden jetty (you can go the end of it and go into an underwater observatory); the Margaret River wine region with many famous wineries (Margaret River itself is a pretty and small little town which is very nice to visit); many lighthouses; and large forests such as the Valley of the Giants where you can take a tree-top walk through some huge and very old trees (karri trees, I think).

    The north is much drier than the green south-west. One notable town that I can think of is Broome, which is known for its pearls and beautiful beaches (the typical image of Broome would be camel rides on the beach!).


    Phew. Sorry for rambling, you don't even want to know about WA, Mapoi, but hopefully some of that will be useful to someone, someday.

    Quote Originally Posted by Helen
    Queensland - Brisbane
    Queensland is most famous for its beautiful beaches. The Gold coast is a stretch of beaches that are particularly famous. The thing about Queensland beaches is there are so many, you can find yourself totally alone on a beautiful beach.
    Queensland is also known for it's, um, theme parks, I guess? Like Dream World and Sea World. I've only been there when I was really little, and my memories consist of staying in a high-up apartment, seeing a hot-air balloon and eating Vegemite.

    Another important Australian landmark is the Great Barrier Reef, which I have never seen but it is very well-known and very long.

    Northern Territory- Dawin
    The Northern Territory, while the size of Queensland, only has 600,000 people. Due to lack of population it is called a territory. It has some famous landmarks, such as Uluru and the most amazing waterfalls, rock pools and natural landmarks.
    Oops, that should say Darwin. Uluru is called Ayre's Rock in English, but the Aboriginal name, Uluru is used now. It's that big red rock

    For Sydney, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge are must-mentions. Every tourist in Sydney would go see them.

    We have a LOT of desert. Lots and lots. And it's a hot country: 40 degree temperatures are not uncommon in summer (we measure in Celsius, not fahrenheit) and have drought problems. It doesn't snow.

    Language
    The stereotypical accent you would know is the broad accent, but as you get into bigger cities most people speak with the standard accent (ie. not really long drawling vowels etc.).

    One thing I would note is nicknames: we love to shorten (or sometimes lengthen!) names in ways like this: Jonathan = Jonno, Goodman = Goody, Smith = Smithy, Jackson = Jacko, Steve = Stevo, etc. As you can see, that may be either first or last names.

    About 'mate': personally, the only person I call mate is my little brother (we also call him buddy all the time, but that seems very American here). I don't know many girls who use the word mate, it's much more a male thing, although they will use it for both sexes. I defintely think women would tend to use mate only for strangers more than their friends. But that's just my experience.

    I never say g'day, either. Kids (city ones, at least) tend to say hi or hey in my experience. Again, g'day seems more a male thing to me.

    Some things to remember (Australian - American or British):
    thongs = flip-flops (the underwear is called a g-string here)
    bathers = swimsuit, swimming costume (at least here - I believe that swimmers, swimsuit etc are more common in some states)
    jam = American jelly
    jelly = American jell-o

    That's all I can think of for now...

    Food
    Deserves its own section, no?

    We love our barbecues (barbies) and will often have friends over for one. Steak, sausages (snags) and beer are staples for a good barbie.

    Vegemite! The dark, salty spread with its signature yellow and red label is beloved by many Aussies and hated by almost everyone I've met who's not from Australia. I'm pretty sure I've never met a tourist who likes it. It's typical for schoolchildren's sandwiches and on toast for brekky. (Oh, there's another exaple of us shortening words!) The best thing, IMO, is cheese and vegemite toasted sandwiches. Mmm, my favourite weekend lunch.

    Meat pies are another typical Aussie food, especially when you go the footy.

    For dessert, (and I really hope that Tash - Pondering - doesn't see this) a unique Australian concoction is the pavlova, a light, excessively sugary meringue-like cake topped with cream and in-season fruit.

    We're also the home of the lamington (I don't know if other countries have this?), a sponge cake coated in chocolate sauce (or maybe strawberry) and then rolled in coconut.

    Culture
    AFL- Australian Rules Football. There are 16 teams who try and kick the ball through 4 goal posts. If it is between the middle two it is 6 points (or a goal) and if it is between the outer two it is a behind (One Point). Sometimes referred to as “Aussie Rules.” While most states have at least one team, it is much more popular in Victoria and the Southern States.
    (Those crazy other states love Rugby)
    WA only has two but it seems to be much bigger than rugby, actually! I see rugby as an eastern states thing. So there you go.

    Cricket is the big sport in summer. I can't stand it. Everyone's heard of Don Bradman. A notable (?) cricketer of our times is Shane Warne, with all his lovely text-message scandals etc. What a great representative of the sport

    But as Helen said, in general we adore sport. You should have seen the arrival of our Olympic team home yesterday morning! Whoa!

    Quote Originally Posted by Helen
    I’m not sure about other states, but in Victoria we often make jokes about Tasmanians (in the same way Americans mock Alabama) and we mock New Zealand. We get annoyed when you mix up NZ accents with Aussie ones (Same way Americans get annoyed if you mix them up with Canadians.)
    Yes, jokes about Tasmanians being isolated and in-bred abound I don't know how anyone could mix Aussie and NZ accents up, and I haven't really noticed anyone mocking NZers much here. Then again, I'm a born Kiwi so maybe they just don't do it around me (I don't have an NZ accent, though - I think it's awful now!). There is a fierce rivalry between Aus and NZ in sport, though, especially in rugby (which the Kiwis are better at).

    Australia Day is the 26th of January and involves fireworks and lots of barbecues, beer, and celebrations. The 25th of April is Anzac Day, which is a much more solemn event to commemorate our ANZAC soldiers. Christmas is also a big holiday, spent with family and friends.

    All in all, we're pretty laid-back and open people. The values of mateship, good sportsmanship and a fair go and important to us.

    Phew, I'm running out of steam. Okay, one more thing: we have a wide variety of bizarre creatures, like kangaroos, emus, platypuses, quokkas, echidnas, koalas (which are not bears, despite being called koala bears sometimes) etc. You can buy meat of kangaroo, crocodile etc in supermarkets but it's not common (I've never tried anything like that!). And it's not incredibly common to see those creatures around, especially if you live in a city. You may see kangaroos in the wild in rural areas, but koalas aren't commonly seen.

    Okay. I've been getting less detailed as I've gone along, haven't I, but oh well. I hope something in here will be useful to someone. My inbox is always open to PMs from anyone who wants to asks me questions about Aussie life Feel free to drop me a message any time.

    -- Chelsea

  4. #4
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    I have a question as well.

    In a Australia, what education would someone need in order to become a reseptionist?

    I know in the U.S., jobs that use to be able to be filled by a fairly intelligent high school graduate now need two year degrees. My professors say it's becoming a real problem, the declining value of a college diploma.

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  5. #5
    Azhure
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    Yay! Finally, someone needs help with Australian culture!

    In a Australia, what education would someone need in order to become a reseptionist?
    You don't really need any post-school qualifications, just a good English and maths mark. However, it is often recommended that you take various courses at university to increase your chances of getting employed in a better workplace.

    These courses can include:

    - Business
    -Office administration
    -Hospitality
    -Medical reception skills and medical terminology.

    Of course, a lot of these depend on what sort of receptionist you want to become (medical, office, school, law, retail...)

    There are also a few traineeships available. These include Business, and Hospitality.

    So you can become a receptionist straight out of school, but you will have a much better chance if you get do a decree, bachelor decree or a diploma in one of the courses.

    That's all of my knowledge on the subject, so someone else may want to fill in the gaps?

    Okay, I do have time, so I will help a little with the language.

    Overall our general language is a lot like British, but we also do have a fair bit of American - this is really confusing when writing in British English for MNFF because it's hard to tell which is which.

    For the whole 'G'day' thing, it is very uncommon to hear that in everyday life in the city. A few people do use it, but most say 'hi' or 'hey'. In the country, however, the abbreviations are more common. As for 'mate' it is definitely a guy thing. I very, very rarely hear a girl say it.

    One thing Chelsea forgot is that a swimsuit is also known as 'togs'.

    As for our national song, it is not Waltzing Matilda. Since the Olympics has just concluded, you may know that our theme song is Advance Australia Fair. Also, don't get your ideas of our language from Waltzing Matilda; it's an old song, and we don't use half of those words, although we do know what they mean.

    Oh, and do not ever say 'put a shrimp on the barbie' if you have an American accent. We do not say this over here, and a lot of Aussies find this offensive. We say 'prawn', not shrimp. The idea of 'put a shrimp on the barbie' is a misquotation that are sometimes used in tourist advertisements in America. I know this is slightly random, but please don't use this phrase. Some Aussies may love it. But it's not worth taking the risk.

    For more Australian information, visit this webpage: link.

    And that's all I have got time for. I will be back!

    ~~Azhure~~

  6. #6
    cirelondiel
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azhure
    One thing Chelsea forgot is that a swimsuit is also known as 'togs'.
    Really!? Well, you learn something new every day. I thought togs was a New Zealand thing because that's what we called it there, but no one in WA calls them togs, at least. But other states do? I didn't know that!

    Well, that just goes to show that there are a few things that have different names in different states. I read an article in a newspaper once about the slang that teenagers use in different states and saw a few words I'd never heard before. So it's probably a good idea to check with someone who lives in the area you're writing about to find out what people in that area say, just to be certain

    I think Azhure's answer to the receptionist question is pretty thorough. It's not a career I've ever looked into myself, but I would imagine that a diploma from TAFE or some sort of business institution would be a good qualification, and a university degree would almost be too much education! For some positions high school graduation would be adequate. It's not a profession that has strict high standards; it would vary depending on the employer and the specific job.

    -- Chels

  7. #7
    Third Year Ravenclaw
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    I have a few things to add:

    Food
    Vegemite. We Aussies adore the stuff, it practically runs through our veins, but I know that people from other countries often dislike it. It's an aquired taste.

    The barbeque. I have never been to a house that doesn't have a barbeque. It's generally the 'man's domain' - they get very protective and are likely to try and hit you with a shovel if you try and touch it.

    Damper: camp fire bread cooked in the coals. Mmm. I'm hungry.

    Beer: liquid gold. A slab is often worth more than your life, and my dad always jokes that the man I marry has to be able to open the door with his feet, because he should be carrying a slab on each shoulder as an offering to my dad

    Our native wildlife
    Just to bust a myth here; Kangaroos - we don't keep them in our backyards. That's illegal Unless, if like me, you have a farm and they just wander across as they please. You can't help something like that. If you have a license you can raise dingoes, but I'm not sure about the specific restrictions on it.

    Australia is home to eight out of ten of the most deadly snakes in the world. A common, extremely nasty one, is the King Brown, also called the mulga, if you want local terminology. Another is the brown snake, which is different from the mulga, and which is considered to be one the most deadly snakes in Australia, as even a little one can deliver a fatal dose of venom. The third I'll mention is the Red Belly Black snake, which is common right along the East Coast, and is also venomous.

    Footy
    It's the greatest game in the world. Hands down.

    The sixteen teams are:
    Richmond 'Tigers' (Victoria)
    Collingwood 'Magpies' (Vic)
    Essendon 'Bombers' (Vic)
    Geelong 'Cats'(Vic)
    St Kilda 'Saints' (Vic)
    Western Bulldogs 'Dogs' (Vic)
    Carlton 'Blues' (Vic)
    Fremantle 'Freo' or 'The Dockers'(WA)
    West Coast Eagles (WA)
    Sydney Swans (NSW)
    Brisbane Lions (Qld)
    Hawthorn 'Hawks' (Vic)
    North Melbourne 'Kangaroos' or 'North'(Vic)
    Adelaide Crows (SA)
    Melbourne 'Demons' (Vic)
    Port Adelaide 'Power' (SA)

    A few things to remember:
    Everyone hates Collingwood, unless you actually go for them.

    Footy grounds across the states are; Melbourne Cricket Ground, affectionately known as the MCG of simply the 'G, Telstra Dome, Skilled Stadium, also known as Kardinia Park (all Victoria), The Sydney Cricket Ground or SCG (which is like the MCG's lame, try-hard cousin. It's Sydney - they just want to be like Melbourne ANZ Stadium (Sydney), AAMI Stadium (SA), Subiaco, also known as Subi, (Perth), the Gabba (Brisbane) and Aurora Stadium (Launceston). They also play at other venues occasionally but those are the main stages.

    Language
    It really depends on who you are speaking to. I personally say g'day a fair bit, and people do say 'mate' a lot, because anyone is a mate. 'Bloody hell' is a lovely phrase we use when frustrated.

    A bit of lingo:
    Noah's ark = shark
    Flat out like a lizard drinking = fairly self explantory and never fails to make me smile.
    You beaut = That is wonderful!
    Aggro = My goodness, that brute was aggressive!
    Bangers = sausages
    Barney or Blue = arguement
    Bingle = A spot of bother.
    Bluey = Redhead
    Ranga = Redhead (From the word 'orangutan')
    Slab = of beer. The most magical word you can use, guaranteed to win you friends.
    Bushed = tired
    Go Bush = get out of the city and, well, go bush.
    Fair Dinkum = Are you genuine, good sir?
    Drongo, Tosser, Drop-kick = Loser
    Grog = Alcohol
    Hard yakka = My, this work is difficult.
    Joe Blake = snake
    Smoko = tea, cigarette break. A break from work in general (usually lasts all day
    RDO = rortered day off (we take em all the time)

    Generally we shorten lots of words, but it's difficult to pinpoint unless you live here, because it's so natural to us. As a general rule, anything with more than three syllables is shortened

    Concerning the states
    There's a friendly rivalry between the states and we like to tease each other.

    Sydney is often referred to as uptight. Queenslanders, home of 'Brisvegas' (Brisbane), are generally referred to affectinately as bogans or yobbos. South Australia are the 'backwater' (makes me laugh every time I hear that) and Perth, well, Perth is Perth.

    Culture
    Australians practically live on the beach. We love our swimming, surfing, tanning etc. The bigger the waves, the better.

    If you're drunk and it's three in the morning, a kebab is the way to go.

    Australia Day is a just one big party.

    Footy Grand Final Day stops the nation.

    Melbourne Cup (horse racing) is iconic.

    The Holden. One word: legendary. (It's a car, by the way)

    Anyway, I think that's about it from me. I could go on forever, so if you have anyway questions, feel free to pm me.



  8. #8
    Honigkuchenpferd Hufflepuff
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    I have a question concerning a medical practise register in Australia. In Germany, there's the so called "Ärztekammer" and in Great Britain it's the GMC (General Medical Council) where doctors have to register before being allowed to practise medicine legally. Is there something like this in Australia? If so, what's it called? Is it possible to get access to it via the internet?

    I need that information for a story I write about Hermione and her parents.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
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  9. #9
    Inverarity
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    Are you looking for medical accreditation or dental accreditation? (I'm pretty sure I've posted that link before.)

    Bine: Thanks for the link (though off-site links aren't actually allowed). That helps already, however. Thank you.

  10. #10
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    What are some typical pet names in Australia that a parent would use when talking to their little girl, or really any small child? The more specifics I could get, the better.

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