Monday, November 30, 2009


The first time I tried to order a "coffee" in Sydney, the barista looked confused. I tried to describe what is known here as American coffee - something even Starbucks doesn't serve and which all Aussies and migrants (especially Europeans) deride. I still keep a couple of bags of Dunkin Donuts coffee in my office for when I get nostalgic or when I can't be bothered to go downstairs for the closest approximate: a "long black." Nowhere else in the world have I heard this expression used to describe an Americano. You could probably get sued for using it in the US; my Italian roommate and I must be acclimating because we've stopped giggling when we hear it and its cousins: "short black" (espresso) and "flat white" (cafe au lait).

Sunday, November 29, 2009


spoken: How ya goin'? Combines "how are you doing" and "how's it going" for a truly unique, commonly used Aussie style greeting. When someone first asked me how I was going, I said "by foot."

Saturday, November 28, 2009


This means "to have sex." You can imagine how amused the guy at the cafe was when I ordered a "root beer." He laughed and laughed. The Australian equivalent of root beer, incidentally, is ginger beer. It's not bad. Kind of sweet though.

Hello from Down Under

Hi friends,

This is a dictionary of Australian slang I've been learning since moving to Sydney in 2008. English sounds very different here, and I hope this guide will be helpful for you when you visit me someday on this fascinating island-continent in the Pacific.