Do we even speak the same Language?

A new blog series ‘Aussie Living in Austin’ where I give my perspective on living in the US as an Aussie. You can expect a new post every or two Wednesday – Friday!

See all my previous ‘Aussie Living in Austin’  Posts here.


I apologise that it’s been a couple of weeks since my last Aussie Living in Austin post! But here I am with quite a fun topic to discuss this week!

Yes, English is both Australia’s and United States’ main language. But it is quite common for both countries to use different names for the same thing. Let me give you some examples (Australian Name is listed first).

Trolley – Basket

When it comes to shopping in Australia, this is what a Basket looks like:

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And this is a Trolley:

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In the US they call Shopping Trolleys (like the one pictured above) Baskets. I mean really? They have wheels FFS! I always inadvertently say Trolley instead of Basket which of course annoys my boyfriend who insists on correcting me whenever I use the wrong word. I mean I’ve spent my whole life calling them trolleys. It’s a hard habit to break.

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Chips – Fries

Okay pictured above are chips, not fries. In Australia, you can only refer to thin cut chips (eg Mcdonalds fries) as fries. Any chips that are a thicker cut are always referred to as Chips. But we typically call all Chips, Chips regardless of their thickness/cut (but we call Wedges, Wedges).

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What the US thinks are Chips (thin cut round chips pictured above) we call Potato Chips or just Chips as well. So yes we love Chips so much that we just refer almost all types of fried potatoes as Chips because it’s easy and it totally makes sense.

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Thongs – Flip Flops

This is certainly something I have to be extra careful with given that Thongs are something entirely different in the US. In Australia, we refer to that particular type of underwear as a G-string and flip-flops as Thongs. This is the way it has always been and will continue to be in Australia. I’m pretty sure the rest of the world finds this super weird but oh well.

It is awkward when you’re going through Airport Security in the US and you refer to your Flip-flops (that you bloody have to take off for some dumb reason) as Thongs (but I can blame the 14-hour flight right?).

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Different Names for Fruit and Vegetables

  • Rockmelon – Cantelope
  • Capsicum – Peppers
  • Coriander – Cilantro

It wasn’t too hard for me to remember Peppers and Cilantro as I’d heard those terms before. But I had no idea that Rockmelon was Cantelope until I moved to the US. Cantelope to me sounds like the name of an animal with antlers like a Deer or Moose.

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‘Find a Park’

Back in Australia, we commonly use the phrase ‘find a park’ or ‘there’s a park’. Up until recently, my Boyfriend hadn’t told me that he had no idea what I meant by this phrase. So I had to explain it to him. Obviously, I’m not referring to a Park ie. Central Park in New York. Basically, it’s short for a ‘parking spot’.

Australian’s like to shorten things okay. Sheesh. When I’m in a car park in a car and I say ‘look there’s a park’ it should be obvious what I’m referring to especially when there isn’t the other type of park nearby.


These are only some of the words and phrases that are different in both countries. There are plenty more and I’m sure there are different words for different things in different regions within each country. It’s certainly very fun to discuss all the different words and their meanings!

What are your favourite alternative words/phrases from other countries? What words from Australia or the US do you find weird?

 

  • Not all in US speak like that. For instance I call a basket just that a basket you carry, For the Trolley, well those I think of the old electric trolleys that were before my time in the area I live in, so to me even that is foreign because I call them Shopping Carts, since they have wheels, Cantaloupe I have always called it sweet melon since it does have a sweet taste, finding a park, well I just point an say, “there” so yeah people speak differently depending on the area they were raised. I was raised in Southwestern Pennsylvania and speak entirely different from those in my area, they have their own language, and well I was taught to pronounce all my words correctly.