Our national spirit is tied strongly to our words and phrases. And it seems that our unique Australian words are not only iconic, but well regarded by Australians. Top of the list was “mate” at 65.6% extremely/very proud of this word, 2nd was “g’day” (60.7% extremely/very proud) followed by “arvo”, “tucker” and “snags”.
However of all Australian terms, “arvo” is the most used by Australians (73.2% use this term) followed by “g’day” (71.1%).
Our unique language is still a strong part of our national brand. From our colourful language to our unique humour, the Aussie lexicon is one of fun. Only in Australia is a redhead called “Bluey”, and a stranger is called “mate”.
Top 5 “Best regarded Aussie words by Australians
However there are some well recognised local slang that Australians feel uncomfortable using. The top 5 words with more Australians “uncomfortable” than “comfortable” in their use are:
Top 5 “most uncomfortable” Aussie words
We have affection for iconic Aussie phrases with “No worries” a clear winner (73.7% extremely/very proud) followed by “g’day mate“ (71%) and “she’ll be right” (56.7%).
Top 5 best regarded Aussie phrases
- No worries
- G’day mate
- She’ll be right
- Too easy
- Fair dinkum
Many phrases were well known and well regarded but considered too ocker to be used in general speech, and topping this list was “not within coo-ee” (12% of Australians have used this phrase), “woop-woop” (13% use this term) and “dinky-di” (18%).
Top 5 “too ocker” Aussie phrases
- Not within coo-ee
- Woop woop
- Stone the crows
- You beauty
The ubiquitous chant “Aussie aussie aussie – oi oi oi” split Australians but overall was rated more positively (45.5% proud) than negatively ( 37.5% uncomfortable).
As Australians we love our iconic phrases and particularly those that communicate our down-to-earth attitude and community values. From the relaxed “no worries” to the generous “too easy”, and anything ending in “mate”, our favoured phrases radiate warmth. However there is a self consciousness and even a cringe factor which sets in with words like “cobber, sheila” and “stone the crows”. We have an affection for our quirky language- but this is balanced with a 21st Century sophistication.
Further evidence of embracing our language, Australians are pushing back on the AmericaniZation of spelling. Less than 1 in 20 Australians (4.5%) embrace American standard spelling (color, organize, center etc) with almost 4 in 5 Australians (79%) strongly or significantly opposed to the trend.
We love the flag (79% of Australians are extremely or very proud of the Australian flag) and the “Australian Made” symbol (67.1% very/extremely proud) but have mixed views on the Southern Cross symbol. In fact both the Australian Aboriginal Flag, and the Boxing Kangaroo had a larger proportion of Australians rating a feeling being proud of them even over the southern cross. Further, 1 in 4 Australians (23%) stated they were “slightly” or “very” uncomfortable in its use. Only the Eureka Flag had a higher “discomfort rating”.
- Australian flag
- Australian Made
- Australian Aboriginal Flag
- Boxing Kangaroo
- Southern Cross
Australians have always been proud of their nation, but in an understated, assumed-not expressed manner. Of recent years this patriotism has been more visible, particularly seen through a fond embrace of the Australian flag” states Mark McCrindle. Yet it is not surprising that in this land of the “fair go” symbols which articulate exclusivism rather than belonging decline in popularity. The Eureka Flag has long been viewed this way, being joined more recently by the Southern Cross.