About Aus e-phrase
The aim of Aus e-phrase is to help newcomers to Australia to understand the colloquial language here.
The creator, Keturah de Klerk, is a qualified and experienced ESL Lecturer to adult migrants at Adelaide TAFE. She has extensive experience analysing and breaking down language for students from lower primary school level through to International students at Secondary school level and adult migrants. Her qualifications include Bachelor of Arts from Adelaide University, Post-graduate diploma in Primary Education from Northern Territory University (now CharlesDarwin) and Post-graduate Certificate in Applied Linguistics from Adelaide University.
From the creator:
When looking up Aussie slang, I was tired of seeing long lists of all the Aussie slang and expressions ever heard over the past 200 years, whether in a book or on the net, simply listed in alphabetical order, regardless of any sense of time or use. Such lists seem to be novel for a short time, but soon prove useless, with too many irrelevant phrases to sort through and no sense of ‘learning’ about them.
I wanted to provide an opportunity for migrants and visitors to learn and be able to understand, if not speak, the colloquial language that is currently being used around Australian cities everyday, this year!
Hence I decided to research and collate my research, for the most commonly used slang, phrases and expressions this year. I focussed my research on Australian locals between the ages of 18 and 55, both socially and in the workplace.
Research was conducted through several means; by audio recording of social conversations between Australian locals, which were then analysed for word and phrase repetition, analysis of television and radio interviews of Australians, where the natural language of the interviewee was analysed for word and phrase repetition, as well as by simply carrying a notebook and recording slang and expressions as we heard them in our day to day lives.
The expressions identified were listed, and made into a survey for Australians to nominate how often they believed they used them. The surveys were collated to give the most commonly used expressions (by opinion) and this data was combined with the frequency data collected from the recorded conversations, interviews and note takings, to give a final order of the most commonly used slang/ phrases/ expressions for 2008.
The order was separated in to learnable chunks of 50, in descending order from most common.
Each expression was given a ‘User’s guide’, similar to the traffic light system, to indicate whether it was wise to use the expression in public or not.
Each expression was given an English meaning / explanation, with either a definition or an alternative expression, to assist understanding. In many cases more than one meaning was required.
We then decided to give context to each expression, again to help understanding and to show how the expressions could be used. The context comes in the form of dialogues which are almost all authentic, coming from the recorded conversations (with adaptations of course) and remembered scenarios. Again, many required several context examples, to match their various meanings.
Although we know that colloquial language cannot really be translated into other languages, we also know that getting close can help and be quite interesting, as long as the learner is aware that the translation may not be a direct match. So we decided to find out which languages to which we should translate first.
Visiting the Tourism Australia website was most interesting. They have a section on Tourism Research Australia where we could discover which nationalities were visiting which Australian cities and which nationalities overall, were currently visiting Australia the most. Definitely visitors from America and England were the most common, and indeed we hope Aus-E phrase to be useful and fun for them. From the foreign language countries it seemed people from China, Japan and Korea were coming to Australia the most, followed closely by Germany.
So we chose the first four foreign languages to have translations on our website and we hope to quickly add others, and make each language a separate section instead of being altogether, with a separate section for other English speakers as well.
So the top 50 Australian slang, phrases and expressions has been created as such, with the rest of the collations still to be similarly broken down and a consolidation section to be created for each 50 as well.