Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

do Americans understand Australian English

Do Americans understand Australian English?

It’s a great question!

Today we’re going to dive into this question and find out what are the commonalities between American and Australian English and what makes the two versions of English different.

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How does Aussie English sound to Americans?

To me it sounds cool, relaxed, laid back, and smart. 

It’s refreshing to us because it’s different and seems exotic.


Let’s start with the question from our listener:

Hi Lindsay and Michelle.

My name is Raf and I live in Sydney/Australia but I’m originally from São Paulo/Brazil.

I listen to your podcast almost everyday and I find it very enjoyable and useful for our daily basis needs speaking English, thanks for that. I’ve got a question for you girls.

My question is in relation to the differences between American English and Australian English. Do Americans understand 100% what Aussies say? Or do you guys have a kind of trouble trying to understand each other?

For example, Aussies say things and some people from outside of Australia have no clue on what they’re talking about. They don’t even like calling their language english, they say it’s Australian.

Thank you, girls

All the best, Raf


What percentage of Aussie English do we understand?

Americans understand around 90% of Aussie English.

Usually we can get the accent but the hardest part is random vocabulary that is Aussie specific.


Check out our Aussie guests!

Over the years we have done some great episodes with Australian guests.

Go here to meet David Peachy.

He gave us three terms to help connect with Australians and he told us what “yah-nah” means.

If you want to hear how the pronunciation is different listen to those episodes with David.


How vocabulary is different:

  • mate
  • gday
  • bush
  • outback
  • I reckon
  • yah-nah


Even more interesting than vocabulary is what happens when words mean something different.

  • Thong- in the US and England means a kind of underwear but in Australia it means a type of shoe.
  • Biscuit- in Australia and in England this means cookie or cracker, but biscuit has a different meaning in the US.


It’s fun and important to look at how words might have different meanings across English-speaking cultures.



The short answer for Raf is YES, we understand each other for the most part.

It’s just like if you are from Spain, you understand someone from Argentina. However, there are some places we might get confused.

Pronunciation can be hard and vocabulary can be different


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