Are you sick of learning about all the complicated rules that make English so hard?
Take a short break and learn some (Aussified) English slang that native speakers use!
Not all of this slang will be the Australian type, but take you through some of the must-know slang in the English language and some must-knows for living in Australia.
When it comes to real-life communication, knowing colloquialisms (slang) can be just as important as knowing all the intricate rules of a language.
Learning English isn't just about past participles and regular and irregular verbs; speaking English is about communicated with English speakers using familiar words and expressions.
You won't find this type of language in a Cambridge English test. But slang will help you speak like a native Anglophone, and help you to understand words used by native speakers.
Not to mention, it might help you to avoid looking like a tourist when you visit English-speaking countries.
So, how best to learn colloquial English?
If you want to progress in English, improve your written and oral comprehension skills and take private English Lessons, read our guide!
It will help you enhance your improve your knowledge of the English language and develop your English language skills through speaking English and English slang.
Find a native speaker to practice with by having English conversation lessons online.
What Are The Best English Slang Dictionaries?
Well, a dictionary recommended by the best English linguists is a good place to start!
There are recommended colloquial dictionaries available at all levels for the English learner. An advanced learner can use a classical dictionary, while a novice or beginner learner can use a bilingual dictionary.
To understand English or American slang better, nothing beats reading and re-reading a dictionary recommended by the best linguists!
To make the best use of your time while you learn, make sure you pick up a recommended dictionary.
These books can be especially helpful when traveling abroad. Using native slang while in a country will endear you to the population and can invite a more authentic cultural experience.
For traditional dictionaries to work, you should have some English study under your belt to better understand the terms. Don't forget, the definition is in English, which will make things tricky for those who don't speak English at all!
The best slang dictionaries can be bought online, although you can often find foreign language dictionaries in libraries around the world.
Here are some recommended Australian colloquial dictionaries:
- The Australian National Dictionary by Oxford
- The True Blue Guide to Australian Slang by Jenny Hunter
- Strayan Dictionary by Domonic Knight
And some more traditional British colloquial dictionaries
- A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by Francis Grose,
- The new Partridge dictionary of slang and unconventional English by Eric Partridge,
- Urban Dictionary: freshest street slang defined by Aaron Peckham.
Books like these will help you recognise native slang, like telling the difference between "Arvo" (afternoon) and "Avo" (avocado), making it much easier to order breakfast at the right time of day in an Australian café.
Many of these books will also delve into the history of these words and phrases, giving you a historical perspective on the English language as well.
Learn to Speak English: Bilingual Dictionaries
Bilingual dictionaries are a fantastic option for beginners in English. Using a bilingual dictionary is often the first step in learning the basics of English vocabulary.
Slang dictionaries are often available in the bilingual format to help travelers and beginners master the basics of conversational English. Students can look up a word or phrase in their native tongue and find it's equivalent in English.
Whatsmore, bilingual dictionaries often include historical and cultural information that relates to the slang, expression or terminology. This helps users to immerse themselves in the culture behind the language without necessarily having to take English lessons.
You can often find bilingual dictionaries in local libraries, but if you're having trouble finding them, make sure to check out university libraries; they often have a wide range of languuage textbooks for their srtudents.
Bilingual dictionaries are available in many town libraries, particularly in university libraries that offer a wide range of language textbooks.
So English students can learn the jargon thanks to these customised dictionaries:
- Harrap's Slang Dictionary by Georges Pilard,
- Bilingual dictionary of today's slang by Declan McCavana,
- French-English dictionary of popular expressions by Vincent Bernard,
- Bilingual Dictionaries of Slang: Word up! by Mr. McKinnon,
- Bilingual Dictionary of Today's Slang, French to English.
To learn English fluently and boost your level of English enough to blend in with English locals, bilingual dictionaries allow students to learn all the vulgar expressions that are strictly forbidden in English class at school!
Online English Slang Dictionaries
In the 21st century, everything is online!
When it comes to learning a language, young people are fed up with traditional, old-fashioned dictionaries and instead turn directly to the Internet.
Slang websites allow students to learn English for free and find English phrases without leaving the comfort of their own home.
To learn English online and learn how to pronounce idioms, it is important to check out English-speaking websites to gain a comprehensive understanding of English, as the definitions will be written in English itself.
Dictionaries are constantly updated by Internet users to be keep up with the times!
The most popular slang dictionary websites are:
If you are not sure of the English spelling of a word, don’t panic: some platforms offer a voice recognition service to find a term in two or three simple clicks!
To speak English like a native, why not take a free English course using online dictionaries?
Regional Slang Variation
You want to learn slang, okay, but which one?
As in most foreign languages, English vocabulary varies from one country to another.
Before learning a foreign language, it’s a good idea to set out your expectations: depending on which culture you are most interested in, you will need to choose the appropriate dictionary.
Here’s a short summary of the slang used in English speaking countries!
The Different British Sayings
Aficionados of the language of Shakespeare will tell you: when taking a language course aimed at improving your English, first you need to know the original British terms.
The United Kingdom, however, is made up of several countries whose cultures differ even in terms of linguistics!
This is why you will never find the same slang terms in British dictionaries: it is, therefore, essential to choose a specific dictionary adapted to your needs!
For example, in traditional English, “a ride” can mean a ride or a journey, while in Irish slang the term is used to describe an attractive person.
Some common nouns can be used as English slang words depending on which part of Britain you’re in.
Some slang dictionaries specialise in the idioms of British countries:
- Kiss my ...: Dictionary of English-Irish slang by Garry Bannister,
- A Glossary of Irish Slang: And Unconventional Language by Diarmaid O'Muirithe,
- Dictionary of North East Dialect by Bill Griffiths,
- Favourite Scots Words by Betty Kirkpatrick,
- A Concise Dictionary of English Slangs by B.A. Phytian,
- The Language of London: Cockney Rhyming Slang by Daniel Smith,
- Welsh-English Dialect 2016 by Benjamin Jones.
If you opt for traditional English, the “BBC Learning English” has a great specialised dictionary in English slang!
English Slang in the United States
Often criticised by more traditional linguists, americanised English, however, is one that you hear most often in every-day life!
With a total population of more than 300 million, people in the United States have a variety of different origins and customs: there is, in fact, a rather large chiasm between the culture of the North and the South.
As a result, you'll find a disparity within the same language, where completely contrasting dialects coexist!
To learn American slang according to the different states, the following are recommended:
- McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard Spears,
- Dictionary of American slang by Robert Chapman,
- American slang dictionary and thesaurus by Mary Elizabeth,
- Juba to Jive: a dictionary of African-American slang by Clarence Major,
- Slang!: The topic by topic American lingoes by Paul Dickson,
- The Language of the American South by Cleanth Brooks,
- An American dictionary of slang and colloquial speech by Joseph Weingarten.
In English lessons online, you’ll often find terms borrowed from American culture, especially in business English.
To enrich your vocabulary, it is a good idea to know American slang inside out: if you are a student in the commercial sector, regularly in contact with American businessmen you will use professional English which would include many colloquial terms.
A good way to learn American English is reading specialised slang dictionaries: for example, John Berenyi's Modern American Business Dictionary can see English students through their language exams.
Some English learning websites even offer online exercises to learn how to read and write slang to practise both spelling and speaking skills!
The Commonwealth Slang
With its impressive colonial past, Great Britain has left an indelible mark on the culture of Commonwealth countries, starting with the language.
Whether in idiomatic expressions, English grammar or English lexicon, British linguistics can be found all over the world: to communicate effectively with people from English speaking countries, it is essential to know the dialect of the native people!
To learn English easily, slang dictionaries allow you to understand English better and, more specifically, to pick up on English pronunciation which may vary from country to country! Learn about different forms of speaking English here.
Even with a tight schedule, it is possible to integrate some slang from the Commonwealth countries: all you have to do is read the dictionary definitions thanks to online courses to strengthen your level of English.
The dictionaries specialising in Commonwealth slang are:
- A Popular Dictionary of Australian Slang by Sidney Baker,
- Jamaican Swearing: A Quick and Dirty Guide to Jamaican Slang and Swearing by Mailk Reid,
- Western Canadian Dictionary and Phrase Book by John Sandilands,
- A Dictionary of slang, jargon and cant embracing English, American and Anglo-Indian slang by Albert Barrère,
- A Dictionary of South African Indian English by Rajend Mesthrie.
To expand your knowledge of English and strengthen your understanding of spoken English so you can travel to an English-speaking country without any difficulties, bilingual, or regular, dictionaries are essential in immersing yourself in English culture.
Why not take a look at a slang dictionary, to learn grammar as well as the phonetics of English words and expressions.