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Western Australian English, or West Australian English, is the collective name given to the variety or varieties of English spoken in the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). As with the other regional varieties within Australian English, the vocabulary spoken in Western Australia also varies slightly by region. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, there are three localised, regional varieties of English in WA: Perth English, Central West Australian English, and Northern West Australian English [1]. While there are many commonalities, each has its own variations in vocabulary.



Some of the vocabulary used in Western Australia is unique, within both Australia, and the wider world[2][3]. Several terms of British origin have survived which are rarely used in other parts of Australia. One example is verge, meaning the area between a road and a paved footpath, which is known by the term nature strip in the rest of Australia. Some American terms, such as crosswalk, also known as a pedestrian crossing or zebra crossing, have also found a niche in WA. Other words have been shortened, for example, the term bathers is commonly used in place of bathing suit or togs as used in other parts of Australia. Some original terms have also been invented in WA, and have since found their way into common usage. An example of this is the term home open, describing a house on the market which is open for public inspection[4]. There are also many unique, invented slang words, such as ding, referring to an Australian immigrant of Italian descent (this word is often considered derogatory and/or offensive), or munted, referring to an object which is misshaped or unsightly. There also exist terms which are familiar to all Australians other than those from WA, such as schooner, a 285 mL (SA), 425 mL (NSW, Qld, NT) or 485 mL (Vic) glass of beer served in all Australian states except WA[5]. Glasses of beer in Western Australia smaller than a pint are referred to as a middy, a 285ml serve.

Many words from the Aboriginal language have found their way into West Australian English. Examples include gidgee (or gidgie), a Noongar word for spear, as used in modern spear fishing; and gilgie (or jilgie), the Noongar name for a small freshwater crayfish of the South West. Another word of likely Aboriginal origin is boondy (pronounced with ʊ, like the vowel in bull), which means a rock, boulder, or small stone[6]. Among West Australians, the term sand-boondy or more commonly boondy is well-recognised as referring to a small lump of sand (with the granules stuck together), often thrown at one another by children in the playground.


There is no well-known "West Australian accent". Most West Australians speak with either a general Australian accent or a broad Australian accent; and generally, those who grew up in suburban Perth speak with a general Australian accent, and those from regional areas ("from the country") speak with a broad accent. However, one noticeable point of distinction is that Western Australians tend to pronounce words such as beer with two syllables (/biː.ə/), where other Australians use one syllable (/biː/)[7].

See also


  1. ^ Australian Broadcasting Coorporation, "Regionalisms"
  2. ^ Maureen Brooks and Joan Ritchie, Words from the West: A Glossary of Western Australian Terms. Oxford University Press (1994). ISBN 0-19-553628-2
  3. ^ Rhonda Oliver, Graham McKay and Judith Rochecouste, "Lexical Variation among Western Australian Primary School Children", Australian Journal of Linguistics, vol. 22, no. 2 (October 01, 2002) pp. 207 - 229.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Speaking Our Language: The Story of Australian English. Bruce Moore 2008
  7. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, "String is feeling the strain" Sushi Das, 2005


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