Throw Another Shrimp on the Barbie.

Some advice for those planning a trip Down Under: Beware the raw prawn! Before you go, let us guide you through the intricacies of Australian slang.

First of all, let's get the pronounciation straight, aussie is not pronounced with a bad French accent. Phonetically, Australians call themselves 'ozzies', because we come from the land of oz. In terms of both language and culture Australia lies somewhere between Britain and the United States - between the poms and seppos - although being next door to Asia has had a greater impact than most people realize. We really do expect there to be a good Thai restaurant on every corner.

The standard informal greeting is g'day, obviously abbreviated from the old English 'good day'. If you meet a sheila (girl) and particularly if she's a looker (pretty girl), it's acceptable to kiss her on the cheek after you've said g'day. Don't try the European two or three pecks routine though, or she might think your getting toey (desperate) and tell you to bugger off, if she's being polite, otherwise she might call you a boofhead and knock you for six. Of course self-depreciation is the basis of Australian humour, and conduct in general, so you'd call most of your mates boofheadsas a term of endearment. To be knocked for six is a reference to that obscure English game, cricket, and means 'to be hit very hard'. A mate is both more and less than someone you make babies with, a mate is someone you can have a couple of tinnies (cans of beer) with, and get rooted.

While a bastard is technically someone who's parents are not married, and accusing someone of being illegitimate used to be such an insult to a man's honour that he'd have to duel to recover it, in aussie slang it again becomes a term of endearment. Saying, "he's a smart bastard" is a genuine compliment. Of course, if your old man(father) carks it (dies) without leaving you anything you'd be right to exclaim, "what a bastard!". With slang, context is everything. The prime example of this is our most obscure phrase, "don't come the raw prawn with me". Now a raw prawn would be an uncooked shrimp, but I've known aussies to stay up 'till the wee hours (very late) polishing off a bottla'red (bottle of red wine) arguing over the correct usage of this touchstone of our culture. The consensus was that apparently everyone would know when to use it if the occasion arose, and nobodygives a stuff (cares) if you don't know exactly what it means. Maybe intonation is everything.

This might seem like a dog's breakfast (bit of a mess) of an explanation, but slang is no bludge (easy work). Fair dinkum! (For real, being serious). This is a brand of English where the worst affront is to imply that someone is useless, but you would only actually say "you're useless" if you meant it affectionately. If you really wanted to let rip (seriously mean it) you'd have to tell him, "You wouldn't know your arse from a hole in the ground". This is serious stuff and he may well spit the dummy (think of a baby having a tantrum), or at the very least chuck a wobbly (get very upset). If he thought you weren't giving him a fair go, he'd exclaim, "struth! you're a bit harsh". You get the picture (understand). Anyway, there's stuff all (nothing) left to say, never been one for verbal diarrhoea (talking a lot), so youse yobbos (you boofheads, bastards etc.) would be better off sussing it out(figuring it out) for yourselves. She'll be right, no worries.

Kieran Thompson