Study reveals that using Aussie slang increases likeability

An ANU study reveals that using Aussie slang makes you more likeable.

a group of friends talking using aussie slang and being liked

Whether you’re from Tassie, Franga or Townie, so long as you pronounce your town name as such, your likeability increases, according to an ANU study on the use of Aussie slang.

Lead researcher on the project, Dr Evan Kidd from the Australian National University’s Research School of Psychology says the use of Aussie slang makes the speaker more likeable to their fellow Australians.

Shortened words such as ‘uggies’ (Ugg boots), ‘cappa’ (cappuccino) and ‘telly’ (television) are no longer viewed as mere lazy talk, but are instead seen as an indication of social closeness that promotes common ground between Aussies (Australians) – so long as you say it in an Australian (Strayan) accent.

Participants in the study talked with an actor who alternately spoke in shortened Aussie slang and normal terms. Respondents were then asked to rate the likeability of the actor.

"We found that if the actor used the slang, the participant liked them more," said Dr Kidd.

An Australian-Asian actor was then asked to do the same, only they alternated between pronouncing the slang terms in their Australian-English accent and their Australian-Asian accent.

"If she used slang in her Australian English accent, they liked her more. However, if she used slang in a foreign accent it didn't change the amount they liked her," added Dr Kidd.

The results of the study suggest that Aussie slang is only seen as positive if it is pronounced with a typical Aussie accent.

It also looked at the generational differences in the use of slang. Younger Australians will generally shorten words to one or two syllables then add an ‘s’ sound to the end (i.e. totally = totes), whereas older Australians are more likely to shorten a word then add the quintessential ‘ie’ or ‘o’ (cigarette = ciggie, compensation = compo).

Words that have been shortened to two syllables and have an ending of ‘ie’, ‘o’ or ‘a’ are called hypocoristics, which, when translated from the Greek, means ‘to use child talk’. It typically occurs when giving someone a nickname (Bazza for Barry) and is meant as a term of endearment.

According to Dr Kidd, Australians use more shortened slang than any other English-speaking culture.

"In British English, this language will be used mostly for baby talk. In Australian English, you will use it in a greater amount of circumstances," he said. "You hear it everywhere, you see it in newspaper headlines, news readers use it, politicians use it. It's an entrenched part of our vernacular."


Do you use Aussie slang? Do you find people more likeable when they use hypocoristics? Should we refer to them as hypos from now on?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    6th Apr 2016
    So we need to forget any concept of correctness, and drop to the lowest common denominator, so that the bogans like us? No thanks. Doo wee reelly knead two loose all cent's of watt is wright sew wee phit inn? Next thing, they will be telling us to spell and talk like the Yanks.
    6th Apr 2016
    Yes I get annoyed when people pick up on my word correctness,
    but that is how I was brought up to try and speak correct English.
    Our own children however, born here, do speak this shortened
    ocker some of the time - and I do not like it. LIke arvo for afternoon
    etc. Nothing wrong at all with speaking good English - I prefer it' to all the slang
    grumpy old woman
    6th Apr 2016
    Perhaps a little harsh, Saalbach though on the whole I agree with you. Personally I find someone more likable if they do not use those abbreviated words, although I admit to including a couple in my vocabulary to indicate a certain style of communication. I wouldn't even use such "baby talk" to my great-nephews and nieces ranging from 1 year to 6 years. How will they eve learn correct usage if they do not hear it at home.
    I find using those abbreviations bordering on disrespectful and it certainly conveys ignorance. There are other possible reasons to explain the findings of that study.

    6th Apr 2016
    Streuth, you don't want anyone to know you're some kind of drongo Ozzie yaboo by using that kind of plabber, do you? Fair crack of the whip, China!
    Polly Esther
    6th Apr 2016
    I say by crikey, you sound fair dinkum there cobber.
    6th Apr 2016
    That's Ozzie yobbo Fast Eddie not Yaboo. Strewth If you are going to talk like a flamin Ozzie get the slang rite mate!
    6th Apr 2016
    Brue, I'll be buttered on both sides, you're right!! Ta for your corekshon.
    Occasional Traveller
    6th Apr 2016
    One finds these comments most unseemly, dontcha rekkon?
    6th Apr 2016
    Yeah, too true.
    6th Apr 2016
    Leon, tell us where did the ANU get the money for this so called study, they can't have anything else to do. What a waste, I don't think we need this on Your Life Choices. We haven't sunk to the bogan level.
    6th Apr 2016
    Lighten up.
    6th Apr 2016
    Not yet anyway!
    6th Apr 2016
    My goodness me, I'll have to stay in good old Blighty as I'd obviously be very unpopular in 'Oz'. I'm hopeless with accents; get into trouble for pronouncing Melbourne wrongly and can't master Cairns. I even text in Queen's English!!
    6th Apr 2016
    No thanks you can take the lad out of Lancashire but you cant take Lancashire out of the lad

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