Australian Language, Talking Dinner and Real Estate

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The Australian language has some peculiarities, with words that can have a different meaning from British or American English.

If you are visiting down under, an area where you need to get your head around is dining out, whether you go to a restaurant or your mates invite to a barbeque.

If you are moving to Australia you will start looking for a place to live. So get familiar with terms useful when browsing Sydney classifieds or real estate ads.


Australian Language, Going Out for Dinner

When you go to a restaurant, the menu will list the entrees (or starters) and the mains. There will also be a separate wine list and a desserts menu.

A BYO restaurant allows you to bring your own wine. You will have to pay a small corkage fee for the privilege. Buy your wine at the bottle shop.

Your friends may invite you to a party or a barbie (BBQ) and mention BYO. This means you need to get your own beer, wine, or whatever you want to drink. But it may also mean to bring some food, so check to avoid any embarrassment.

If your friends moved into a new home and they organise a housewarming party, ask whether they want you to come with a gift or bring a plate to share with everyone else.

Speaking of houses, the language in Australia has a specific jargon. Whether you want to buy a house or just rent, go through the classifieds section of the newspaper and start wondering what the acronyms and shortened words mean.

Australian Language, Real Estate Terms

town houses in construction

Here are some of the most used terms that you will come across when browsing through the ads of real estate agents: 

  • Town house - it is a two-storey house usually having common walls with at least another house. In most cases several town houses form a small complex, like the ones in construction in the picture above.  
  • Villa is similar to a town house but has a single floor.  Duplex - usually two houses having one common wall. They can also be referred as semi-detached houses.  
  • Terraces are several houses in a row, sharing common walls. 
  • Studio - an open plan room which includes the sleeping, living and cooking area.  
  • Unit - a flat or apartment.
  • Cottage or 3-4 bedder is a house with 3 or 4 bedrooms. Usually it is a single level home with a living room and a meals area. The bigger ones will have a dining room, a lounge, a family room.
  • 3x1 or 4x2 - the first figure indicates the number of bedrooms and the second the number of bathrooms.
  • Granny flat is a small stand alone house, usually built behind the main house, in the back yard. It can be an open plan studio or have 1 - 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and bathroom. It can be used by family members or it can be rented out.
  • Ensuite - the bathroom in the master bedroom.
  • Powder room is the third or fourth bathroom in the house, very small with a toilet and a tiny sink and usually located on the ground floor.
  • DLUG - double lock up garage, SLUG - single lock up garage.
  • BIR - built in robe, WIR - walk in robe - wardrobes that are built-in or that are designed as small rooms to store your clothes.
  • Ducted aircon - air conditioning for the whole house through vents in the ceiling or floor. With reversed aircon you get both ducted cooling and heating of your house.


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Click on the images below to read more about real estate

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Avoid buying a dud

How to buy property

Private treaty sales

Making an offer

How to apply for rental

Renting in Sydney

Renting as an expat



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