In the midst of the hollies, many Aussies are enjoying arvo barbies with our rellies, full of snags, champaz and cab sav. We’re chucking on our sunnies and boardies at the beach, perhaps with our mates Shaz, Robbo, and Bazza. And we’re very wary of those pesky mozzies.

If you’re not from Australia, I apologise if that was indecipherable – us Aussies can’t seem to get enough of these shortened words.

So why do we use them so much? As Monash Uni linguists Kate Burridge and Howard Manns explain, they’re expressions of informality and solidarity, uniquely suited to our ethos.

Indeed these shortened words are “like accents – part of the glue that sticks Australian English speakers together”.

Whether you’re a truckie, a journo, a garbo, an ambo, or work at the bottle-o, we hope you’re enjoying a ripsnorter of a break.

Liam Petterson

Deputy Politics Editor

Brekkies, barbies, mozzies: why do Aussies shorten so many words?

Kate Burridge, Monash University; Howard Manns, Monash University

Colloquialisms such as barbie and smoko are like accents – part of the glue that sticks Australian English speakers together.

Human and Neanderthal brains have a surprising ‘youthful’ quality in common, new research finds

Stephen Wroe, University of New England; Gabriele Sansalone, Institute of Marine Sciences; Pasquale Raia, University of Naples Federico II

The way human brains develop is special – but not quite as special as you’d like to think, if we consider Neanderthals as well.

No, you shouldn’t wash raw chicken before cooking it. So why do people still do it?

Enzo Palombo, Swinburne University of Technology

Washing raw chicken can splash bacteria around the kitchen. It’s best just to properly cook the chicken without washing it. So why do people still wash? Time to bust some chicken-washing myths.

What is income protection insurance – and how’s it different to total and permanent disability insurance?

Tania Driver, James Cook University

People often (wrongly) believe income protection insurance would be paid out if the person was unable to work due to losing their job for any reason.

Climate change is leaving African elephants desperate for water

Rachael Gross, Australian National University; Rob Heinsohn, Australian National University

If the situation doesn’t change, Africa – indeed, the world – may lose one of its most iconic animal species.

My favourite fictional character: Queenie, a young Black woman living and dating in London, is ‘complex, funny, broken, fun’

Melanie Saward, Queensland University of Technology

Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie navigates dating as a Black woman, living in a Black body, and what it’s like to straddle two cultures while never really feeling as though you fit.

From hapless parody to knight crusader – how far-right nationalism hijacked the real Don Quixote

Roberto Suazo, University of Otago

The hero of Cervantes’ classic 17th century novel has been sorely misrepresented since the early 20th century as a symbol of nationalist and Islamophobic ideas.

Insects and spiders make up more than half NZ’s animal biodiversity – time to celebrate these spineless creatures

Jennifer Jandt, University of Otago

There would be no life on Earth without invertebrates, but they are understudied and underappreciated. The Bug of the Year competition aims to change that, so have your say and vote!


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