Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.

Aussie Slang–Do I need a Glossary?

7 Comments

The novel I’m currently working on, ‘The Road to Karinya’, is written primarily from 1st person point of view, and, as the story is about two girls travelling around Australia, I am using slang occasionally. I don’t think I’m overdoing it and the truth is we’ve become so Americanized now that I’m not even sure which is ours any more! What I’m wondering is should I put in a glossary of slang terms?karinya cover

On the one hand I don’t want to treat readers as idiots–clearly if there’s a word or a term they don’t understand they can google it–and I’m not keen on the whole glossary thing. I don’t think I’d even fill one page with the slang I’ve used and it just seems silly. On the other hand I don’t want to alienate anyone who might have a problem with the lingo.

As I said I don’t think I’ve used that much slang–I’ve just read through the first ten pages and found eight examples that may or may not be Aussie slang. I don’t think the first pages are indicative of the novel over all and there’s probably less slang as the story progresses. I’d appreciate all opinions as to whether these terms need explanation:

barbie; (not my) cup of tea; in good nick; cuppa; goodies; big smoke; write-off; town bike.

They’d all be easier to understand in the right context of course and I think it’s pretty clear that ‘barbie’ isn’t referring here to a doll:

‘We were up bright and early, all ready to head off by eight o’clock. I’d said my goodbyes the day before to all my family; we had a barbie and my four older sisters all managed to turn up, with various husbands, boyfriends and my three nieces.’

Tell me what you think–are readers willing to look up terms they don’t understand?

My collection of short stories ‘Connections‘ is free on Amazon 1st and 2nd November–UK readers here.

Ditto my novel, a story based on a murder trial in 1910 Australia, ‘Her Flesh and Blood‘–UK readers here.

Reviews would be much appreciated, providing they’re positive ones of course!

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Author: cmsgardnerblog

I'm a writer of fiction and non-fiction, for teens and adults. I live in Central Victoria, Australia and my books are available at https://www.amazon.com/author/christinemgardner and https://www.smashwords.com/interview/ChristineGardner

7 thoughts on “Aussie Slang–Do I need a Glossary?

  1. I’ve found that slang and other idiosyncratic sayings are almost always easy to figure out in the context. But sometimes phrases are more problematic. I say don’t do the glossary, and people will either figure it out or look it up. You could perhaps include a link to an Aussie slang dictionary – I’m sure there must be one.

  2. I think any British reader would know all the terms you listed (we’ve had Australian soaps over here for years!), and maybe use a good many of them too. The only one I’m not sure about myself is ‘town bike’. Glossaries are fine for school books, but not for novels, in my view.

  3. No problem here. Defend the local patois against US cultural imperialism. ☺

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