Australian English has a famous tendency to abbreviate words, doing so frequently and in a variety of ways. Clipping comes first, then the stump may be suffixed with an –er, –o, –s, –ie or –y, etc. This can and does occur in any form of English, but Australians seem to have taken diminutives furthest: it’s an unmistakable feature of the dialect.
Peter Temple’s Truth is an outstanding Australian crime novel with an abundance of such terms, and as I read it I decided to note some of them. To begin with –o forms. Truth offers several, usually in dialogue:
‘…get someone to take down every rego in the parking garage’ (registration, i.e., car number plate)
‘…years ago, you rings the cops, the ambos, they come.’ (
‘If my old man had been a garbo, I’d be labouring on a building site.’ (garbage collector)
‘And have the Salvos take a walk around there,’ said Villani. (Salvation Army)
‘Told you at the servo then, you don’t fucken listen.’ (service station, i.e., gas station or petrol station)