Panta Rhei

Culture difference between Australia and UK


This post is based on a lecture by Elina Gordon. She works in the Department of Foreign Languages of UCAS as an international instructor.

Australians and English speak the same language, but until today, after listening to Elina Gordon’s speech did I know that the two countries have so much differences. Not only the way they speak, but also many other culture difference between Australia and UK.


Generally, Australian English is more informal and simple than British English. For example, Australians frequently corrupt the language via the use of diminutives such as “uni” instead of “university” or “Oz” instead of “Australia”, it’s unbelievable. Many daily language are simplified in Australia. In England people say “cup of tea”, while in Australia people just say “cuppa”; “black coffee with hot milk” in England become “flat white” in Australia.

Some words have different meanings in the two countries. For example, pants mean trousers in Australia, but it means underwear in UK.

Not only between countries, but different places inside UK have different way to speak English. People in London and Edinburgh have different accents and local dialects. Just like different provinces in China all speak Chinese, but people from north China cannot understand the Chinese from south China people.

Aside from pronunciation, Australian English has been heavily influenced by American English. Most of Australia’s television shows are American and American research dominates Australian universities. Consequently, Australians often use the American spelling for words such as organization. They use both American and English grammar. For example, both the American “the couple is happy” and the British “the couple are happy” are acceptable in Australia.


Since the climate in UK is not proper for agriculture, many foods in UK depend on import. I guess because the food is precious, so the English people cook them very carefully to protect it. That’s why the food in UK is awful. As Elina said, the foods of UK “have no flavor”. In spite of this, Elina highly recommended Scottish deep fried food, she love the deep fried haggis and chips very much.

During the colonial era, the staples of Australian colonial society were wheat, potatoes, beef, milk, eggs, sheep as well as fish and chips. These staples were English staples. Outside of colonial society, Aborigines ate kangaroo, echidna, koala, ants, grubs, snakes, lizards and moths. Because the colonists were starving, they would have eaten the native Australian cuisine if they could, but they didn’t know how to hunt or find it. Furthermore, native produce was not suitable for farming so it could only sustain people living a nomadic existence.

In the last couple of decades, both Australia and England have gained greater access to a diverse range of produce and have had migrants introduce varied recipes of the world. Consequently, both Australia and England have developed fusion cuisines. But foreign recipes always change in UK. As a consequence, Chinese food is not Chinese style; Italian food is also not Italian style. They just changed to satisfy the English taste. By contrast, foreign foods keep their true colors when they migrate to Australia. So we can have really authentic Chinese food in Sydney.


Australian soaps like Neighbors and Home & Away are immensely popular in England. They portray happy neighborhoods populated by good looking teenagers and their loving families. The soaps might appeal because they fit an idealized conception of Australia for the English. For instance, the weather in the Australian TV shows are always looks graceful, but the weather in England are cloudy, chilly and rainy all the time. So the shows provide a beautiful world that English never could have. Alternatively, maybe the episodes are well written. On the contrary, as Elina said, Australian don’t like the shows, they will never tell their native friends they like it.

While Australian programs have been popular on English television, not many English programs are popular on Australian commercial television. For reasons unknown, commercial television in Australia favors American-made programs. However, the government-funded ABC has often showed English programs such as The Bill, Black Adder, Mr. Bean, The Goodies, Dr Who and Little Britain.


Both Australia and UK hate USA, but they don’t refuse to make friends with Americans. They just don’t like the country as a whole; Australia and UK have the same Queen, but their attitudes to the Queen differ; universities of the two countries exchange their students frequently.

The differences between Australia and UK are a good thing, which makes our world more colorful and interesting. There are over 200 countries on this planet; I cannot imagine how many differences between cultures and peoples from these countries. A multicultural world is more beautiful than a single culture world. Cultural differences should be an opportunity to communicate. Actually, people everywhere have much in common, such as a need for affiliation and love, participation, and contribution. When the exterior is peeled off, we are the same.

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categories: LIFE  tags: Australia  UK  culture