By now you have probably all gathered that I live in Australia -‘Oz’ to those in the know.
And because every country has it’s own little quirks when it comes to language I thought I’d share a few of my favourites today. This lesson will also come in handy in future posts in case I inadvertantly slip into the venacular without realising it!
Mel in the Swan Valley (down the way from me) already knows all of these words … so I guess she’ll just yawn at this post, and go off and stitch another bookmark. ‘Onya Mel.
Ahh … there’s the first little Ozzie word for the day. ‘Onya’ … obvious really! It’s really ‘Good On You’. But in true Ozzie fashion why waste time actually saying it all when you can shorten it to just one succinct little sound. As an aside, but still on topic – Ozzies will lengthen short words and shorten long words if they can. Especially names of people and things. So, if your name is Barry, we’ll shorten it to Bazza or, better still, Baz. You might live in Subiaco (pronounced Soobiakoh) but you’d say you live in Subi (Soooby). Or if you lived in Mosman Park, you’d say you lived in Mozzie Park. My friend Rosamund shortens her name to Ros (pronounced Roz) but of course we all call her Rozzi … Get my drift?
Anyway on to more Ozzie words and phrases.
We keep chooks (hens) that lay googies (eggs) up the back (in the back yard/garden). Now I know I’m a bit of a dag (endearing term for silly person) but I love nothing better than putting on my bathers (swim suit) – also known as a cossie over east (east coast of Australia) – having a bit of a swim, and then throwing a few snaggers (sausages) onto the barbie (bar-b-que) and downing a few tinnies (drinking some cans of beer).
Actually I don’t like beer very much, but it worked with the sentence so I went with it. Give me a nice drop of red plonk (wine), preferrably a merlot and I’m a happy little vegemite (pleased). And I’m a bit partial to a glass or two of bubbles (champagne). White bubbles not red bubbles (sparkling shiraz). Did myself in (got drunk) on red bubbles one night and haven’t touched them since!
Interestingly, most of us ‘educated’ Australians think that we don’t use slang all that much. Wrong! I realised that it’s just part of our normal every day vocabulary when I started to talk to friends over in the US. Often they would ask me what I meant when I said something which I thought was perfectly clear and not at all ‘Australian’.
My daughter Em (Emily), who lives in Montreal, came up with a funny situation just before Australia Day this year (which is Jan 26 for anyone who is interested). Her french-speaking Canadian friend Tash suggested that they do something for ‘Aussi’ Day. She had left the ‘e’ off Aussie accidently when she was typing. Em, who is learning French saw the connection immediately and asked Tash if she meant ‘Also’ Day (‘aussi’ in French means ‘also’). So, the pair of them celebrated ‘Also Day’ on Jan 26, and Australia Day will be forever known as Also Day at our house in honour of Tash.
It’s not until we talk to others in different countries that we realise that even though we might speak the same language, we all have words that are specific to our own regions. I love discovering new words and their meanings – what about you?
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