Woody, official 'utlh and all-round good bastard (ubykhlives) wrote in linguaphiles,
Woody, official 'utlh and all-round good bastard

AmE "dude" = AusE "old mate"?

In response to avva's post about the word "dude" as a general place-filler, I've realised that colloquial Australian English seems to have a current synonym: the phrase "old mate". It behaves very much the same way, i.e. without the article, as in "I saw old mate running down the street." It can serve as a modifier to a noun, too ("I saw old mate the plumber at the house yesterday"), but I think that usage is less common. Like "dude", I get the impression that "old mate" varies between being general and being borderline deprecatory according to context. In addition, "old mate" in this function is a single phonological word, stressed on "old" (rather like "housemate" or "checkmate").

A quick Google search shows a press citation:

“I saw old mate fighting, we crossed the road ... next thing (Mr Mill) was on the ground.” (Sunshine Coast Daily, 25-06-2008)

and more interestingly, most of the Google hits seem to show sites from Queensland. My question is: speakers of Australian English, do you recognise the phrase "old mate" used in this way, do you use it yourself, and which state are you from? Is this a Queensland regionalism? And speakers of other English varieties: have you ever heard "old mate" used in your English?

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