Living & Dying In 5/4 Time (waitingman) wrote in linguaphiles,
Living & Dying In 5/4 Time

The Australian Vernacular... Mate

Here's an article about Australian slang words, tacked onto a story about an ex-pat USA citizen grappling with what looks & sounds to be the base 'ocker' accent - the one we really wish people wouldn't try to imitate, as listening to the kind of Australians who genuinely have that accent is painful enough for the rest of us. Hello to any Queenslanders reading this... Yes, I mean YOU!!

The top 5:

1. Thongs
This one really baffles visitors, especially those from the United States. In the USA, a thong is a piece of underwear. In Australia, it’s what the USA calls flip-flops. Sometimes we also call them 'double-pluggers'. If we break our thongs you may hear one of us exclaim that “I’ve just had a blowout in my double-pluggers”.

2. Barbie
It’s not a plastic doll. Down Under a 'barbie' is short for barbecue. There is actually a whole range of confusing terms you may encounter at an Australian barbecue. An 'avo' is an avocado, a 'chook' is a chicken, an 'Esky' is a portable cooler, 'snags' are sausages, 'sunnies' are sunglasses and a 'tinnie' is a can of beer.

** WaitingMan's Note: Confusingly, 'tinnie' is also a name for a small 1-3 man fishing boat, so called as they're made from galvanised steel. It's a common sight on Australian rivers & lakes, to see someone piloting a tinnie rather haphazardly - usually because they've had more than a few tinnies while waiting for the fish to bite... And if you think 'Esky' is a funny name for a cooler (it's actually a trade name, like Kleenex for tissues), the New Zealanders call them 'chilly bins' & when you hear that term pronounced with the NZ accent, I challenge you to keep a straight face... **

And if they say “bring a plate” they don’t mean bring your own empty plate because they don’t have enough crockery. They mean bring a plate of prepared food to share.

3. Cactus
What you think it means? A spiky plant. What it means in Australia? Broken, or not functioning. For example, “I can’t drive us down the coast this weekend, my car is completely cactus.”

4. Shark biscuit
Believe it or not, this is not a type of Animal Cracker cookie. This is someone who is not very good at surfing.

5. Lappy
Not to be confused with an erotic dance, this is what Australians call their laptop computer.

**WaitingMan's Note: Not sure about this one - I haven't heard any of my circle refer to using a 'lappy'. I may, or may not, have actually heard the term used for the erotic dance. From a friend, obviously!!**

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