Monday, 16 April 2007

Aussie slang

The other day I got an answer to a comment I left on Brad's blog who lives in U.S.A. So I thought I would write about some of our Aussie colloquialisms that might show up which other people can't understand. I think you might find some of them funny if you haven't heard them before. Aussies use a heap of them in every day language without ever thinking about them.
Dunny. Is a toilet, I think it came from the days before toilets were sewered in the country and were an out house in the back yard which consisted of a tin with a toilet seat which was emptied by a man coming to your house and swapping them over. He would hoist the full pan up onto his shoulder and leave a clean one for you. Outside dunnies were notorious for bugs, spiders and smells. They could be made from just about anything in the outback from canvas that flapped in the wind to tin or wood with very creative methods. My dear Aunty Marion's dunny was down in her chook yard and I was scared to go out there when I was a little child because the rooster would chase me and scratch my legs. I also remember one at the R.A.A.F. base golf club in Darwin when I was about 9 yrs old that was beside the runway and if a plane went past the canvas sides flapped and it felt like the whole structure would take off with the plane. I went to a bush woodworking day 2 yrs ago, near here, on a small farm and there was an American lady there whose face belied her feelings about using their outback dunny which was a long drop set up, full of spider webs. Very funny. Oh, a long drop is a pan set up above a deep hole dug in the ground. One thing in favor of the outback dunny, they were much more water saving than todays flushing toilets. Notice I didn't say environmentally friendly. Phew. There is a famous song about the outback dunny sung by Slim Dusty. "Red Back on the Toilet seat" A red back is closely related to the black widow spider in U.S.A. except it has a red stripe down its back. I'm sure it would be found on the web somewhere.
Colloquialisms for females.
Sheila, Bird, old chook, missus (wife), chick, old duck, other half, better half,
Males; Bloke, fella, dude, wanker, better stop there, there are lots of rude ones too.
We also use some rhyming slang that came from the cockneys in england. e.g tin lid is kid or a child. China plate; mate. Etc. Also in this category are made up place names , fictional ones that pop up in yarns. (stories). Like wheelabarraback or kickatinalong or chuckatinnydown. (barra is wheelbarrow, tinny is a can of beer, chuck can mean like tipping your head back and drinking quickly) But tinny can also mean a small tin boat, Barra is short for barramundi a great eating fish and chuck can also be to vomit or throw something as in not bowling a ball properly in a cricket match. But not in the place name context. Is everyone completely confused yet?
Good isn't it?
We also like to shorten names, e.g. like Linda can be Lin, Lindy, Lindy Loo, Linny. At work I get called Linda May because there is another Linda and they reckoned it sounded better than the fat Linda. ( They go crook on me when I say things like that.) Going crook means telling someone off or chastising them. Place names like Brisbane is shortened to Brissy, double names are common too like in this area there is Wagga Wagga, Book Book, Gumly Gumly, Mitta Mitta, Grong Grong, Walla Walla. My kids had a cassette when they were little with a song on it called Captain Sturt who was an early explorer in this area. The first verse it said "Captain Sturt had a stutter so he named the towns all wrong he called Gumly , Gumly Gumly He called Grong ,Grong Grong, etc it was quite well done.
Animal names get shortened and changed too. Kangaroo is Roo, Cockatoo is Cocky, Snake is Joe Blake or a wiggly stick, just to name a few. Cocky can also be used to refer to a farmer. We have black,rose, pink and white cockatoos, the birds that is. A cockatoo can also be used for a person who is a lookout. Cockies, the birds, set a look out to warn the rest of the flock of danger while they are feeding. Animals can also be used as names for people who have characteristics like a particular animal. E.g. A magpie is a bird known to collect all sorts of strange things. So a magpie is a person who collects things. I will write about Magpies another time . They are worth a entry by themselves as they are very smart, funny birds and real characters.
I often refer to someone as a dag. When I say that I mean it affectionately but the meaning of the word does not sound like that. A dag is a bit of poo that hangs off an animals bum. When you call someone a dag it means an uncool person, like someone who is a bit clumsy or says dumb things all the time, but its kind of meant affectionately as it means that person is acting as themselves and does not feel like they have to act cool and can just be themselves. I'm pleased to say I'm a dag. You might call someone a dag when they have done or said something dumb but funny. I don't think its used like that anywhere else.
O.K. I could go on here all night and still not be finished so I had better stop there. These are just some of the things I use myself in everyday language. Any questions please ask. I will try to explain. Bye Love Linda.


Brad said...

Good lesson in colloquialisms.
The English guy Dick King-Smith that wrote Babe the Pig and other great children's stories used "dag" as an expression for a runt or gimpy pig, in his book Pigs might Fly, where the protagonist was called Daggy Dagfoot. So the English probably just use the word a bit differently.

HannahP945 said...

i live in Wagga Wagga :D