Australian media code words

Oct 25th, 2007, 03:46 PM
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Australian media code words

To digress from the nitty-gritty of travel advice for a moment ... I just read that a man found hiding in a classroom at a Melbourne girls' school is now "assisting police with their enquiries."

"Assisting police with their enquiries" is of course standard Australian media code for "collared but not yet charged".

Other hallowed code phrases are

"Tired and emotional" (usually as applied to politicians). Translation: pissed as a newt.

"Colourful Sydney racing identity". Translation: vicious criminal, only walking the streets because of corrupt police.

"Long time companion". Translation, homosexual partner.

Can you think of any I've missed?

Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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Perhaps not quite what you are after, but topical nonetheless -

"Core promises" = some likelihood of being honoured, but only if there is a likely political advantage ; "Non core promises" = core promises made to get elected and which there was never any intention of honouring. Both terms now in general use, the latter a media reaction to the use of the former by a politician who just happens to be nicknamed "Honest John" by his supporters and detractors alike.

"Long, frank and meaningful discussions" - media adviser's spin for political master on return empty handed from expensive overseas junket.

farrermog is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 06:28 PM
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Good contributions, farrermog. Yes, who could forget the concept of a non-core promise?

Another pioneering concept from Honest John: the "aspirational target".

"Long, frank and meaningful discussions" - that one would have been given a serious workout after the APEC leaders' forum.

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Oct 25th, 2007, 07:34 PM
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How about, "retiring due to family commitments"... Translation: needs to go to drug rehab or suffering depression (none of which is amusing, but fits the bill of code phrases)
mel1 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 08:01 PM
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Yeah, or "pursuing other opportunities".

And how about some words or sayings commonly used in Australia which might be so called false friends or traps for visitors or capable of being misinterpreted when used by Australians overseas - after a long Greyhound bus trip in the US I can still see the look on a bloke's face when I told him I was buggered. (And it's not as if bus terminals are the most salubrious joints in town either.)
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Oct 25th, 2007, 08:54 PM
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In the UK when the sports press reports that the chairman of a football club has given the manager a 'vote of confidence', it means the manager will be looking for a new job in a week or two

Geordie
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Oct 25th, 2007, 09:52 PM
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dear neil, wait am i living in canada or australia. your euphemisms are the same as ours!!
hope you and robyn have been well . sorry to have been out of touch. please give me a shout

[email protected]

cheers
andrew
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Oct 26th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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Yep, some of these are common currency amongst the English speaking nations.

But it's not the media we should be lambasting it's the pollies and pretty much every corporate climber.

Weasel words - mission statement; engagement; escalate; issue; tasked; - oh, the list is endless, and I find myself fighting them daily.

I struggle not to use them.

They are insidious - maybe some are useful, but it seems to me that day by day the language becomes poorer, and meaning degenerates.

I found myself using the phrase "sound and fury" today - I looked it up: thought it was from "The Tempest", but, no, it's "Macbeth".

Here is it:

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Isn't that just wondeful?

Cheers.
chimani is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 05:53 PM
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Chimani - it is indeed. And what a coincidence - just this week I (a non teacher) posted (someone else's) teaching notes to new teacher starting on Macbeth.

Have you seen Don Watson's weaselwords website, or his Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Cliches, Cant & Management Jargon, and his Death Sentences?. Our American friends may be interested in his Democracy in America, an account of his 2005 travels in the US, or his intro to The Wayward Tourist: Mark Twain's Adventures in Australia.
farrermog is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 05:58 PM
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Andrew, you're a mind-reader - I'd just been thinking that I'd been remiss in my correspondence. Stand by!

chimani, that's one of my favourite Shakespeare passages - wonderfully bleak and despairing, almost makes you want to go off and slash your wrists, doesn't it?

I agree that the language used across the English speaking world contains vastly more similarities than differences when it comes to sayings, figures of speech etc. I think humans are programmed to focus on differences, which leads us to exaggerate them.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 06:29 PM
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Not "code words" but I got one of my "loathe listers ("going forward") " and a new one in the same sentence this week:

I had a "bright young thing" complaining to me that his company "couldn't get any traction" with ours. "We're quoting & quoting but just can't get traction ... can you help with this going forward?".

I didn't recommend he buy new tyres. Honest. But gawd, it took every ounce of discipline I had
Bokhara2 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 06:35 PM
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Have you seen the "bingo" board with lots of annoying business euphemisms? You know the type, "think outside the box" "take it to the next level" and so on. The bingo board has all those sayings on it ...try playing it during your next mind-numbing meeting, it will keep you amused.
Toucan2 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 10:48 PM
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'The bottom line is'.... I'm right and I don't care about anyone elses point of view.
skittle is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 03:34 PM
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"according to well informed sources" means "Some drunken politician spilled his guts and told the journalist everything...."
Mitch04 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 04:14 PM
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I start counting the days to resignation/sacking when a Prime Minister/Premier/CEO states that someone "has my total confidence and complete support".
For Loathsome List can we add in "Forward Planning"? I always think it has to be more effective than the alternative - that would be "Backward Planning" perhaps?
theshippingoffice is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 10:50 PM
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Slightly off topic but I love this one and thought I'd share it. Since "The Most Powerful Man In Australia" decided to take us back to the 1950's and introduce a citizenship test a few bogus tests have sprung up. This one is a classic: http://www.jokes.org.au/australian-citizenship-test/
Cheers, Pumblechook
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Nov 12th, 2007, 11:40 PM
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Pretty funny Pumblechook, but this yank is going to need some help.

4. Explain the following passage:

"In the arvo last Chrissy the relos rocked up for a barbie, some bevvies and a few snags. After a bit of a Bex and a lie down we opened the pressies, scoffed all the chockies, bickies and lollies. Then we drained a few tinnies and Mum did her block after Dad and Steve had a barney and a bit of biffo."
________

In the ? last Christmas, the relatives turned up for a barbeque some drinks and a few snacks(?). After a bit of a ? and a nap we opened presents, ate all the chocolates, biscuits (cookies) and candies. Then we drained a few beers and Mum did her ? after Dad and Steve had a fight? and a bit of ?

How'd I do?

And what does Pumblechook mean... (something to do with chicken?)
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 13th, 2007, 12:56 AM
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Pretty good effort, MelnQ8, a very creditable A-. Here's my attempt:

"In the arvo last Chrissy the relos rocked up for a barbie, some bevvies and a few snags."

- In the afternoon last Christmas the relatives turned up for a barbecue, some beers and a few sausages.

"After a bit of a Bex and a lie down..."

- A nap. Taken from an old advertising pitch for Bex, an analgesic powder, recommending "a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down".

"...we opened the pressies, scoffed all the chockies, bickies and lollies. Then we drained a few tinnies and Mum did her block after Dad and Steve had a barney and a bit of biffo."

- ...we opened the presents, ate all the chocolates, biscuits (cookies) and sweets (candy). Then we drank a few cans of beer and Mum freaked out after Dad and Steve had an argument and a bit of a fight."

At the risk of blowing Pumblechook's cover ... Mr Pumblechook is a character in Dickens' "Great Expectations". He's the uncle of kindly Joe Gargery, who is Pip's grown-up sister's husband.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 13th, 2007, 02:47 AM
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Thanks Neil - I never would've guessed arvo meant afternoon or snags meant sausages.

And Bex - I was going to guess that was a brand of crackers, but I've no idea why.

Guess I need another trip down under to bone up on my Aussiespeak!
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 13th, 2007, 01:30 PM
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MelnQ8, I think Queensland might be the best place for those Australian verbal diminutives (or whatever they're called).

After only one day in Brisbane I learnt from a real estate agent that if I bought a bayside house I could soon be sitting outside my very own four-beddie, sucking on a stubbie of Fourex after firing up the barbie, looking across the bay at South Straddie and boiling some nice big muddies which I'd bought at the fisho up the road near the servo. Might even make some prawn sangers. It doesn't get any better than that.

(In order: four-bedroom home; short-necked 375ml bottle of beer; a popular brand of beer that tastes exactly like every other popular brand of beer in the country; barbecue; South Stradbroke Island; mudcrabs; fish shop; service station; sandwich.)

Don't worry too much about it, though. You won't be bombarded with this stuff to that extent.)
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