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Definitions, please

Old Mar 1st, 2004, 07:41 AM
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Definitions, please

We are going to spend most of April in OZ and are looking forward to our first visit with great anticipation.

But, as with so many other places where so many different terms are used, we are puzzled how some items we see mentioned on this web site are defined.

For example: could you please define the term "milk bar"? This one leaves us scratching our heads. Is it like a delicatessen? What can you buy there? Are they open at night? Do they have toilet facilities for tourists?
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Old Mar 1st, 2004, 10:05 AM
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Originally (1930s-1940s), milk bars were started up as a place for young people to buy non-alcoholic beverages and hang out, with juke boxes, pinball machines, etc. Over time, they were replaced by fast food restaurants, so now they are more like convenience stores.
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Old Mar 1st, 2004, 11:48 AM
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That's funny -- I've never thought of it as being different but we don't really have a common similar thing in the states.

To me, a milk bar definitely has ice cream/milk shake connotations.

Think of a small counter-top diner or soda shop. No wait staff. Kind of like a deli but more hot (fried) fast food. A Snack Bar.

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Old Mar 1st, 2004, 11:50 AM
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A typical milk bar of the time featured a counter and fixed seating (banquette style) down the side. It was usually run by a Greek family who served basic meals like steak n' chips, hamburgers and the like. You can still find these places in country towns, invariably containing a display of heart-endangering deep-fried items. I remember being bemused when on my first visit to NZ a motel owner told us that milk could be bought at a "dairy" down the road. As this was in inner-suburban Christchurch we envisaged a long walk, but soon realised that dairy = milk bar.

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Old Mar 1st, 2004, 01:01 PM
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Milk bar = soda fountain.

Sodas never really caught on in Australia as they did in the US; probably because milk was plentiful and cheap (government-controlled prices), kids in Australia used to sit and sip at a milk shake, preferably a chocolated malted with double ice-cream. That, of course, was in the days before Coca-Cola dispensing machines with those infernal paper cups! The milk shake was served in the same glasses as the American kids used for their sodas.
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Old Mar 1st, 2004, 03:16 PM
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Thank you! We will just have to live dangerously and look into "milk bars" to see what is inside.

Once upon a time in America, now long passed I am afraid, recently arrived Greek families (usually) opened and operated what were known as "candy kitchens." More often than not, grapefruit would be piled in small pyramids in the window, accented by stacks of Heinz ketchup bottles. Inside would be a counter with fixed seating and with booths lining both sides in the rear. Opposite the counter would be glass showcases containing hand-dipped, homemade chocolates and sometimes baked goods. The smell of these places was heavenly. Alas, their sons and daughters seldom wanted to keep the grueling hours and hard work these places demanded. The loss was America's. There is a place in a town in Indiana that has preserved one of these glass-and-marble palaces, one of what were once a common fixture across the country. So sad.
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Old Mar 1st, 2004, 07:50 PM
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Most milk bars (certainly in the capital cities) are now just small owner-operated stores with icecreams, soft drinks, snack foods and milk etc. They do not have toilet facilities. They usually open from around 7am to 9pm - although this can vary widely. Some in country areas would have hot food of the take away variety.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 12:23 AM
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Milk bars in suburban Melbourne have all but disappeared over the years, to be replaced with 24 hour 7/Elevens and Safeways. They were the place we'd go as kids to get milk, bread and, of course, lollies.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 04:53 AM
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See? My point exactly. What are "lollies"? We have lollipops, sort of hard candy on a stick. Same thing?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 07:45 AM
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USNR, from your last post Iget the feeling you are annoyed by the language differences... You should be enjoying it! It is really neat to have so many different words used in the same language alll over the world. Makes it special.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 09:30 AM
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No, quite the opposite. Vive l'difference -- but please do help me understand clearly what others are talking about. As Shaw said, we are two peoples separated by the same language.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 09:43 AM
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USNR, Aussies use the term "lollies" for all candies, whether or not they're perched on sticks.

In casual conversation they sometimes use rhyming slang, like "Brussel Sprouts" instead of "Boy Scouts."

One of the more confusing terms for me when I arrived in Australia was "bench" (in the context of a kitchen). An Australian kitchen bench is the same as a North American kitchen counter. But in every other place I've lived, a bench has been something I've sat on!

An Australian expression that I like (it's used when someone behaves foolishly) is, "He/she has lost the plot." In North America we say, "He/she has lost it," but to my ear it adds panache to include "the plot."

Another expression I like, that's used when a family, a business, a school or other institution is going through or has gone through a period of difficulty or conflict, is "the wobblies." As in, "They've got the wobblies," or, "They're just getting over the wobblies."
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 02:33 PM
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Never heard "Brussels sprouts", Judy - is that a Melbourne thing? Rhyming slang was inherited from the Cockneys of course - possibly the only American example is "blowing a raspberry" (raspberry tart, fart). Yer true rhyming slang usually leaves out the first word, as in "Noah" (Noah's ark), shark. I don't think you'll hear too much of it, though, USNR, and I doubt that you'll hear much of anything that mystifies you. Much of Australia's rich slang vocabulary has to all intents and purposes disappeared. Pity, when you think of such terms as "galah", "nong", "dill" and "drongo" to describe a fool. However, if someone tells you they're "crook" it doesn't imply a criminal disposition, just that they're not feeling well. As in the old Sydney saying "crook as Rookwood" (Rookwood being a very large cemetery). On rare occasions someone might indicate extreme thirst by saying they're "as dry as a Pommy's (Englishman's) bathmat".

If you've spent time in the UK you'll find some of our usages have British roots. We use petrol, not gas; on the other hand we use kerosene, not paraffin. Sidewalks are footpaths. Your car has a bonnet and a boot, not a hood and a trunk, and a windscreen, not a windhsield. As in the UK, the street-level floor is the ground floor and the next one up is the 1st, and so on. We've taken to metric measurements with more enthusiasm than the British, though.

What you might hear is a propensity to abbreviate words as in "barbie" for barbecue. Queenslanders seem very committed to this habit, possibly because the heat saps their energy. After spending a little time in Brisbane (Brissie) I thought that I could be quite happy sitting on the porch of my four beddie (four-bedroom home), eating muddies (mudcrabs) and knocking off a tinnie (can of beer) while I looked out towards South Straddie (South Stradbroke Island). A little further north I saw the memorable roadside sign "Fisho at servo 500m" (fish seller at service station 500 metres up the road).

BTW, the only serious breakdown in communication I experienced in the US was when I asked a waitress for some cutlery rather than silverware.

I'll leave you with my favourite Australian joke. It concerns an old swaggie (swagman, drifter) lost in the Outback and starving, who makes camp at a billabong (water hole). After lighting his fire he turns to his faithful old dog. "Well, Blue," he says, "you've been a good mate to me, but now you're going to have to do one last thing for me. I'm sorry, mate, but I'm gonna have to eat you."
Later, he gazes sadly at the small pile of bones beside the fire.
"Jeez, I wish old Blue was here," he says, "he'd of loved them bones."
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 05:32 PM
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I liked hearing this one, from my friend who lives in the Sydney burbs. "Let's have a sticky beak." By that, she meant, let's have a look.. in a little shop we were passing by.

I need to get out my travel journals from my 5 trips to OZ and find a lot more sayings that were unique.

I also enjoyed sitting around at night, while on a 13 day tour of the outback, tasting a variety of beers, from Red Center to Emu Beer to N.T. Draught, etc. and discussing US/OZ politics. A lively discussion!

USNR, I know you'll have a wonderful time in Australia! The folks are so warm and friendly. You'll never meet a stranger!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 06:37 PM
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Some Australian sayings are of course not suitable for a family board like this one....

Some Australians like to skite (boast) about our beers but IMO most are ordinary lagers not much different to ordinary lagers everywhere. If you want something with more character, try the James Squire range (Amber Ale, porter etc) and Cooper's Sparkling Ale. The latter is brewed in the bottle, as you can see from the yeast residue at the bottom. Some people like to shake the bottle before drinking, which I assume means they suffer from constipation - but it's a good drop. Cooper's also makes a good stout and a brown ale whose name I can't remember.

I think the difference between US and Oz beers (the common ones anyway) is accounted for by the use of malted wheat in addition to barley by American breweries, but I'm open to correction on that one.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 06:56 PM
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Neil, you are on to something. Yes, American beers do use wheat (like the Germans do, too, only they designate such beer as "weizen" (VITE-zen)). Budweiser, the biggest seller in the US and possibly one of the world's most vile concoctions, IMHO, uses rice in its mix of grains. Perhaps it is time that we start a movement that the Brits had a few years ago: a return to real ale. The best hope in sight over here, Neil, is the great emergence of micro-breweries or small, hometown breweries, that have sprung up nationwide. Some of their stuff is simply fabulous, although marketed in very small areas. Too, we have some regional brews that have attracted a national following. Sad to say, their production is microscopic compared to big boys with the bittery, watery, nasty after-tastes and their enormous advertising budgets. I moan every time I see people drinking so-called "lite" beer. As the chemist told the brewer: "I am sorry to report, sir, that your horse has diabetes."
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Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 08:58 PM
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You're right, USNR, a lot of local brews in the States are very good, as is the widely available Samuel Adams Boston Lager, which won first prize at the Australian International Beer Awards a few years ago. Sadly, when people think of US beer Bud is usually what springs to mind. All I can say in Bud's favour is that it improves after half a dozen glasses. But then, any beer does.

Buying draft beer in a pub you may have to deal with expressions such as "middy" (a 10-ounce glass) or "schooner" (15-oz), in New South Wales anyway. It's different elsewhere.

Booze, smokes and petrol are all more heavily taxed and so more expensive here than in the US. On the plus side, the government goes easy on the wine industry. And many restaurants will allow you to bring you own wine at the price of a corkage charge, although this usually doesn't apply to beer, aperitifs, liqueurs or spirits, unless the place is so humble that it doesn't have a liquor licence. Even the much-feted (and wallet-lightening) Tetsuya's will allow you to bring your own wine, but it had better be bloody good, or you'll be sneered at by their sommelier. If you have a thick skin you might get some fun out of bringing a bottle of Orlando Jacob's Creek.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 03:54 AM
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Hi USNR,

Not to throw a curve ball at you but we here in Oz also tend to use the same word but give it different meanings depending on how it is used. A good example is the word "mate". This can be used to mean pretty much anything from "a friendly hello" to " you bast..d".

If someone is keeping watch on the people passing by in the street they are usually referred to as "an Esmay".

Out here in the outback we usually greet people with G'day mate. You probably wont here this in the cities.

If someone is telling porkies then they are lying about something.

Someone how is behaving in a stupid manner is referred to as a Gallah. You may here someone say "check out that Gallah" or another version would be "What a goose".

Anpther little gem is the term "roach coach" meaning a mobile food vendor.

Cheers

Paul_S
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 06:27 AM
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http://www.aussieslang.com/slang/all...lian-slang.asp
This is handy, all of them are there, and many more!!
The only thing is that I'm not sure if these expressions are really used. When I was learning Dutch for example, friends told me: No we don't really use that word, although it is correct, we mostly use this other word.
So... Dictionnaries can lead to confusion sometimes too!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 07:33 AM
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While out to dinner at a pub, my mother-in-law asked the serving staff for another "nappy", after hearing the term somewhere & assuming that it was an abbreviation of "napkin".

My wife and I were in stitches because a "nappy" is a diaper -- what she really wanted was an extra "serviette".

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