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Definitions, please

Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 12:03 PM
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"Porkie" (pork pie) is another exmaple of rhyming slang but probably of English origin (cold pork pies are no more an Australian institution than warm beer).

Some terms are so obscure that few Australians will have heard of them. For example, "esmay"....? I must have led a sheltered life, Paul_S, but I've never come across that one. I'd like to think that bizarre expressions like "don't come the raw prawn with ME, mate!" are still part of the language, but they're slowly but surely passing away.

As scurry's mother-in-law found, a little learning can be a dangerous thing.




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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 01:21 PM
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Okay, Aussie Fodorites, you haven't mentioned FURPHY yet. It's a tall tale, a false rumour, I guess what we in North America (and perhaps others too) have come to call an urban legend.

The term apparently originated during World War I. The Australian army purchased galvanized iron water-carts from the firm of J. Furphy & Sons. These water-carts, with FURPHY stenciled on their sides, were wheeled from camp to camp throughout the Australian army, particularly camps located in Egypt and what was then Palestine. Supposedly the water-cart drivers were sources of news, gossip and rumour, and soldiers used to gather around the water-carts to get the latest scoop. It was Australian soldiers who first used the expression, "a furphy," but the term made its way into the general population.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 03:51 PM
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It is a pity that we cannot use quote replies in this forum it would make life a lot easier.

Anyway Neil to be an Esmay is quite a common term used it stems from the show A Country Practice in which the old busy body, Esmay Watson, watched all the goings on. It just became accepted as normal terminology for that sort of behaviour.

Maybe these terminologies are disappearing in the cities but they are alive and well out here in the sticks. Things don't change much out here the great ozzie ocker is alive and well much to a lot of peoples dismay.

Cheers

Paul_S

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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 04:13 PM
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Paul_S: what is an "ocker"?
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 06:50 PM
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I'm sure this wasn't quite what Paul had in mind, but the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary defines "ocker" as follows:

"-n. a boorish or aggressive Australian (esp. as a stereotype).
-adj. characterised by a discernible vulgarity .... [20th c: origin uncert.]"

I once knew a guy who could throw off thoughtful observations like "Look at that bloody dill-brain, dressed up like a pox doctor's clerk. Thinks he's as flash as a rat with a gold tooth, but the dopey bugger wouldn't know if a Bondi tram was up him until the bell rang!" He was a bookie's son - I think the racetrack environment helped to preserve some colourful argot.

Sydney's long-dead tram services also gave rise to the saying "to shoot through like a Bondi tram" (i.e., make a very rapid departure). Melbourne had more sense and kept its trams.

In a pub an Australian will say "it's my shout" rather than "my round". Presumably this originated in pubs where it was necessary to shout to get the barmaid's attention. It's a cardinal sin to allow others to buy a round of drinks that includes you and not reciprocate. If you do that you'll be accused of having short arms and long pockets.

It's interesting that Americans sometimes still refer to a cent as a "penny", but the word dropped out of use immediately Australia converted to decimal currency in 1966. Of course, we no longer have 1- or 2-cent coins, or $1 notes for that matter.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 09:18 PM
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Fascinating, we all speak "English" but how varied it is. Rhyming slang is of Cockney origin (within earshot of Bow Bells, London) and includes "porkies" (pork pies) = lies, "apples" (apples & pears) = stairs, and literally thousands of others. Nappy IS short for napkin, and yes it does mean what USA calls a diaper. What USA calls a napkin is a serviette in Oz (although to be exact a serviette refers to the paper imitation while napkin is used for the real cloth one). Others are lollies = candies, jam = jelly, biscuit = cookie, shopping = marketing. It's not that the terms candy, jelly, cookie or marketing are NOT used in Oz, but they have different meanings there.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 09:48 PM
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And jelly = Jell-O, scone = biscuit. But there are plenty of "cookies" on sale on Oz supermarket shelves all the same.

It's been years since I darkened the doors of a McDonalds - does anyone know who won the "fries" vs. "chips" war? And why do they sell "quarter-pounders" when we went metric years ago? OK, it does sound more impressive than a pathetic 113 grams.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 11:17 PM
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here's a few more - breakfast or BBQ sausages (snags) are what Americans call "link" sausages, not sausage meat patties; our bacon has more meat and is like what Americans refer to as "Canadian" bacon; bell peppers are capsicums here; canteloup is rockmelon. Bacon and eggs in Australia is usually fried or grilled bacon with two fried eggs (sunny side up) with fried or grilled tomato and maybe mushrooms. We usually pronounce the "h" in "herbs" - and yes, you do eat the seeds in passionfruit!
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Old Mar 4th, 2004, 02:42 AM
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Hi USNR,

Well the closest thing to an ocker would in America would be the redneck.

Neil, since the price of beer has gone up so much you don't see too many shouts in bars these days, in fact I know a lot of guys who wouldn't shout if a shark bit them.

Cheers

Paul_S
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Old Mar 4th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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I like that one, Paul.

Another difference in terminology - an Australian who's pissed is drunk, not angry or disgusted (which is "pissed off").

There was a nice example of deadpan Australian humour in "The Odd Angry Shot", a Vietnam War movie. From memory a scared soldier, wounded in a firefight, is waiting for the medics' attention and apprehensively says to his sergeant "They won't cut me leg off, will they, Sarge?"

"As long as they're not pissed, they won't, son," replies the sergeant philosophically.
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Old Mar 9th, 2004, 10:09 PM
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Of course there's the quote from Dave Letterman's Top 10 Greetings from around the world - "Toss another dwarf on the barbie!".

As for quarter pounders - we all know from the movie Pulp Fiction, it's either that or "Royale with Cheese".

I heard an interview with a New Zealander (mayor of Napier?) on the CBC where he used the expression "everything's fluffy ducks!" which does sound interesting in a non-family sort of way, but allegedly means everything's just great. Unfortunately, we asked someone we knew in NZ and he'd never heard the expression.

I have photographic proof of an Australian "trolley bay". It's where you park your shopping cart in the parking lot.
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Old Mar 9th, 2004, 10:50 PM
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Well, I've got photographic proof of a NZ "trundler park"! This is a beautifully descriptive term and beats "trolley" IMO.

It's often the little subtleties of language that trip us up, isn't it? I remember reading a page-turner written by an American author who had one of his English characters saying "Are you all right, bloke?" Perfectly reasonable if you assume that "bloke" is a precise equivalent to "guy" in all contexts. Not so, unfortunately.

MD, when I saw "Pulp Fiction" I was paying attention to Uma Thurman, not the burgers, so I'll have to take your word on that one.

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Old Mar 10th, 2004, 03:05 AM
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Some common things

Seven Up = Lemonade
Lemonade = Lemon Squash
Cilantro - Coriander
Squash = pumpkin (as in butternut etc)
Cart at supermarket = trolley
Biscuits - we don't really have them but a plain scone is the closest.
Mom = Mum maybe too obvious lol


Also please note we do the date thing the other way around.

eg

5th June 2004 in the US is 6/5/2004, here it is 05/06/204. So speaking we say 5th June whereas Americans say June 5th.

Hope you have fun on your holiday. (holiday = vacation)


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Old Mar 10th, 2004, 03:11 AM
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Also seeing you are in Austtralia in April please check out Anzac Day activities even if you are not into war things. It starts at about 4.00am in the morning with a dawn service in just about any town and if you are not moved by the service you are not human. Then in towns you go the the club and have breakfast and play two-up. (A gambling game only legal one day of the year) If you are in Sydney downtown there is a big parade of war veterans then maybe pop into a bar with lots of old soldiers.. There is a club on Barrack Street. Usually some bands from the parade come in and entertain.

It captures an Austtralian spirit that you either appreciate or not but at least you get to witness Australian emotion.
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Old Mar 10th, 2004, 04:46 AM
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We regret to say our tickets force us to return to the States just before Anzac Day.

A few years ago, while in Turkey, we stopped at Anzac Cove and its cemetery on Anzac Day. A small group of Australians were there. Yes, you are quite right. There is a wistful, prideful spirit about their presence on marking a brave defeat. The Turks have put up a large monument, inscribed in both Turkish and English, with a long inscription saying that they, the Turks, will take care of these remains and that families back in Australia should rest assured. Very sad. Yet very hopeful.
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Old Mar 10th, 2004, 09:17 AM
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I might have mentioned once before that the only monument to a foreign entity along Canberra's Anzac Parade is one in honour of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. This was a quid pro quo for the Turks naming the landing site Anzac Cove.

There is a large NZ monument, or rather pair of monuments, but although New Zealand is a foreign country, I think most Australians would find it a bit odd describing Kiwis as "foreigners", and it's 'ANZAC' Parade after all. IMO the differences between Australians and New Zealanders are no greater than those between residents of (say) Vermont and Georgia.



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Old Mar 10th, 2004, 07:41 PM
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Just to add to the thread.

There is one saying in New Zealand which appears to be opposite to the meaning in the US. Lucked out. I've heard Americans say this and mean that someone has had good luck. In NZ if you luck out you do just that you are out of luck, usually in a big way.

As to the ANZAC theme one of New Zealand's most important war memorials is at a place called Chunuk Bair which is at the highest point of the Gallipoli Peninsula overlooking the straights of the Dardinelles. It is all of fifty feet from a statue of Kemal Ataturk. It symbolises a defeat yes but in conjunction with the memorial at Lone Pine, which Neil_Oz would certainly know a lot about, the three memorials can also be seen as the basis for three countries finally identifying who they were.

As far as New Zealanders and Aussies and the difference between us, it has been said that Australians mangle their vowels while New Zealanders merely swallow them.

Just ask a Kiwi and an Aussie to say the following and you will see the difference straight away - Dance, Chance, Milk and the old favorite Fish & Chips.

(I will not go near the jokes that arise from Sheep and the pronounciation of my hometown, Whakatane)

Cheers and laughs

Steve
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Old Mar 10th, 2004, 08:03 PM
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No, "lucked out" doesn't have a positive connotation in Oz either. One US usage that could puzzle outsiders is that "I could care less" means exactly the same as "I couldn't care less."

Steve's accent summary is fair enough, or in Kiwi 'fear enough' (sorry, the Devil made me do that). Of course, it depends what one compares oneself to. For a long time a lot of Australians felt that their accent somehow wasn't quite legitimate, the "correct" model being BBC-English, and newsreaders used a quasi-BBC accent. We seem to have got over that, along with some other aspects of the national inferiority complex.

Steve, I might be showing my age here, but when I first visited NZ in the early '70s I wasn't conscious of too great a difference in vowel sounds, but when I returned many years later it seemed quite marked, especially among younger people. I think I read somewhere that there really had been a change in the last few decades, but nobody knows why.
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Old Mar 11th, 2004, 05:01 AM
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Sometime in the fairly recent past, a piece of spoken punctuation has crept into American English. I refer to the use of "you know" or "y'know" -- a sort of spoken comma or dash. It fills space. It shows that the speaker is careless or ignorant or merely biding his/her time until a thought invades his/her brain. Very annoying. Most common among athletes being interviewed for TV. Sort of like letting your motor/mouth run idle while waiting at the curb. Has the Australian vernacular been invaded by this rhetorical virus?
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Old Mar 11th, 2004, 12:24 PM
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USNR, would that be "y'know" as in "well, y'know, I mean...."? Sorry - you can run, but you can't hide. Hollywood got here ahead of you
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