Notices

Definitions, please

Old Mar 11th, 2004, 04:28 PM
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Hi USNR - here's another one - when Australians say something is "quite nice" they mean its just OK or passable. Which is strange because when we say "quite revolting" we mean the same as you. Before I realised that the opposite applies with American English I was quite offended when an American told me my house was "quite nice".
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Old Mar 11th, 2004, 04:42 PM
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Thanks to all for your help and insights. I will write down verbal oddities as we travel throughout Oz. Upon our return, I will visit you again, asking for comments and further definitions. This trip is going to be such fun, both for me and for my wife! Ah, the wonders of spoken English, with all its variations, nuances, and quirks!
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 12:24 AM
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USNR, I hope you and Ms USNR have a great trip. If you'd like an insight into the linguistic confusion created by an Australian company outsourcing its call centre work to India, send me your email address (mine is above) and I'll mail you an MP3 file which, given your interest in the vagaries of the English language, I'm pretty sure you'll love. I just got it from a relative in Quebec (well, where else?).
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 07:42 PM
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Perhaps someone would like to comment on the specific pleasures of that oft recommended travel destination: Woop Woop

AndrewDavid
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 08:33 PM
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Hi Andrew,

I have been to woop woop, you take the turn off to the boonies.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 08:47 PM
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There's a wonderful column, from Richard Glover, in today's Sydney Morning Herald, on the tendency of Australians to understate:

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/...594563816.html
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 10:56 PM
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I cracked up laughing when I saw Andrew David mention of Woop Woop.

My husband (American) asked me once where Woop Woop was. I said it didn't exist and he was adamant that it did. He had read about the place in the newspaper. Anyway he dragged all the recycling out reading about a weeks worth of news before he located the article. Pointing at it he said "look here, it says Woop Woop" It must be near Wagga Wagga! lol I cried laughing.

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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 11:13 PM
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Hi DropBear,

Your hubby might be right, I swear the person who named the towns around that district was a stutterer. Just out of Wagga Wagga is the town of Gumly Gumly. i was stationed at the airforce base near there at Forest Hill.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 11:54 PM
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The last luagh is on me because he now knows more about Australia than I do.

But yes, if it were anywhere I imagine it would be near Wagga Wagga.

He also asked once if drop bears were found mainly in the city. Never have been able to ascertain if the question was for real!
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Old Mar 13th, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Can someone help me with the coffee vernacular? I know coffee with cream is
"flat white," so I assume coffee w/o sugar is just ordered as "flat." But what is coffee with cream and sugar called?
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Old Mar 13th, 2004, 07:13 PM
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>>>>>>I know coffee with cream is "flat white," so I assume coffee w/o sugar is just ordered as "flat." But what is coffee with cream and sugar called?<<<<<<

As far as I know, the FLAT in "flat white" refers to the fact that there is no froth in the milk that has been added to the coffee. This is in contrast to a "caffé latte" or simply "latte" in which milk froth is scooped onto the top of the drink.

As far as I know, neither a flat white nor a latte comes with sugar in it. My understanding is that it's up to the person drinking the coffee to add sugar if he/she wishes.

Here are some coffee recipes from an Australian website:

http://www.coffeezone.com.au/zone_cat.asp?Key=11
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Old Mar 13th, 2004, 07:51 PM
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Regardless of whether you order tea or coffee in Australia you would normally ask for the colour plus the number of teaspoons of sugar ie

Coffee/Tea with cream and 2 teaspoons of sugar would be ordered as Coffee/Tea, white and two.

or Coffee/Tea with no cream and no sugar would be ordered as Coffee/Tea black and none.

other combinations would be white and none, white and one, black and one, etc.

Flat does refer to whether there is froth on top of the coffee as in a cupaccino.

Also our bacon is what Americans call Canadian bacon ie it has a big section of meat at one end like a chop shape not just a thin rasher like is served in most breakfast restaurants in the USA.
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Old Mar 13th, 2004, 08:23 PM
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I've enjoyed reading this thread!

On my first trip to OZ, while making a purchase a very friendly store clerk asked if the item I'd selected was a "gift for Chrissy". I gave her a blank look and wondered "who on earth is Chrissy?"

Perhaps one of the Aussies or Kiwis can clear this one up for me: Is the expression "box of birds" still used? I've also heard "box of budgies", which I assume has the same meaning.

For USNR - I found a web site that you might find interesting (I did). It explains some of the words and expressions used in OZ, NZ and England.

http://www.chemistry.co.nz/kiwi.htm#ads
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Old Mar 13th, 2004, 09:23 PM
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Melnq8, for the benefit of other forum members who have not yet experienced Aussies' propensity for abbreviating everything, Chrissy is Christmas. (At least I assume that was the context of the clerk's question about your purchase.)

Airsick, another one to look out for is a store clerk asking you if you're all right. It means, "Have you been served?"

When I was new to Melbourne, a store clerk asked me if I was all right, and I replied that I was fine thank you. Then, after I'd stood there for quite a while, I started wondering when someone might help me.

It was only when the clerk returned and asked, "Are you sure you're all right?" that I started to suspect we were talking different languages.
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Old Mar 14th, 2004, 03:19 PM
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melnq8

Yes a box of birds or a box of budgies is still used in NZ. A box of fluffies is also used ( a variation on the "fluffy ducks" earlier in the thread).

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Old Mar 14th, 2004, 04:12 PM
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- I haven't heard that expression in Oz for a long time - many, many years ago there was a local cakeshop which called itself "Box o' Birds". According to Penguin Book of Australian Slang it means "pertaining to happiness, elation, good spirits".
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Old Mar 14th, 2004, 10:42 PM
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Thanks for answering that one. Much to my amusement my husband actually used the expression "box of birds" on a recent trip to NZ. Somehow it just didn't sound right coming from a Yank.

Reminded me of the first time a British friend said "freaked out". It just sounded odd with her regal British accent.

I guess she's picked up some of my Amerispeak and I her Britspeak. I use the words "lovely" and "brilliant" a lot more than I used to and just the other day I caught myself actually saying "had a wobbley".
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Old Mar 14th, 2004, 11:28 PM
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A quick poll of my few remaining friends revealed that nobody had ever heard the expression "a box of birds". Maybe we've all led a sheltered life, but I'd caution against using the phrase, as you'll probably get sent to the nearest pet shop.

Coffee: it's up to you to add your own sugar, if you want it. A request for "cream" would result in full-fat cream - there's no "half 'n half" in Australia, so your main options are full-fat or skim milk. Espresso machines are near-ubiquitous - any place serving filtered coffee is not serious and should be vacated immediately. The common variations are espresso (strong, black, small cup), black (not so strong, large cup), flat white (black with added milk, but you can ask for your milk to be served on the side, hot or cold), latte (milk froth added), cappuccino (large cup, large dollop of froth), 'muggaccino' (a big "cap"). With any luck you could also ask for a ristretto or macchiato without causing undue alarm.

In Australia "clerk" describes an office pen-pusher, not a department store attendant (shop assistant) or hotel front desk attendant (hotel receptionist).

Lastly - it's well known that Woop Woop (the 'oo' is pronounced like the 'u' in 'full') is just down the road from Goonoo Goonoo (pron. 'gunna g'noo'). If it's not there it's 'back o'Bourke', which is a place almost everyone agrees you wouldn't want to be.

Before you Americans start laughing, just remember that you've got a Walla Walla.
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Old Mar 14th, 2004, 11:30 PM
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In Oz, we're likely to "chuck a wobbly"!
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Old Mar 14th, 2004, 11:47 PM
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We have fogotten the obvious in regard to American contributors anyway.

When you are here don't be alarmed if you are called a "seppo". It is rhyming slang for septic tank/yank. We shorten the septic to seppo (as we do) but usually it used with affection. The tone will warn you if it is used with contempt.

If you do hear it please don't "spit the dummy" and "do a bolt". Stand firm and say "don't come the raw prawn with me"

or even simpler just say "bugger off"
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