Sunday, March 30, 2014

Australianisms: Episode 3


"Gone walkabout"

Honestly, I hear people say "walkabout" and I know it's an historical Aboriginal reference but I can't help but think of the kid in the movie "Australia" with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.  The kid goes "walkabout" as part of his heritage.  When something disappears in the lab, it goes "walkabout".  I don't hear it much, but I've hear it enough to have it stick in my mind.  "Walkabout" refers to things that seem to disappear forever, not temporarily (like the constant problem of pens going "walkabout" and disappearing into the abyss).

"A rubber"

Rubber ducky, you're the one!   *quack quack*

I think this is another Englishism that has become an Australianism.  A rubber in Australia is an apparatus used to remove pencil marks.  Yet in the States, a rubber is an item used to avoid pregnancy and STDs.  Which becomes quite awkward in the lab when someone asks you for a rubber.

"You want a rubber?"
"Yes, toss it here quick"
"A rubber?  What?
"It's sitting right there, pass it over"
"Oh, an ERASER, made of rubber"
"Yes, a rubber, pass it here" 

I think it may have been more awkward if the individual had been male, but regardless, it caught me off guard and gave us a good laugh.

Then my "host Mom", the lady who lives in the house that I'm staying, asked me for a rubber yesterday.  Yet again, I was caught off guard and confused.  Ah, the little things you encounter while living in another country...

"Rock up"

To rock up is to show up, be present.  I'm really curious as to where this one originated.  Is it a bastardization of "walk up", to rock up?  I can't find any reason why the word "rock" is involved in this saying.  It always makes me think of rock climbing when I hear it.  Definitely haven't heard this one come out of my own mouth...


Not that kind of flash

Another random Australinaisms is "flash", which means high-end/fancy/fantastic.  I often hear "flash" referred to when talking about nice cars, but I've heard it applied to a few non-automotive items as well.  A new stereo, a motorbike, jewelry...  I'm quite sure it's another term that has just been shortened, as in the Australian way.  "Flashy" is now "flash".

Random other things I've discovered/heard/read about (mostly from Buzzfeed Oz):

- In 1975, Australia had a government shutdown, which ended with the Queen firing everyone and the government starting again.

- Despite sharing the same verbal language, Australian, British and American sign language are all completely different languages.  Thank goodness I don't have hearing problems...

- Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backward, one of the reasons that they're on the Australian coat of arms.  In addition, Australia is one of the only countries where they eat the animals on the coat of arms.

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