Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How to speak 'strian....

Apparently 3 months in a new country is not enough to wrap one's head around the slang, figures of speech and outrageously silly terms/phrases used there. Or maybe it's just me. At any rate, I find that I still can't think in Australian. A classic example is the term the locals use to refer to McDonald's... it's plainly "maccas" (pronounced mackers). Now I *know* this, but it still takes me about 3 seconds for my brain to associate"maccas" with the golden arches, Happy Meals, Ronald McDonald etc.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Women are referred to as "sheilas" (or just "chooks"), Indians are called "curries" and for some bizarre reason "arvo" is the substitute for afternoon! If you heard that a coworker has "chucked a sickie", stay calm. She hasn't retched all over the fax machine - she's just called in unwell. The first week in my new house, my flatmate (a 25 yr old guy, I might add) asked me if I'd seen his white thongs; I was nearing the point of freaking out when I recalled that in this country thongs are casual slippers or flip-flops! There's a few cool phrases I've actually come to like and use regularly: I "flick Brian an email" these days instead of simply sending it to him, I smoothly assure my team members that there are "no dramas" with the "doco" (document) I just finished reviewing, and I've taken to answering the phone with "G'day". Hell, I'm not even averse to sprinkling my sentences with "mayte" - something I swore I would not get around to!

And then there's the names. The Australians love their nicknames, that's for sure. Names must be shortened and funked up. Typically, there's a "z" thrown on the end. So Darren is "Daz", Barry is "Baz", Warren is "Waz" or "Wazza", Jeremie is "Jez". If the name's already short, is it beyond tampering? Ummm... not really. Just ask Dick-o, Jack-o and Dan-o. If the first name is too common or dull, there's always the surname.

Some of the Aussie terms have a very effeminate ring, which makes it funny when you have the big macho types using them. A lot of these terms end in "ie". For instance, breakfast is "brekkie", a biscuit is "bikkie", presents = "pressies", tantrum = tantie, slot machines are called "pokies" (from video poker, I guess), sun glasses are "sunnies". Even Christmas isn't spared... down under, it's "Chrissie"! It can all get a bit much at times. Imagine hearing "She didn't get a pressie for Chrissie so she threw a tantie after brekkie... mayte"



~ Ms. Cute Pants ~ said...

Some of these I've heard before, BUT the 'maccas' is a new one. Nice post! Before you know it you'll be back in Bombay & won't be understood. Give it time, it's only been three months!

oook said...

Wait.. you're saying there's "no dramas?!!?" Shocker!

Anyway, what does your name get shortened to, mate? :P

Anonymous said...

have you ever experienced the indian guys at the petrol stations saying in a perfect aussie accent "GDAY HOW YA GOIN MATE?" followed by an Appuesque hyderabadi-paki mix of 'it is a wareh noice day maytie'. I'm Indian and I can barely understand them! I love Sydney! YAYYYYYY!!!!

Dylan said...

Ms CP: I know! I'm hoping that doesn't happen to me. First trip to the US, I came back with a silly yankee twang. Yuck!

Oook: wise guy. and I've got funny-enough nicknames in Bombay, wouldn't you think?

Anonymous: I don't drive, but can totally picture the type! Instead of maytie, they'd probably say "boddy" though.

kaustubh said...

So what do they call yaaa..
Do ya prefer Dyl-O or Da-Z ?

Dylan said...

Some folks have a tough time pronouncing my name, actually. "Dy-lon" is what at least two people call me! Another colleague goes "DyLAN" (the last bit said like a network 'LAN').

But to answer your question - I'm happy without a nickname, thankyouverymuch.