I read Cloudstreet by Tim Winton: it was on my 'essential Aussie read' list. It's a good book that offers a brilliant insight into what it's like to be Australian, but if you're a newbie here you'll need an dictionary to hand. A new word to me – chiack (to jeer or trick) – cropped up a lot. I've no idea how to pronounce it so it doesn't sound like a bird call. In any case, I'm reticent to use new words. The nuances of language come with time, and I'd rather sound terribly English than someone desperate to be fluent in Strine.
I'm still struggling with gouge and rort and stoush and spruik (see It's only words, December 2011). Now there are new words, phrases, pronunciation and uses of Australian English to acquire.
back-blocks = remote country out west (where are back-blocks in
relation to Perth?)
bloomist = florist
dud (verb) = to swindle
firies = firefighters
furphy = rumour, fanciful tale
French press = coffee plunger = cafetière
lure pronounced as if it was spelt loo-ah
medal (verb) = to win a medal (at the Limpics)
open slather = freedom to operate without constraint
permeate = by-product of separating cream from milk that has
previously been added to milk but no longer is, so milk is
advertised as permeate free or, most recently, 'naturally permeate
free'. (I suspect most people didn't know they wanted permeate-
free milk until the bottle told them so.)
realty = real estate (yet another Americanism)
as popular as a snake in a sleeping bag
protest the logging (or whatever). In this sense, protest is an
intransitive verb, which means it doesn't take an object. You
protest about something, but not in Australia.
Food opens up a whole new experience here. I am trying to get to grips with the concept of yoghurt cheese... with fennel. I think I must have led a sheltered life. I thought Quark was an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter until I went to Brisbane's Delectable Festival.
And, in support of my long campaign against the bastardization of apostrophes...
This post was last edited on 29 September 2012