Aussie English

Embrace or resist?

My children must be seriously confused about their footwear, and probably several other things…

Aussie English

When they head to the beach with me my children hunt out their flip flops. When we get to the beach their Aussie mates tell them to take off their thongs, and my South African husband tells them to put their slops on to head home. That they manage to decipher that we all mean the same thing is a wonder to me and makes be ponder…

How quickly should new arrivals ditch their home naming conventions and get with the Aussie script? How long does a Brit need to be here before being able to call shoes thongs without smirking?

I've been here five months and thongs are still ladies lingerie, but other terms I am gradually adopting. I now say day care instead of nursery, and unit instead of flat. Singlet, the Aussie term for vest, has crept into my vocabulary. When the kids make a cubby I now visualise a playhouse, rather than a small hole in the wall for storing paperwork.

There are certain words that you just have to get right if you want to avoid embarrassment and inconvenience.

A British friend asked several shop assistants in the same store where to look for boys pants and was frustrated to be directed to rails of trousers. Only after she went into more detail about the garment did she learn that the word she had been looking for was undies.

Things can get lost in pronunciation as well. Another friend told a meeting room of colleagues that she was rooting a conference call and it became the Aussie's turn to smirk. Over here you don't pronounce route as you would the roots of a tree, you use what I'd call the American pronunciation [rowt]… that's unless you're about to get lucky in the bedroom, in which case root away.

There are other language subtleties that are less likely to cause embarrassment but will take you time to adjust to. Brand names that you use back home don't work here, and you'll be surprised just how many brand names you use.

Pritt stick, hoover and sellotape are some of the common names I used without thinking…that's glue, a vacuum cleaner and sticky tape over here. Instead you'll come across a Hills Hoist (rotary washing line) and Gladwrap (cling film) – I'm sure there are many more.

So, what am I doing to help my kids through this confusing jungle of terms? Not much… I don't have a strategy on this. It's more likely that I'll adopt the terms the children use, and like any aging dialect my home labels will gradually become extinct.

As I've been making cubbies daily this word has edged its way in. I expect pants and sellotape will trip me up for a little longer before I make the undies and sticky tape switch. Now, if you've found this post based on these keywords alone, I don't want to know what you're up to!

Submitted by Sarah Husselmann, Mum's gone 2 Aus
Mum’s gone 2 Aus is a blog providing help for mums moving to Australia. The aim of the site is to inspire, support, and entertain mums who would like to, or do already, live in Australia.
www.mumsgone2aus.com 

When they head to the beach with me my children hunt out their flip flops. When we get to the beach their Aussie mates tell them to take off their thongs, and my South African husband tells them to put their slops on to head home. That they manage to decipher that we all mean the same thing is a wonder to me and makes be ponder…

How quickly should new arrivals ditch their home naming conventions and get with the Aussie script? How long does a Brit need to be here before being able to call shoes thongs without smirking?

I've been here five months and thongs are still ladies lingerie, but other terms I am gradually adopting. I now say day care instead of nursery, and unit instead of flat. Singlet, the Aussie term for vest, has crept into my vocabulary. When the kids make a cubby I now visualise a playhouse, rather than a small hole in the wall for storing paperwork.

There are certain words that you just have to get right if you want to avoid embarrassment and inconvenience.

A British friend asked several shop assistants in the same store where to look for boys pants and was frustrated to be directed to rails of trousers. Only after she went into more detail about the garment did she learn that the word she had been looking for was undies.

Things can get lost in pronunciation as well. Another friend told a meeting room of colleagues that she was rooting a conference call and it became the Aussie's turn to smirk. Over here you don't pronounce route as you would the roots of a tree, you use what I'd call the American pronunciation [rowt]… that's unless you're about to get lucky in the bedroom, in which case root away.

There are other language subtleties that are less likely to cause embarrassment but will take you time to adjust to. Brand names that you use back home don't work here, and you'll be surprised just how many brand names you use.

Pritt stick, hoover and sellotape are some of the common names I used without thinking…that's glue, a vacuum cleaner and sticky tape over here. Instead you'll come across a Hills Hoist (rotary washing line) and Gladwrap (cling film) – I'm sure there are many more.

So, what am I doing to help my kids through this confusing jungle of terms? Not much… I don't have a strategy on this. It's more likely that I'll adopt the terms the children use, and like any aging dialect my home labels will gradually become extinct.

As I've been making cubbies daily this word has edged its way in. I expect pants and sellotape will trip me up for a little longer before I make the undies and sticky tape switch. Now, if you've found this post based on these keywords alone, I don't want to know what you're up to!

Submitted by Sarah Husselmann, Mum's gone 2 Aus
Mum’s gone 2 Aus is a blog providing help for mums moving to Australia. The aim of the site is to inspire, support, and entertain mums who would like to, or do already, live in Australia.
www.mumsgone2aus.com 

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