Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We're like apples and oranges, y'all.

Over the weekend, I spent the evening with The Climates. We watched the St Kilda Saints lose to eh, whoever. See, Aussie Rules Football is something I've been TRYING to get into for years. And The Climates go for the Saints. I go for the Carlton Blues (who beat Geelong! No one saw it coming! Boo ya!) (if by "go for" I mean have a passing interest in how they go and don't really understand the game, which, for the record, is exactly what I mean).

Anyway, that's not the point. The point is the AUSTRALIAN that comes out during these little family get togethers always amazes me. Frankly, I am certain that it's some sort of family joke and they are just trying to get me to believe that the rest of Australia says these ridiculous things too so I'll make a fool of myself by repeating some ridiculous vernacular.

For example, if two things were very different from one another and I was going to use a simile for how to describe them, I'd say "they're like apples and oranges." Wouldn't you?

Apparently, if the The Climates are to be believed, Australians say "they're like chalk and cheese." Now to be fair, I knew that this was a simile for referring to differences (although I did think Inspector Climate said "Chook and Cheese" which is Australian for Chicken and Cheese which makes just as little sense). I mean why not? Chalk and cheese are very different. That's true! Fine it's silly and endearing, I like it.

Now if you recall, the first day that I was in Australia I read a newspaper that said "spat the dummy" and while Jess explained to me that that meant "throw a tantrum" I couldn't for the life of me understand why. Until I learned that dummy meant pacifier and then I was all "oh, I get it!"

Well, we're watching the footy and Inspector Climate says (you'll notice he is ALWAYS the one who says the ridiculous things...which leads to my conspiracy theory) "he sold the dummy." HOLD UP. People sell pacifiers at the footy? YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS. What the blimey hell is going on here? "No, no, NO," Inspector Climate says, "it means he faked to the left and went to the right. A dummy manoeuvre [Ed's note: okay Aussie dictionary...is that how we spell that? REALLY?] and the other guy bought it." Clearly. obviously.

Le sigh. Languages are hard, yo.


  1. Sounds like you need to play this game also. You need to one up them by making up not only sayings but fake peices of pop culture. Make them think that fanny packs are still all the rage and when they visit they should all wear them or people will know they are tourists.

  2. I had a really good friend in university that was from Australia and he said the weirdest things! These were new to me though, too funny!

  3. It's funny because I was having this conversation with a friend about how culture shock is more likely to happen in a culture you perceive is similar to your own. The fact is that though you both speak English you don't really speak the same English and hilarity and confusion ensue.

  4. haha! love it! British Boy and I have some of the same problems in communication but less than you would because of our connection with Britain. One of my latest posts I have a link to a NZ/US dictionary, we probably use the same phrases as Australians. There are a few mistakes we do say chips and truck like Americans do, not crisps and lorry like the British, as the dictionary says.

  5. Chicken - Sadly, I don't need to make up pieces of pop culture that Inspector Climate doesn't know...

    Cammy - I know, just when I think I have a handle on the lingo they come up with something new!

    Megs - I am not sure that culture shock happens more, I think it just happens differently. When I went to India, it is so obvious how different the culture is...in Australia it's way more subtle the differences and thus I think slightly more surprising.

    Kiwi in France - funny! I'll have to check it out. Yeah, it's kind of unfair because there is so much American TV here - I never really get to say anything surprising.

  6. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and say hello on my special SITS day.

  7. Oh, it's a conspiracy alright! Make sure you watch your back...seriously. Don't fall for it. Only point and laugh ;-)

  8. No worries, Hotpants!

    DDG - Don't worry. I'm using all my spidey senses to suss 'em out!

  9. Hahaha this made me laugh :-)
    As a born and bred Australian, I grew up on those sayings (especially "chalk and cheese" - just today I was telling someone my two neices are like chalk and cheese!) and more, and never even realised that we are the only people to say it. We must have been so isolated we made up our own lingo! My bf is English and he is living over here too, and always stops me mid-sentence to grasp a new saying or to tell me I'm pronouncing something wrong, sheesh! :-P