Monday, June 13, 2011

Speaking Australian

Before I met The Climates, I thought my Australian was coming along pretty well. I mean sure, I didn't sound Australian, but chances are I never will. I like my r's and I shall keep them.  No adventchas for me. No siree.

I am not sure if it's because The Climates are from a rural area and thus seem more Australian or what, but man they've opened up a whole new world of Australianisms to me.

Mrs Climate in particular uses a range of words to describe items that I would have never thought to use in that context, here are three of my favourites.

"Oh, it was a bit ordinary" - she didn't like it very much. 

"Good knives are so dear" - knives are expensive.

"I am not precious about it" - she's not worried about something breaking.

The first one has a range of applications, like when Inspector Climate was talking to Mrs Climate on the phone the other day and she asked how I was feeling he said "a bit ordinary."  Now, if I was going to describe something as ordinary it would be an average something.  You know, just there. I wasn't feeling ordinary, I was feeling down right sick to my stomach, below average, not my everyday ordinary feeling.

I love these little sayings and I can't help but pick a few of them up in my every day vernacular, no matter how hard I try to maintain my pronunciation of words, my vocabulary, and my way of putting words together, I am starting to notice my American slipping.  Just the other day, I pronounced scone like john. And worst of all, I didn't even realise it until a big smile spread out over Inspector Climate's face and he said "GOOD AUSTRALIAN, D!"  while I stared at him blank faced as to what had just occurred.

Don't get me wrong, no native Australian would in their right mind confuse me as an Australian, but there are a few words here and there that are coming out with an Australian spin on them.

Bloody hell.


  1. Cool words, indeed.

    I have a grandmother who is from Texas and she has her own spin on words too..not only that..its a very slow state of talking, as well..and My cousin, dearly and sweet as she is speaks just like her. One time, they kept talking about "Where's the deal?" I had no idea what was going on..They much have talked a good 10 minutes about the 'deal'..and when they said came out more like 'dill'.

    As of now my cousin is married my grandmother's dismay a..Mexican (which I hate to listen to her discussion on this since a good many of her best friends are of this nationality). Although, her husband if possibly less than half, has a dad who's a deputy and possibly doesn't know any tex-mex at all..still he does know how to cook, and he's fun to listen to with his twangy Texas accent with just a slight Spanish accent too. And when he and his family get together..they so know how to party with plenty of food and drink.

  2. I am a total sucker for a man with an Australian accent.

  3. Good post;I was loving the 3 examples,although I was a bit thrown off by ordinary.

  4. I love all of Mrs. Climate's phrases! I think the fact that countries like Australia speak a different English than us Americans is pretty cool.

  5. brilliant! also here in britain, our english is different to american english too. xo

  6. This was amazing, Deidre! I am going to try to incorporate these into conversation, but who knows how successful I will be... I'll let you know ;)

  7. I love this!!! Those sayings are so funny! I really enjoy that aspect of other cultures!

  8. haha! Love this!! I've picked up a bunch of British words from being in Hong Kong. I also have started speaking like Liebling in certain instances (i.e. his English mistakes since he is a non-native speaker)!

  9. Nice blogs. I really like Australian accents ever since. I just can't easily figure out the words if they speak to fast.

  10. I'm very entertained by the use of "ordinary." The "precious" one I just don't understand!

  11. I think that every place, no matter where on the globe and what language, has its own little dialect. I have to admit, that fascinates me. Whether it's 'being ordinary' or 'needing a drink from a bubbler' or whatever other phrases are used, I love them. I feel like those colloquial phrases add just a little bit of mystery or romance to a place, you know?

    Or maybe I'm crazy and that's just me... haha.

  12. One of my best friends is Australian and I'm sending her the link to this - she'll get a kick out of it!

    xoxo ~ Courtney

  13. Aw, so sweet. Nothing pays a higher compliment to a loved one than to start sounding like them :)

    xo Mary Jo

  14. Haha I love discovering bizarre little sayings - you've certainly come up with a couple gems :-)

  15. i've never heard the "i'm not precious about it" saying...that sounds so weird to me, even though i really do like Aussie accents. they love to say how things are "quite nice."

  16. Welcome to the dark side...MUHAHAHAH.

    Gotta rib ya a bit!

    I've lived in Oz, what, almost 17yrs? And the one Australianism that still irks the bejesus out of me is, "You right there?"


    Ugh, so ANNOYING! It's like they're asking if you're okay mentally.

    Of course, they're not, but the way it's said, the tone and upward inflection...ACK!

  17. Aaah, the phrasing and upwards inflections. I know it well.

    Nice to be back after 6 months absence. See you again, I'm sure. :)

  18. I always find it funny when American actors need to do a South African accent they always end up sounding like Australians. Even though we sound nothing alike. -okay we do pronounce Scone like John :)

  19. I had a friend from England and if she got talking really fast it was truly like she was speaking a different language to me. I imagine it'd be the same with an Australian!

  20. I love Aussie talking! I love your blog. Newbie here!

  21. ellie's desk - Hah, in New Zealand we got in a conversation where this woman kept asking us if we trick our horses... and we could NOT figure out what she meant. Until she said it real slow - trek, trek our horses.

    The Zadge - you and me both.

    Anonymous - Thank you!

    Teacher girl - Yeah, I like it too. And it's definitely these little things that make it so nice.

    Eleanor - Are these things you say in British English as well?

    Amanda - Let me know how it goes!

    Aqui - It's definitely the bonus, they are quite funny. At least these ones I could understand without someone explaining them to me.

    Oneika - Oh I bet! Aw, I bet, I have a close German friend and I still pronounce James like it is too syllables. Ja-Mes.

    Hotel Search - Thank you!

    Alex - They pretty good, eh. Precious always makes me think of Golum.

    jehlik501 - They totally do! I absolutely love them. And I spend a good deal of my time talking about English differences with Aussies.

    Courtney - Aw, yay!

    Mary Jo - Haha, I am not sure I'll ever SOUND like one of them...I don't think Australians would even notice, they'd just assume we said that in the US too.

    Gloria - gems is the perfect way to describe them.

    Oh to be a Muse - Yeah, I've only heard the precious one in rural areas in Victoria.

    Pretzel Thief - haha! I think I always assumed they were just asking if you were "alright"...which for some reason doesn't seem so bad. How ya going? confused me for a while.

    Matthew - Welcome back!

    Love and stuff - I can only think of Leo trying to do a South African accent and I think he made up his own accent and just assumed American wouldn't know the difference.

    Krysten - I don't understand middle aged Australian men for the most part. I am getting better. But it still mostly goes over my head.

    Ana - Thanks for stopping by!

  22. Haha.. awesome post! I had no idea that you lived in Australia. I can't wait to go there (hopefully sooner rather than later)!

  23. K first of all, can I just say that I am totally jealous you are living in Australia right now. How long will you be there? That's seriously so fun!
    These sayings are great. I had no idea they pronounced scone like scohn. That's so weird but awesome at the same time. haha. One saying I noticed while I was there was that they say "no worries" a lot. Man I love the Australian people, they're so laid back and awesome.

  24. oh what? I thought that they were commonly used terms in other English speaking countries! How sheltered am I? They are definitely terms used by city people too.

    Two great ones that Americans I know seem to love are 'snaffle', which means to obtain quickly and/or by cunning means (eg. I snaffled up that last pair of jeans on sale), and 'mate's rates', which is is a discount given to a friend (eg. I won't charge you full price, you can have mate's rates).

    I think in Australia we watch so much American TV we are used to all of your sayings.

    That part about your pronounciation of scone made me laugh. Have you started saying lollies instead of candy yet? I think that might be part of the test for how well one is adapting to local life.

  25. Haha I love this Australian-speak. My nephew has a friend from Australia, once at a party I thought I'd show off *my* (Virginia, egads) Australian and said, "Good day, mate." The guy looked at me in a very sober face and dryly replied, "Needs work" in his proper Australian accent. Now when someone in our family makes a mistake, we look deadpan and say in our best Australian accent, "Needs work."

    Congrats on your SITS day - I'm so glad to meet you. I, too, have struggled with depression so I relate. But I cannot imagine getting up and moving to another country, so I am way proud of you! Keep up the good work on your blog, it's great!

    Mary @ Redo 101

  26. One of my most favorite things about traveling is listening to the natives talk. I make a game of it....trying to decipher what it is they are saying.

    It keeps me mind off the fact that I'm the outsider.

  27. LOL. That would definitely happen to me. Hold onto that American girlie! Stopping by from SITS

  28. Stopping by from SITS. First, congrats on your featured blogger day :) Second, i love phrases like this. I'm from West Virginia and am fluent in "hillbilly" as it were. They have their own unique phrases, and although I don't really speak it, I love listening to people speak it. Same with the word "ordinary" used this way!

  29. I have always wanted to visit Australia. I love the way they talk (I'm from the deep south).

    Happy SITS Day!

  30. It starts small but you are on the road to speaking Australian for sure...

  31. I managed to get myself hooked on McLeod's Daughters, so I love anything Australian. I would SO love to go there.

    I'm sure that when Mrs Climate is feeling a bit ordinary, it's sort of one slurred word, not the ord-i-nary that we Americans use. Oh well, if you don't like your scone, you can always chuck it to the chooks! Cheers mate!

  32. I love finding out how other English-speaking countries use the same words. My sister lived in Australia for a while, and she told me that one day she went to a carnival and got some fairy floss...I asked, "What the heck is that?"

    Cotton Candy.

    Loved your post.

  33. Loved this!I find language so interesting. Happy SITS day!

  34. This is really entertaining. I am new in Australia and only knew American English.

    I remember our first few months here, the whole family would share our "word of the day".

    Classic ones from my kids:
    rubber - eraser
    I reckon - I think
    lollies - candies
    nappy - diaper

    But what really made me grin was when my daughter asked me (sometime during her first week in school)... Mommy, why don't they have an "r"?

    Now, after a year and getting used to how Australians speak, I almost think that their accent is becoming American-ish to my