When we first moved to Australia, one of the seemingly endless small tasks that we had to complete was to change the location of our eBay account. I can still recall the little frisson of pure delight when our eBay Australia account was activated and saw the colourful, cheery ‘G’Day!’ at the top of the screen next to our username.
Little things like this please me immensely, as they serve to remind you that you really have moved a long way from home and astonishingly, you’re even still alive enough to cross another job off your list (just)!
As described in my last blog post, I have experienced some comical moments in the mutual misunderstandings caused by my own strong Northern English accent and that of my new countrymen.
I have found that in general, Australians are best described as kind, funny and searingly forthright. They speak as they find, they do not mince their words and they don’t suffer fools gladly. In this respect, I have felt right at home living here.
By way of example of this disarming honesty, I will recount the tale of a man we met the other day who proceeded to tell us that he and his wife had recently split. We duly expressed our sympathy as it seemed an appropriate response to his plight.
‘Ah, no dramas mate,” he replied bravely. “I’ll get over her right enough.” He paused, slightly crestfallen now. He spoke again thoughtfully.
” …I’m really gonna miss me dogs, though.”
As previously promised, I have compiled a list of words and phrases from my native county, and provided some loosely appropriate Australian alternatives. I hope you enjoy reading them.
Description 1 – A sausage sandwich
Australian: Snag Sanger
Yorkshire: Butty wi’ a banger int’middle
Description 2 : A Boastful Chap
Australian: “He’s always Big Noting himself.”
Yorkshire: “He’s a total Gobsh!te.”
Description 3 – A Terrible Vehicle You Have There, Sir!
Australian: “What an old Sh!t Box, eh!”
Yorkshire: “Yon car’s a reight Old Banger!”
Description 4 – Indeterminate place far away from civilisation
Australian: “They’re right out towards Woop Woop.”
Yorkshire: “They live int’ Back o’ Beyond.
Phrase 1 – I am quite unwell this afternoon.
Yorkshire: “I’m reight poorly this afty.”
Australian: ‘I’m proper crook this arvo.”
Phrase 2- He is rather silly in my opinion.
Yorkshire: “E’s as daft as a brush, yon gormless bugger.”
Australian: “He couldn’t find his arse with both hands, the bloody great galah.”
Phrase 3 – Good morning to you.
Yorkshire: “Nah then, lad.”
Australian: ” G’day mate, howya gawin?”
Phrase 4 – This is becoming unexpectedly complicated
Australian: “It’s getting bigger than Ben Hur.”
English: “Going round Halifax just to get to bloody Huddersfield.”
Phrase 5 – That seems like a good idea, go right ahead!
Australian: “Go for your life!”
Yorkshire: “Gerron wi’ it then, lad!”
Phrase 6 – She’s in rather bad humour today!
Australian: “She’s a cranky arse this arvo, isn’t she!”
She’s a maungy bugger, that ‘un. That face’d curdle milk.”
Phrase 7- That’s rather good, well done!
Australian: “Good onya, mate!”
Yorkshire: “Aye, not bad.”
I have reserved a special section for the following description, as mispronunciation of this word can invoke barely-concealed snorts of mirth leading to gales of uncontainable laughter. The word, dear readers, is ‘route”.
To your average Yorkshire person, ‘having a good root around’ for some reason is an innocent (if frustrating) pastime. It involves looking thoroughly for an object one has lost.
To the average Australian though, the word ‘rooting’ has its origins in an altogether more entertaining meaning. In Australia, you must rhyme the word with ‘out’ if you do not want to invite amused attention from your audience.
Announcing your intention to check your Internet ‘rooter’, taking the extra long ‘root’ to work or ‘rooting around in the cupboard’ (as my School Nurse friend found to her horror, and the students’ immense delight) will otherwise cause the listener to believe that you are incredibly lucky. Or in need of a celebrity-style addiction detox.
So, the next time you visit Australia, remember: the word ‘route’ rhymes with ‘out’. I’m not responsible for anything which may happen if you don’t.