Thursday, July 31, 2008

A wave from Oz

Hi everyone

Well, I'm back from my trip and ready to get the ball rolling with Brady and the Owlies from Purdue.

Thanks, gang, for your first post on subordinating conjunctions and dependent markers.

I'd like to do something just a little bit different and talk about differences in language between Australians and our friends in the US.

One thing which endears us to our US friends is the Australian penchant to put 'ie' or 'y' on lots of words:
  • Footy (football)

  • Breakie (breakfast)

  • Owlie (Owl - there was a telly programme a long time ago called 'Owlie School' It's true!)

  • Sickie (a sick day taken from work when one is not really sick)

  • Barbie (as in 'put another shrimp on the barbie' or barbecue)

These are just a few of our idiomatic language quirks! Maybe my Possum pals at UniSA can think of some others.

All of this is kind of cute, but it does make life difficult for our international and ESL students at first. Knowing the idiom (or the lingo) gives you a social badge. You fit into a culture better if you can both understand and use some of this quirky and wonderful language.

One of our best tips to our new international students is to go out of the way to speak to Aussies - on the bus, in the shops, at uni, in study groups.

Here's a great fun quiz that my friend and co-possum Helen found. You might like to give it a try.

You know, I didn't pick up many language quirks when I visited the US recently - are there any? Did I miss something blindingly obvious?



Anonymous said...

Message from Liz Horrocks Learning Adviser Team leader at UniSA
This is really exciting and has a potential that we can't imagine. I am really looking forward to hearing about how students are involved in the work at Purdue as I am anxious to do similar here at UniSA. Can you outline the pros and cons of student involvement for me? It's my view that we don't use them enough in our work.

Brady Spangenberg said...

I don't have quite the ear for this that some of our clients in the Writing Lab do, so I may enlist some of them to help with this once school starts. I do remember that one of the raging discussions around campus last year had to do with what to call that sweet, bubbly drink that usually comes in a can or a bottle. Is it "pop," "soda," or "Coke?" The answer depends on where you where born. A good Midwesterner, like me, swears by "pop," but someone from the East or West Coast will say "soda." In the South, it is "Coke," even if you are drinking a "Pepsi." Are there regional differences, particularly for everyday food items, in Australia as well?

Brady Spangenberg said...

Some of our clients at the Writing Lab have a better ear for this than I do, but I do remember an ongoing discussion on campus last year about what to call that bubbly, sweet drink that usually comes in a can or bottle. Midwesterners, like me, call it "pop," but coastal dwellers swear by "soda." In the South, it is "Coke," even if the label says "Pepsi."

Anonymous said...

I'm writing a story and I'm really stuck on wether I should use a comma where I used it or start a brand new sentence.

I recieved a phone call from my husband, he called to tell me he was in the emergency room, because he got his eraser from his mechanical pencil stuck in his ear.