Questions about English used in Australia.

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2
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2answers
77 views

Does the English language have an official Academy?

For some languages, there are academies that decide topics such as grammar and spelling of things, for example, for the Spanish language, there are 22 academies in 22 different countries, all making ...
6
votes
2answers
224 views

Meaning and origin of British/Australian slang word 'tut'

About twenty years ago I overheard a girl from the north of England laughingly advise a friend to get ready for a night out by telling her to 'slap some tut on your face'. She clearly meant 'put on ...
-1
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2answers
97 views

British and other English variants of 'write to me' - 'write me'' [duplicate]

In British English, the standard is 'write to me'. In American English the standard is 'write me'. Similar variants exist with 'out of the window' and 'out the window'. When did the dropping of ...
1
vote
2answers
57 views

What does an en_GB speaker need to know to write en_AU?

I'm a native speaker of British English, and I often write documentation and copy for an international audience. I understand the differences between British and American English enough to "translate" ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Is “Wrong side business” used in real life?

In the film "Australia", the phrase "Wrong side business" (or "Wrong sided"?) is used as slang for sex. It sounds like typical Australian English or Australian Aboriginal English. However, I've lived ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

What's the origin of “dinkum”?

Dinkum as a noun means work, especially hard work. As an adjective, like fair dinkum, it means honest or genuine. Other than saying it's chiefly Australian and New Zealand, the OED simply says ...
0
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3answers
188 views

Use of as good and as well

Are these two sentences correct? This is as good as ... This works as well as ... Edit: This one is as good as the other one. This one works as well as the other one.
4
votes
3answers
562 views

Why do 'fine words butter no parsnips'?

I was at a dinner last night where some rather nice herb butter was served with the vegetables. Conversation close to me then turned to the English expression 'Fine words butter no parsnips'. It ...
2
votes
6answers
181 views

Would the phrase “No worries!” be understood outside Australia?

In Australia, No worries! is a very common way of saying You’re welcome. I wonder whether it is used this way in other English-speaking countries. The phrase’s meaning can be understood easily ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

Do Australians say “down north”?

I noticed some maps from the southern hemisphere are "reversed" with the south pole on top. Which makes me wonder, are there places in the southern hemisphere where the concept of "down" is presumed ...
0
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2answers
93 views

Who uses the term 'freehold'?

I am interested to discover in which countries, where English is used, the term 'freehold' and 'freeholder' is in everyday use. I know the question of 'freehold' has come up on this site before in ...
2
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2answers
65 views

“brought some horses, real heelers..” : what is “heeler” here?

I quote from An Evening in Dandaloo (1891) by Banjo Paterson: It was while we held our races -- Hurdles, sprints and steplechases -- Up in Dandaloo, That a crowd of Sydney stealers, Jockeys, ...
2
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3answers
216 views

What do Australians mean when they say 'He came a gutsa'?

What does it mean to 'Come a gutsa'? I think I may have the Australian spelling right.
4
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2answers
399 views

Origin of “chuck a wobbly”?

Chuck a wobbly is Australian slang for someone throwing a tantrum, and I like it because it invokes amusing imagery. I'm not certain of its origins however. I can see how it may be equivalent to the ...
4
votes
6answers
118 views

Is there a word for an inferior substitute?

I was wondering if there is a word in English to describe a person fulfilling another's role, albeit not as proficient. Thanks in advance, Nik.
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word?

Usage: "I would not like to eat that pie as it looks all festy since you dropped it on the ground." Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word? Also, is it used elsewhere in the world? ...
2
votes
1answer
285 views

In an Australian context, should “Aborigine” be capitalised?

When referring to an Australian context, as opposed to Aboriginal Canadians, or indigenous people worlwide, should "Aborigine" (and "Aboriginal") be capitalised? I tried googling, but the hits I ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Exact meaning of “Tyranny of Distance”

In Australia, I often hear the phrase "the Tyranny of Distance", but I'm not exactly sure what it means. I know that the phrase originated from The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Meaning of “I kissed her for her mother”

I recently re-read E.J. Brady's Down in Honolulu, but this line has stuck out to me: I kissed her for her mother,   I gev' her one, two, three; I squoze her for her brother— ...
1
vote
1answer
411 views

Sub-classification or subclassification? [closed]

We’re debating this at work. Merriam-Webster says it’s “subclassification”. Dictionary.Reference.com allows “sub-classification” and “subclassification” Is there a ‘more correct’ word to use? ...
6
votes
5answers
595 views

What could be the equivalent term in British or Australian English to the American English word “hillbilly”?

In Wikipedia, “hillbilly” is defined as: … a term referring to certain people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia but also the Ozarks. Owing to its ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

Why are we supposed to say the “a” as an “e” in “any” and “many”?

I speak Australian English, but I seem to pronounce the words many and anything differently from how the vast majority of people here do so. I pronounce it using an a sound rather than an e sound ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Origin of “cracked the shits”

I heard someone use the expression "he cracked the shits" today which is universally recognised (at least in Australia) to mean "lost his temper". It struck me that it is a strange expression and the ...
0
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0answers
29 views

English phonetics References [duplicate]

What are some great references on English pronunciation practices? The book The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations was mentioned in an answer on this site. Is it considered authoritative? What ...
2
votes
3answers
137 views

Is “cookie” a recent addition to Australian English?

Wiktionary's entry for cookie says a "cookie" is (England and Wales) A specifically American-style biscuit. and Wikipedia's entry for biscuit says Although in Commonwealth Nations, the term ...
1
vote
1answer
494 views

Are you “Dinky Die”? And what does Dinky Die mean? [closed]

Australia day is nearly upon us! And that means it's time to throw another chop on the barbie and say real Aussie things like "dinky die". Stone the crows, what's that even mean, "dinky die"? I've ...
3
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1answer
511 views

“Ridgy didge” — what's that mean? [closed]

Australia day is nearly upon us! And that means it's time to throw another steak on the barbie and say real Aussie things like "ridgy didge". Flaming heck, what's that even mean, "ridgy didge"? I've ...
8
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3answers
8k views

Why are Australian redheads often called 'bluey'?

From Wikipedia's article on Virgin Australia: Virgin Australia was launched as Virgin Blue in August 2000, with two Boeing 737–400 aircraft, one leased from then-sister airline Virgin Express. ...
2
votes
3answers
276 views

Is “I'm not racist, but …” more common in Australian English than other dialects? [closed]

Is the phrase "I'm not racist, but ..." more common in Australian English than other dialects? The phrase is used as a prefix to something that's likely to be interpreted as racist, probably because ...
1
vote
2answers
201 views

Is it unidiomatic to say “an Australian person” or “an Aussie person”?

As mentioned in For people, can you say "a British" like you can say "an Australian"?, you can use "an Australian" to talk about an Australian person. But is it also ok to use "an ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Is “early mark” only used in Australia and New Zealand?

What countries is "early mark" used in? It means being let out of something, typically school, early. onelook.com only reports it being mentioned in Urban Dictionary, and it doesn't have information ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Where does “I'll go he” come from, and is there more to the phrase?

I understand the meaning of the saying "I'll go he", but does anyone know where it comes from? The researcher here seems to think that there is a couple of words left off.
4
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1answer
185 views

Origin of “not for quids” phrase

At various times I've supposed the informal Australian phrase “not for quids” (which apparently is analogous to “not at any price”) derives from quid, which refers to sovereigns, or guineas. At ...
5
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2answers
196 views

Different dictionary in New South Wales, Australia?

My writing textbook on page 446 says this: Use local conventions regarding punctuation, spelling, and mechanics. Be aware that these conventions differ from place to place, even in the English ...
24
votes
6answers
1k views

Does the washing up fairy exist outside of Australia? [closed]

Just to clarify, I'm not talking about the Lush product of the same name. In Australia, the washing up fairy is a mythical creature. People leave their dishes unwashed overnight, and lo and behold, ...
8
votes
1answer
312 views

Meaning of “work ethics” in Australian English

Inspired by this question, I'm left wondering if the phrase “work ethics” has a slightly different meaning in Australian English than in other dialects. I came across this term some ...
1
vote
0answers
98 views

Resources for Australian street talk? [closed]

I know of a great series of books called "Street Talk" which tries to cover colloquial American English. Is there any such resources for Australian English? Especially with emphasis on Listening and ...
2
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1answer
542 views

Regional usage of “Violet” and “Purple”

I am looking to describe a flower such as the one in the following picture for a game: After showing the game to a number of beta testers, I noted that about half of them were fine with "violet" ...
3
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1answer
199 views

Parenthetical commas and foreign English

I advise a friend on her writing, despite not quite knowing an adverb from a proverb (kidding (kinda)). Invariably, parenthetical commas such as the following: Jane, my assistant, opened the ...
0
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4answers
495 views

What's the Australian or British way to say 'Ticket collector'? [closed]

I know Indians say ticket collectors while in Australia people are confused with this phrase. Please let me know how you would say that.
7
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4answers
1k views

Origin & history of name “she oak” or “sheoak” (a Casuarina tree)

In wikipedia's Casuarinaceae article (and somewhat similarly in its Casuarina article), one finds: The most widely used common name for Casuarinaceae species is sheoak or she-oak (a comparison of ...
15
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4answers
3k views

Is it awkward to use the word “aubergine” instead of “eggplant”?

According to Google Ngrams eggplant is far more common (although in British English aubergine seems to have a small advantage over eggplant). So, not being a native speaker of English I wonder ...
3
votes
2answers
424 views

What is the origin and prevalence of the term “server” meaning “wait(er/ress)”?

In a comment on this question, the term "server" is used to refer to the guy working at the register in a pizza restaurant. I have never heard this usage before (in Australia), and was only able to ...
3
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1answer
3k views

What is a “hens party” and where is this phrase commonly used?

Where does the term come from, where in the world is the term used? I came across the usage in this article, with this paragraph as quoted: Keara O'Neil was on a shopping trip to find bridesmaid ...
6
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1answer
321 views

Origin of “good'o”

Where did the Autralian or British expression good'o come from? What is the 'o part related to?
3
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1answer
1k views

Why did Australian English change from spelling words like 'honor' to 'honour'?

I know there are other questions comparing the US and UK usage of o and ou in words like colour. My question is specifically in regard to Australian English. I was always taught that here in Australia ...
8
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6answers
4k views

What does “Eleventy-seven” mean?

I came across the following phrase in a story (set in Australia): So the fact that I'm forty-five and you're eleventy-seven means nothing to me. If other people have a problem with that, then it's ...
1
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2answers
254 views

Australians and SR1

This Article in question. Do Australians still use the Spelling Reform 1 (SR1) officially or unofficially? It calls for the short /ɛ/ sound (as in bet) to always be spelt with E. said→sed, ...
9
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1answer
4k views

Is Australian English closer to US English or British English?

It would seem obvious to me that Australian English is closer to British English due to the historical events that led to English people living here. But it seems when differences occur that US ...
14
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4answers
5k views

How did the Australian accent come about?

Can anybody tell me how the Australian accent came about? It seems strange to me that it is not more like an English accent taking into account that the first and the majority of settlers were ...