A good many of my readers are americans.
Let me preface this post by saying ...
... I love americans (mostly. Not terribly fond of their leader). I even was one once (an american, not a leader). Sort of. For a year. Well, an adopted one anyway. But they do have a tendency to speak American and assume that the rest of the world understands them. So, in addition to the usual references to graham crackers and granola (savoury biscuits and muesli, I think), we in the Anglosphere (to steal a Jokeism) get comments on our blogs like "I love that show, I just TiVoed it. And then Netflixed it for good measure." And "I live in CT. But I used to live in MT. And FCT." Where?! Stop talking in initials! When we say "touch wood" they leave comments saying "actually the phrase is knock wood." (I saw someone say that to Loobylu. Um, here the saying IS touch wood.)
Now, I am well aware that this works the other way. We ovah heah fill our blogs with references to biscuits, fair dinkum, arvo and Andrew Denton (hopeless crush, I want to have his babies. They'd be small but perfectly formed) and don't care if only three of our readers get it. And most of us aren't terribly fond of our leader either.
Anyway, as a community service, I hereby present a list of all things Australian which I will translate for the benefit of the rest of the world, and below that, a list of Americanisms which many of us poor sods require help with. Aussies, please feel free to add more. Americans, please feel free to explain. (Rest of the World, watch in wonder.)
Australian cultural oddities in need of translation:
• arvo: afternoon. Similarly garbo: garbageman
• dunny: toilet/loo
• blue: an argument. Also the nickname given to any redheaded man. Similarly, Shorty: the nickname given to any man over 6 foot.
• Andrew Denton: pint-sized witty and humorous intellectual who currently has an interview show on tv called Enough Rope.
• fair dinkum: truly really and pinky swear I promise. The real deal.
• dag: you don't want to know. But bizarrely, is also used as a term of affection if said with a winning smile. As in "You're such a dag. I adore you."
• a few roos loose in the top paddock: insane
• "Not happy, Jan." A quote from a hilarious tv ad. Everyone now says it. Has also morphed into "Not happy, John" because as previously mentioned, we are not on the whole terribly fond of our leader.
• "Sic 'em, Rex." Ditto, only not hilarious. Just weird. (Echidna reference).
On the subject of taglines from tv ads moving into the cultural vernacular, are any other Aussie bloggers old enough to remember "Not beans again?" I ask because I auditioned for an ad once as a kid and the audition line was "Not beans again?" I didn't get the job and when it came out on tv and the whole country began whining "not beans again" I got down on my knees and thanked the goddess above that I had failed. (I got another job out of that audition though, and the tagline was "Because life is full of Vesta situations." Anyone remember that series? That was me, playing Noelene Browne's hapless daughter.) Um, where was I?
Oh yeah ...
• lollies: US candy, UK sweets
• lamington: a small square sponge cake, dipped in chocolate then rolled in coconut. Usually with a layer of jam in the middle. When I lived in the US and realised lamingtons were not universal, one of my schoolfriends airmailed me a lamington. In a homemade box. It arrived unrecognisable and very stale, but still edible.
• jam: known as jelly in the US
• jelly: known as jello in the US
• budgie smugglers: Speedos.
• shop: store
• handbag: bag you keep your purse, keys and mobile in
• mobile: mobile phone (US: cell phone)
• thongs: those rubber flappy footwear things you buy at Kmart and wear to the beach. Kiwis know them as flip flops.
• Dame Edna Everage: I don't even know where to begin so will give up and move onto ...
American cultural oddities in need of translation:
• Fix dinner: This one bugs me I must confess. Why do they need to fix their dinner? What's wrong with it? In Australia we cook dinner. Or, at a pinch, prepare dinner. It doesn't generally need fixing unless you've burnt it beyond recognition.
• store: shop
• shop: workshop
• cookie: biscuit
• biscuit: scone
• purse: handbag
• wallet: purse (are you getting how confusing this all is?)
• Netflix: something to do with movies?
• TiVo: something to do with tv?
• smores: something to do with the elusive graham cracker? And campfires? Possibly unbelievably unhealthy.
• graham crackers: I asked Babelbabe and even bribed her with Tim Tams but Australia Post is holding her parcel ransom and so I am still in the dark. I will report back.
• granola: is it muesli, or toasted muesli, or something different altogether? They say it's crunchy!
• graduation ceremoney for preschoolers: gosh is all I can say. Here, kindergarteners get a hug from the teacher if they're lucky, and an end of year party at which they present their teacher with a homemade card and nasty giftwrapped soap purchased from the two dollar shop. No certificate presentation takes place. I am impressed, if bemused, with the American system. Congratulations Primo.
• flavoured coffees: I just.don't.get.this. Coffee should be coffee flavoured. Isn't that the point? It's coffee. Not raspberry/vanilla/caramel/burnt thong. The Italians must be turning in their graves. If they've all suddenly died that is. Which I hope they haven't because the world would not be the same without beautiful dark-haired men managing to pinch your bum as they sail past you in Rome on a red Vespa. Simultaneously yelling Ciao bella. And possibly making off with your handbag.
PS. This post needs a photo but I'm too tired and the possibilities are just frightening. So, no pretty pics.
PPS. The crap I come up with in order to not finish an essay.