Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Australia and America--Two People Separated by a Common Language

Oscar Wilde or George Bernard Shaw are credited with saying "England and America are two nations separted by a commmon language." The same applies to Australias and Americans and that's what makes travel in Australia so much fun

You don't call someone, you "ring them up." If you "love up" an old house if you are renovating it. You are "knackered" if you are tired and if you want some candy ask for some "lollies."

Some of the differences result from the Australian tendency to shorten words or to economize. Aussie rules football is "footy." A pickup truck is a "utility" or a "ute." A camping trailer is a "caravan" or simply a "van."

There are subtle differences in road signs as well. A passing lane is an "overtaking lane." A yield sign is a "give way" sign.

Instead of "deer crossing" signs you see signs tuned to the local, nocturnal marsupials. And since they are nocturnal, the likelyhood of squashing one on the road is alarmingly high.

None of this comparison is to suggest that there is a right or wrong way to refer to a thing or activity. It's just fun to see the differences. So far we have always been able to find common words and get along just fine. In reality, the Aussies likely think we speak with a strange accent!

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