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July 13, 2005

Australian slang disappearing

From the London Telegraph:

Australians fear that some of their most distinctive and irreverent expressions, idioms and slang words are being lost amidst a flood of imports from America.

Many younger Australians are now more likely to say "hi" than "g'day", and "vacation" rather than "holiday". "Bloke" and "mate", long regarded as quintessentially Aussie, are giving way to "dude" and even "bro"....

During a radio debate, a listener noted that American euphemisms such as "washroom" and "restroom" were elbowing out "dunny" as the word for lavatory....

The debate comes as Australia celebrates the 110th anniversary of its unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda, the song about a "jolly swagman" who drowns in a billabong.

Richard Magoffin, an authority on the song, said the earthy Aussie language typified by the ballad was falling into disuse. "We don't want to turn into a little America," said Mr Magoffin.

I agree that it's sad when culture distinctiveness begin to erode, but I just hope those opposed to the Americanization of Aussies, don't become anti-American in their approach to the problem. I can still remember back in the early to mid eighties when anything Australian was popular over here. I thought it was an interesting trend, other than the horrible mistake of actually tasting Vegemite [blech!]. I still say “hang on” rather than “wait” and “bit” rather than “little” more often than not, and I've noticed my kids picked it up as well.

But another thing I've noticed is that all cultures grow. The slang from my high school days is gone. You never hear anyone say “book” instead of “hurry”, anymore. So what's happening in Australia may be the normal growth of the culture. If they start calling each other “dog”, then they should worry.

Posted by Danny Carlton at July 13, 2005 09:28 AM

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Comments

As always, Danny, you did a great job in the news/posts today. Enjoyed it emensely. It was "fair dinkum"!

Posted by: Heather at July 13, 2005 01:14 PM

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