Thursday, April 30, 2009

quicko: can't be bothered

This is by far my favorite Aussie phrase I can't use. It's ridiculously useful, and yet, on the basis of my Americanness, it is entirely off-limits for me. It means roughly, "I'm way too lazy to do this and so I'm not going to, so deal with it," or possibly, "I didn't actually hear what you said, and I have no intention of doing whatever it is you want me to do," or more accurately, "yeah, whatever." It's wonderful, yet it's not in my vocabulary. I can't use it, and I desperately long to, but, like any self-respecting American, can't bring myself to say, "no, I'm not going to do that because I just don't feel like it." I simply can't be bothered.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

quicko: stimulated, as they say, by kevin rudd's package

$900 economic stimulus check in the mail today!! Hooray!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

quicko: the day i couldn't cry

for dad:

it started like a normal day
in all those normal every ways
but then
one left one came
i stayed the same
i thought
i’d cry
i knew i should
i wanted to
i tried but
no tears ever came
that day
the next
the next
the next
it took me months
but then
they came

and never left

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

quicko: rainforest

Australia has rainforest. How cool is that??

quicko: a shout

Essential pub culture term: one's turn. As in, "my shout" means "I'm buying drinks for everyone and later on you can have a shout and buy drinks for me."

Clearly, this is trouble when used incorrectly.

Monday, April 20, 2009

quicko: as you do -- update

A real life use example!!

First Australian: I taught myself [Russian] as a kid.

Second Australian: [Ironically] As you do.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

quicko: inverted objects

In Australia, things are "inverted." Commas, "T"s, what have you. It's so British. Why can't they just say "upside down" and be done with it?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

quicko: a spanner in the works

AKA to throw a monkeywrench in the plans.

A spanner is their word for a wrench, but it just struck me as odd that the idiom would translate even with the ... translation.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

quicko: humor down under

Instead of trying fruitlessly to describe it, I think I'll just give you an example (actually from a native Kiwi) I found amusing:

As a co-worker boards the elevator to requests for several floors she exclaims, "All those buttons! I'm going to be exhausted!"

quicko: pleasure

They do this in England, too, but it's also Australian: "pleasure" is a standard response to "thanks."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

quicko: role

Australians use the word "role" to refer to their position at work. Yeah, I understand it, yeah, it makes sense, yeah, it is one of the most annoying words they have here. I don't know why, but it drives me nuts. Get a position, people!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

quicko: woolworth's and coles

The two grocery stores in Australia. There's IGA and I imagine a couple other off-beat ones, but these are the major ones that everybody goes to, tra-la.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

quicko: sorry, charlie, but get out of town

It was only after I taught my students the expression that I realized Australians don't say "get out of town." To be more precise, it was in the middle of the lesson that it occurred to me I hadn't heard anyone here say it and suddenly felt a great deal of pity for my poor elementary students who'd be all eagerly using their new idiom only to receive hostile blank stares. Poor dears. The hazards of having an American English teacher.

It was after that that my co-worker pointed out they don't say "sorry, Charlie," either, owing to the expression originally having been an American tuna commercial. The things you learn!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

quicko: cuba

I have a friend here who is in Cuba now on vacation. This amazes me as, though it is incredibly closer to the U.S., I think Americans are incredibly less likely to visit. In fact, I'm pretty sure we can't, can we? I'm sure it is a beautiful place, yet it never entered my mind to think of going there. Huh!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

quicko: sultanas

In Australia they make a distinction between raisins, from red grapes, and sultanas, from green grapes. All well and good except that neither of them taste right and Sultana Bran just doesn't have the right ring to it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

quicko: soap suds

Australians might be good at saving water, but they are bad at washing dishes.

That shouldn't take too much thinking to figure out.

But also, let me just add that they're particularly bad at washing dishes because they refuse to rinse them after they've been washed. They don't seem to realize that, as my American co-worker so astutely pointed out, you're not supposed to eat soap. But maybe it's all intentional, in a subconscious sort of cleansing of all their unrepeatable language.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

quicko: getting darker

Australia just had time change on Sunday and the days are really rather ghastly bright in the mornings and morosely dark in the evenings. Why can't we just all stay on daylight savings??

Monday, April 6, 2009

quicko: doneski, it's chockers

I don't think it's ever really spelled out, but it's pronounced "done-ski" or "done-skiis" and means finished, aka done. Chockers means really full -- chock full I think must be where it comes from, but I just made that up. It makes sense, though, hey?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

quicko: palm sunday

So it is Palm Sunday in Australia as well as everywhere else, but, much as Advent was by and large neglected, so has been Lent, and Palm Sunday in particular. There was hardly a passing mention of it, and even that came after the main part of the service. No palm branches, no little kids marching, we didn't even sing Hosanna!!

quicko: bikie gang violence

It was in light of the recent bikie gang violence that I realized you could be fluent in English and not understand Australian newspaper headlines.

The confusion, naturally, arose from the word "bikie," which, as those of you with dictionaries handy can testisfy, is not a word. Furthermore, even once you get past the Australian slang which has condensed "bicyclicst" to "bikie," you still must discern that we're not talking about vicious handlebar stuntsmen but hard core motorcyclists who are engaging in vicious acts of, well, murder. Not at all the juvenile pranks suggested by a wayward gang of more or less benevolent 10-speeders.

It's really been quite serious lately, with shootings at the airport, brothers dying, lawyers dying, all sorts of horrific mayhem. All under that splashy "bikie!" heading.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

quicko: what we say

It's easy to pick up on what strange things Australians say, but it's much harder to figure out which expressions you just don't hear here. I've got a small sampling, please feel free to add others you know of ...

--Most patriotic sorts -- giving your John Hancock, pleading the Fifth, etc.
--Sorry, Charlie.
--Get out of town!

Friday, April 3, 2009

quicko: to fall pregnant

I thought these things were fairly universal, but evidently they're done differently in Australia: you don't get, become or even end up pregnant; you fall it, much as you'd fall ill with rheumatic fever, whooping cough or possibly even over a garden rake.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

quicko: 6 pm at the RSL

RSL is the Australian VFW, and every night at exactly 6 pm, everyone stands up in the dark, faces the torch of rememberance and listens to a quick spiel lest they, or anyone else who's never heard the stories, forget.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

quicko: april fools!

This is so strange, and it's actually not an April Fools' joke, I promise, unless a whole bunch of people have gotten me really good: they only celebrate until noon! (!?!?)