Texas Girl in Oz

G’day Y’all - Intermittent, Hopefully Comprehensible, Personal Ramblings

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rambling or Waffling On About English

G'day ya'll ,

The English language, specifically, the way English words are used differently in different parts of the world fascinates me. Carbonated beverages, for instance, could be known as soda, pop, soda pop, or fizzy drink, just to name a few, depending on where in the English-speaking world you are. In Texas we call all carbonated beverages ‘coke’.
‘Would you like a coke?’
‘What kind?’
‘Dr Pepper please.’

What do you call your afternoon or evening meal? Do you say ‘lunch’ or ‘dinner’ in the afternoon? Do you say ‘supper’, ‘dinner’, or even ‘tea’ to name your evening meal? When I was growing up my family called the afternoon meal ‘lunch’ and the evening meal ‘supper’. For us ‘dinner’ was a special occasion. We would have Sunday Dinner, or Christmas Dinner, or Thanksgiving Dinner. Personally, I define dinner as a meal with mandatory dessert.

The verb to tump, as far as I know, is unique to Texas. To tump means to spill something out of its container.
‘What would you like me to do with the water in this bowl?’
‘Tump it into the sink please.’

The second person pronoun is both singular and plural. There is no grammatically correct plural form of ‘you’ other than ‘you’. People feel the need to make up their own. I say, ‘ya’ll’. Many people here in Australian use ‘youse’ (sounds like the plural for female sheep). I’ve heard ‘you guys’, ‘youse guys’, ‘you all’ and many more in my travels.

Words that are innocuous in one part of the English-speaking world have dirtier meanings in other parts. Two words I’ve come across since moving here that have extremely different meanings are ‘root’ and ‘fanny’. Throughout America we define the verb ‘to root’ as to support one’s team. Here in Oz they use the word ‘barracking’ for supporting one’s team. Here, ‘to root’ is a very rude way to say ‘to copulate’. It’s almost as rude as the f-word. In the US ‘fanny’ is a polite way of speaking about a rear end. Here, ‘fanny’ is a very rude way of saying ‘vagina’. Therefore, what Americans know as ‘fanny packs’ are known here as ‘bum bags’.

I could easily ramble on about this. It fascinates me to no end. But I’ll leave it here for now while reserving the right to revisit the topic in future posts.


At 3:04 PM , Blogger Rodney Olsen said...

The English language is a lot of fun.

We've always used the terms 'lunch' for the midday meal and 'tea' or 'dinner' for the evening meal.


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