One nice thing about my job is that I get to work with people from all around the globe. We’ve got some from the good ol’ USA, England, the Philippines, Hong Kong, New Zealand, but more than anything else, there are Aussies. Tons of them! I would say three-quarters of the people I work with are Australian. For the most part I love them; they’re laid back, fun people, but at times I swear they are speaking another language. Sure their accent may be out of the ordinary, but I’m talking about brand new words all together. Autumn, one of the other Americans, and I made it a goal to make fun of them as much as possible, because it most of the time, it sounds like they’re just making up words on the spot.
Some of what they say makes sense, as just another way of saying things. For example, I’m keen.Which would be a way to say, Sure, that sounds good. You can even bring it up another notch with Heaps keen. Another is How you going? Which is kinda like a mix between How’s it going? and How are you doing?.
Another thing they love to do is shorten a word or phrase in any way they can. Everyone has heard the classic Aussie phrase “Put another shrimp on the barbie!” (Barbie of course meaning barbecue , not that one should place one more shellfish on a disproportioned plastic misrepresentation of the female figure.) Some other ones I’ve heard are brekkie, meaning breakfast, and sickie, meaning you’ve gone home ill. Basically you can take the first syllable of a word and add I-E on the end of it and you’re good to go.
I picked up on these pretty quick, because there was some sort of logic behind them. However, when my friend Rob, asked one morning, “What are you up to this Arvo?” I was baffled.
“What the hell is ARVO?”
Ok, now had he said something like afto, or even afties I would have thought it was a bit excessive, but brushed it off. I’m used to it. But arvo?! Where the hell does that come from? I asked him to explain, but he seemed entirely confused I was questioning this at all.
“It’s afternoon, shortened!”
“Alright, Rob.” I replied, “I guess I’ll see you “TomARVO, then.”
“Tomarvo! Tomorrow Afternoon!”
“No. That’s just crazy.”
I guess I’ll just have to put this one in the list of unsolved mysteries in the universe, right up there with what a male lady bug is called. And gravity.
Another one I had trouble with seems to come down to outright laziness. I asked my Aussie friend how this new pizza place was. Boy did I get myself into trouble there:
“Man, you should have come! Those pizzas were big as!”
My response of course was,”Big as what?”
A plate? A planet? A planet sized pizza!? Here I am slobbering over the thought of a planet sized pizza, when apparently that’s just another way of saying something is really big—How big? Big as. They left it up to me, so I’m just going to assume it’s planet sized. Additionally, this apparently applies to pretty much any adjective. Big as, good as, fast as… confused as?
So they’ve taken what used to be a simile, a comparison likening one thing with another, and just entirely removed, the other. So if a simile uses like or as then I could also say, “Holy balls! Taking a bite into this burrito is like!” ?
I’m pretty sure, this lack of description must have been instigated by some guy who was either laziest person on the planet, or so stoned he got distracted mid sentence by what he thought was a planet sized pizza coming down the beach. “Man, did you see that? Those waves were crazy as—” And he’s gone, off in another world of tasty delicious pizza… (Damn it! I really need to eat food before I write.)
Meanwhile, his friend (also stoned) thinks he’s just being super deep. “I know bro. Crazy as…”
It’s been five months now. I don’t quite understand why, but I think I understand what they’re saying at least. I can’t wait to watch the Australian version of Forrest Gump where Forrest sits on the bench and says one of the most quotable lines in movie history:
“G’darvo. My Mum always said, life was like.”
Whoa. Screw the box of chockies. Life is now like a giant, planet sized pizza folks.
Damn, life is good. Heaps good.
Side Note: Rob told me this video might help. So I’ll share it as well.