Friday, October 06, 2006

Kiwi speak

You know there's a possibility that it's going to be 'one of those days' when you fail to notice that sure, you turned the gas element on, it's just that you forgot to put the kettle onto it after the flame was lit ... sigh.

And it occured to me that my New Zealand/Australian readership is small and that if anyone else had heard me call myself 'a plonker' this morning, they might have had no idea of what I was talking about ...

'Plonker' has pretty much the same meaning as 'idiot'.
And as I write that, I hear Canadian and American friends laughing, and it reminds me that they have picked up some of my charming phrases ... with Alison reporting that she had called someone 'a girl's blouse' when she went home to Canada last time.

'Girl's blouse' well ... that's one way of saying you think that someone's a bit of chicken or a coward.

But of course, you say.

Back in New Zealand, I'm almost sure that I rarely used these little Kiwi delights but Shannon's first question on meeting me was 'Do you guys really say by crikey'?

I didn't know and asked Gert when I got home.
Of course I do ... apparently ... and then I began hearing myself and noticed that when Gert was in unserious trouble, I did have a tendency to say things like 'By crikey you're in a lot of trouble' ... always accompanied by laughter, I hasten to add.

It's odd but leaving my country and being around people who mock me for my pronunciation of words like 'Ben' (apparently I pronounce it Bin), 'guest' ... yes well I murder that word, and 'actually' which apparently sounds more like 'exually' ... to name a few, has left me seeking my kiwi linguistic identity in ways that I avoided back home. I have become friends with my vowel sounds ... I'm beginning to embrace my linguistic identity.

I guess I knew there were problems when the Romanian and the Pole in my Nederlands class where almost on the floor laughing over the way I pronounce 'Brad Pitt'.

When I teach, I tidy my English ... but then I relax and the mocking begins.

Gert phoned in as I was writing this post and I asked him what else I say to him. He reminded me that the best so far, in terms of shocked disbelief, was the time I mocked him with ... 'Tsk tsk tsk, send a boy to do a man's job'. And even as it slipped out of my mouth, I could see the old farmer leaning on a fence post mocking his son.

To understand the New Zealand connection to the pictures I used, you can wander over to this site .


Pam said...

Localisms kill me. So funny. My husband has picked up all these Yankee phrases and it still cracks me up when I hear him say "Boy Howdy." Also, oddly enough, he's a HUGE fan of Footrot Flats. I don't get it. Not a farmer, not in to sport not a Kiwi, but he loves that comic and we have almost all the books here in Austria.

Mark J said...

Get off the grass - you doris. Crikey is an Australianism, kiwi's say bugger me - and dont you forget it matey potatey :)
And before you give the Kiwi's too much grief, dont forget the poor Australians who put "but" at the end of their sentences. Example: It's a nice beer but. This leads me to wonder if anyone has ever said. She's got a big butt but. :)

woman wandering said...

Hi Pam ... but your Austrian husband knows Footrot Flats??? I'm so impressed, you'll have to bring him next time :)

It's to do with a strange sense of humour and understatement too, I think.

Lol Mark ... g'day. I didn't want to explain 'bugger me' ... that's too difficult and anyway, I really do say crikey. I tend to say 'bloody buggary bollocks' in moments of extreme frustration but I wasn't sure I wanted to explain that either.

I'm sure some wag said 'She's got a bit butt but' but I'd like to think it was a sheila talking of a bloke.

Ew, I can't believe I wrote all of that ... I hold you entirely responsible for blog standards hitting rock bottom ;)

Jay said...

That's the way accents work. People wouldn't even know they had one if they never left home.

ML said...

hey , my father who was def. NOT a NZlander.. always said,, Never send a boy...when playing cards! Always figured it was a Pennsylvanian saying lol
Missing you.. and NZ which is where the newly married couple on the Today Show is being sent!@ Maybe you could go along ! ML

vailian said...

Nice to read your blog! Never met a NZealander I didn't like. Nearly took a job teaching (violin) in Wellington... but have stayed in Germany where the pay is a bit better and the Belgian beer easier to get.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Yep. Yep.

woman wandering said...

Hey jay ... it took time to admit I might have a wee accent ... and even more time to embrace my 'difference' ... it's a long road :)

Your dad's life must have been touched by a downunder person ... or perhaps we stole it from your world ...hmmm, or perhaps it's just the right thing to say in those 'special' moments :)

Hi Vaillian, ahhh staying in Germany may have been a mistake ... I first tasted Belgian beer in New Zealand, so the move was possible :)

Lol, and kia ora chief biscuit.