Tuesday, October 10, 2006



Interesting column from Ray Chesterton on how the old Aussie lingo and slangology is dying out. But how many Australians really talk the talk the way Ray says he remembers it? And how many ever did?

"Bloody Hell", "bugger", "crikey" and "flippin' heck" still get a regular workout by the oldies at my local, but I don't ever remember anyone, even the blokes who were World War One veterans talking in Aussie 'strine like you would have heard in cliched Australian comedies of the late 60s and early 70s.

If the old Australian language is dying out, it's been a long slow death, no doubt helped along by the domination of American and British TV shows on the box, and the rich and colourful slanguage of US and UK rap and hip hop artists.

Anyway, here's what's troubling old Ray :

"My cobber is crook as Rookwood somewhere near the Black Stump and I'm going to get him."

"I hate the Mulga but this bloke's blood's worth bottling, even if he's sometimes a sandwich short of a picnic.

"It'll cost big bikkies but I'll chuck a sickie and hope no bludger gives me up."

Ah. The resonance of the majestic English language. Its rhythms, its unmistakable cadence, its nuances so easily understood by Australians.

Nowadays Australian colloquialisms are going down the same path to extinction as the Tasmanian tiger.

No one calls anyone a "mutton-headed galah," as Nino Culotta did in Gone Fishin', " any more.

Instead, it's "Hi bro" when teenagers meet instead of "Hello mate".

Americanisms are an unimaginative substitution for genuine wit and humour.

Why steal from others when we have a rich cultural verbal heritage of our own?

At a time when we're saving water, trees and anything else that walks, flies or swims could we spare some time and effort to save the language.

Stone the crows, it would be worth it.