Jul 10

“How are you?” “How are you doing?” “How’s it going?”

These questions sound familiar and are an appropriate way to greet someone and inquire about their well-being and current affairs.
In America that is.
Not in Australia, (or should I say “straya,”) where words are always shortened, intonation does not necessarily  indicate meaning and people often ask you “How are you going?” or more accurately, “Hayagoin’?”

It’s been quite the linguistic exercise for me and I love analyzing people’s speech patterns, diction and accent. This is why I wanted to come here, to Melbourne, in the first place and I have been delighting in my amateur analysis since I got here! My host family is surprisingly tolerant when I scoff at the words they use for familiar objects, and for shortening perfectly pronounceable words, just because it’s easier. And they in turn are patient and understanding when I use “American” words that they find equally amusing.

If you want some french fries with ketchup, you’ll be ordering “chips and tomato sauce.” That’s tomato as it rhymes with gelato. Not “tum-ay-tow” but “tum-ah-to”

If you’d like to wipe your fingers with a tissue, you’ll be asking for a “serviette” and if you’re thirsty, you could pour some water from a “jug,” not a pitcher.

If you’re around a baby in Australia, you’ll hear the words “nappy” (diaper) “dummy” (pacifier) and “pram” (carriage/stroller).
And even though it’s the most cliched Australia expression, people really do say “G’deye mate.”

But my favorite expression of all comes when you’ve done something admirable or worthwhile.
Instead of saying “good for you” or “good job,” you’ll be clopped on the back with a hearty “Good on you” —or, as you might’ve guessed by now, “Goodonya!”

I’m loving it here. I hardly miss you back home and I can’t wait for my first Uni (that’s University!) lecture with “legit” Aussies.

Ps. Around here, I’m “Lil” now. Since all two syllables in my name are just too long!!!

1 comment so far

  1. Ima
    10:39 pm - 7-10-2011

    לקח לי הרבה זמן לקרא אבל הבנתי הכל. איזה יופי לגלות עולם חדש כשכל האנשים פה חיים כמו תמיד, אותה שפה, אותם אנשים, אותם עצים ואותו חום כבד של יולי. טוב שאת נהנית שם
    ליל, זה מה זה שם קצר… נו שיהיה, מי אני שאתוכח עם האוסטרלים… ליל טוב
    המון הצלחה באונ (אוניברסיטה) נשיקות, אבא ואמא

My AUSome Trip