Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Australians use a lot of slang. Or different words for things than what American's would use.

A pick-up, or truck, for instance, would be called a ute. If you call something a truck, it's a massive truck, something with a trailer. Also, gas. Gas is, well, methane or propane or something. If you say you're pouring gas on a fire, you get really wired looks. It's PETROL. And never call it a fanny pack, or say your sitting on your fanny, because, here, that's a rude word for vagina.

Before moving to Australia, I visited twice, so I was somewhat versed on basic slang. So my mistake with this story was really ridiculous.

My brother-in-law shot some kookaburras. It's not illegal or anything like that, but it annoys his parents, because they're rather pretty birds, even if they do sound like they're mocking you every time they make a sound. So the family was expounding on the menaces and benefits of kookaburras, such as if you have a little fish pond, they'll eat all the fish out of it. But they'll also eat snakes, so yay! And if you have chickens running around, they'll eat them, too.

Now I was kind of shocked at hearing this, since a kookaburra is, at the largest, maybe 17 in., whereas most chickens are either the same size or larger. Plus, kookaburras don't really have monstrous talons or hawk-like beaks.

I mean, picture it, this cute, but mocking and somewhat annoying bird, going after a full-grown chicken.
So I sat there gaping, asking, "WHAT?! HOW?! I mean, isn't the chicken BIGGER??" until they finally realized I was confused and started laughing at me.

No, no, by chicken, they mean chick. As in a baby chicken. (Picture explanations involving lots of laughing, gesticulating, and showing how small a "chicken" is). Over here, when referring to full-grown chickens, they're called chooks. Only the babies are called chickens.

This was followed by much laughter from everyone.

I got my "revenge" though... sort of.

My mother-in-law asked me what her American friend meant by "curling her bangs". She was so confused, since her friend was going out for dinner, why she might be wrapping sausages in bread (bangers=sausages). She was almost sure this wasn't what she was doing, but was so utterly confused and didn't want to look stupid asking what her friend meant.

I got to giggle a little as I explained that she was curling her "fringe", which is what bangs are called here.

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