Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Aussie word of the day: food storage edition

I've become so immersed in my husband's Aussie-speak that I'm beginning to use it myself, to the point that today, I couldn't remember the word "cooler," i.e., the thing you put sandwiches and drinks in when you go on a picnic or to the beach.

For example, like everyone in Australia, we have an electric kettle for boiling water.  They drink lots of tea there.  Only they don't call it a kettle -- it's a "jug," as in "Darl,* would you be a dear and put the jug on for a cuppa**?"  "Jug" is also used to refer to any container in which liquids are stored.  And now I never say "turn on the kettle" or "boil some water."  I always say "put the jug on."

I need to do a Target run today, and I was making a shopping list.  Jason needs a couple of things for his job up in Vail, and I was planning on picking them up for him.  Specifically, he wants a big thermos to keep drinking water in, and a little cooler for packing his lunch.  So I wrote:
children's motrin
note pad with magnet for fridge
Special K
water jug
First, note that I wrote "water jug" rather than "thermos."  Second, you're probably asking yourself, "what the hell is an 'esky'?"

"Esky," which is short for "Eskimo,"*** is the Australian slang word for "cooler."  And as I was writing out the list, not only did I instinctively write "esky," but when I tried to remember the American word, it took me a good 20 seconds of thinking hard to come up with it.

I think I'm becoming indoctrinated.

*   darl = short for "darling."  Sounds like "doll," but with an "r" thrown in.

** cuppa = cup of tea

*** as I have explained previously, Aussies abbreviate everything.


  1. I love these posts because I learn more Aussie vocabulary. I have a cousin who is married to a man from Australia and they lived there for many years before coming to Atlanta where she teaches at Tech.

    I can't wait to hear how the Southern dialect and vocabulary change their speech over time.

    I haven't lost words so much as I've lost phrases. Or absorbed them, I guess.

    And I heard The Actor say "fixin' to" instead of "getting ready to."

    The change is happening.

  2. It will happen for sure. Before long, they'll notice their vowels lengthening and that "y'all" is somehow creeping into their vocabulary.

    I love the term "fixin' to." I find it incredibly charming. But then again, I love Southern accents (the more aristocratic drawls, not the mountain twang), so I miss that about living in Georgia.

  3. It is really, really interesting about words and accents. Among other things, I'm still left with UMbrella, rather than umBRELla, from my days at Carolina.

    And I couldn't read your prior post. I started to cry as soon as I opened it, and I just can't handle it, sweet as I know it is.

  4. Oh, I'm sorry it made you cry. Jason cried when he read it as well. I've read over it a couple of times in the last few days, mostly to look at the pictures, and now it just makes me smile, albeit with a little lump in my throat. He was such a hilarious, wonderful sweet dog.