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Say My Name in Australian

July 15, 2014

Ok…before you go trying to find an Australian-American translation guide, let me admit that there is no such thing. (I don’t think. Although there should be.) We all speak English, so Regina in Australian is…Regina. It’s actually kind of an inside joke. When my sister first started dating her husband (who is Australian) a friend of ours asked him to say her name in Australian. She was actually serious. What she MEANT was she wanted to hear him pronounce her name because he has an accent. (But that’s not what she SAID…so we laughed at her. And she laughed with us so it was ok.)

I flew to Australia 2 weeks ago to support my sister as my niece had another spinal surgery. (If you want to know more about Zoe’s cancer journey, you can read about it here.) It wasn’t a planned trip, but it was a needed one. No matter how commonplace hospitals become (and they are pretty routine for our family), it’s never easy to watch your baby go into surgery. It’s never, ever painless to hold her while she cries and goes to sleep. So I flew to the other side of the world where a piece of my heart lives to hold hands, dry tears and share smiles. When Zoe was in radiation, we made a new friend whose daughter was also in treatment. She and my sister developed what they call “tumor humor” and could be found most mornings cheering each other up in the pediatric radiation waiting area while others looked on wondering what there could possibly be to laugh about in such a place. But that’s just it. There’s all kinds of stuff to laugh about it if you look. There’s always a reason to smile if you don’t take things too seriously and let yourself find one. Or in our case…HEAR one…

This was my first visit to Australia – in person. I’ve visited often via FaceTime, but there are some things about the world you can never understand until you experience them. Knowing ABOUT something is vastly different than smelling, tasting, feeling and hearing it. I’ve heard many an Australia accent and seen movies. While it may sound different, I assumed English is English wherever you speak it. Let me assure you, it is not. The translation guide I mentioned before…there should really be one of those. While Vikki notices differences in our cultures, she has become so accustomed that she often breezes past them. I, on the other hand, was new and don’t exactly have a “let things breeze past” kind of personality. My intention in flying to see my family was to support and love on them – to help them smile even through a difficult time. But we did more than smile. We laughed til it hurt – at the hospital, in the middle of  Big W (Wal-Mart), on the tram… Some of the words they use for an item are (in my very American opinion) made up. Others are words we use but have different meanings. Imagine my surprise when my niece picked something up in a store and asked to take a rubber to school!

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites for you. I just jotted them down as they came, so in no particular order, I give you:
Regina’s Unofficial Australia-American Translation Guide (with intermittent commentary)

Rubber – eraser (which made my 7-year-old niece asking for one make more sense)
Cockle – muscle (like the seafood)
Capsicum – bell pepper
Layby – lay away
Veg – vegetables (because saying those last 2 syllables is just  too much)
Rubbish – trash
Bin – trash can
Jocks – boys underwear
Panties – lingerie (not the romantic kind if you catch my drift. Most definitely NOT what little girls wear)
Gurnsey – jersey
Tracky daks – sweat pants (I still say that’s made up. Has to be)
Jumper – sweatshirt, sweater, light jacket
Sparky – electrician
Runners – sneakers/tennis shoesAusFlag
Sauce – ketchup
Chips – French fries
Biscuits/bikkies – cookies
Budgie smugglers – men’s speedo (No. Just no.)
Bather – swim suit
Arvo – afternoon
Maccas – McDonald’s
Brekkie – breakfast
Pageant – parade
Disco – school dance
Mobile – cell phone
Footy – Australian rules football (soccer + football + rugby in shorts I personally think are too short)
Gridiron – American football
Net ball – sport girls play like basketball but not
Trolley – shopping cart
Rat bag/dag – term of endearment (I pleaded with them to not use this one. Children should not be rat bags. Ever.)
Choc – chocolate (again….chocolate was too difficult)
Crisp – chips
Lemonade – sprite (I asked. They don’t have what we call lemonade. Which is just sad.)
Icy pole – Popsicle
100’s & 1000’s – sprinkles (like on a cupcake)
Nappy – diaper
Dummy – pacifier
Restroom – toilet
Plaster – band aid
Bottle shop – liquor store
Pasty – pie
Lolly – candy
Car park – parking lot
Fairy floss – cotton candy
Bum nuts – eggs (that’s just wrong. I’m not going into why because my mom reads my blog but…no…)

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  • Reply Tony July 16, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Look up Strine dictionary. Full bottle on Aussie slang words. If you streeeeettttccchhh Australian – orstrooliiiooonnn you can soon hear the word Strine!!!!!!

    • Reply Regina August 11, 2014 at 9:42 am

      This will be a must-have before my next visit! Thank you, Tony!! 😉

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