The Write Way
Friday 21 July 2000
Over the past couple of weeks, we've been delving into the Wonderful World of Cultural Differences, so what better way to conclude than with idioms!
An idiom is defined as "a form of expression, phrase, peculiar to a language or dialect" (with "peculiar" being the operative word!)
Idioms vary in their degree of "peculiarity" - I especially enjoy our Australian idioms, so for those who will be visiting us for the Olympics (in the flesh or "televisionally"), here are a few classic Aussie idioms (some of these may be shared with other cultures):
As popular as a blowie at a butcher's picnic ("blowies" are large, slow flies - sort of the 747s of the insect world) - this is used to describe someone whose presence is not universally welcomed!
As flash as a rat with a gold tooth - to describe someone who's feeling ver-r-r-ry pleased with him/herself
She'll be right - self-explanatory
Glad rags - dressed up in party clothes
Done up like a dish of fish - dressed in best clothes
Silly galah - galahs are medium sized pink and grey parrots that really appreciate the trouble farmers go to, to provide them with seed and grain
Stone the crows - exclamation to denote surprise or amazement
Fair dinkum - anything that is genuine or real; or exclamation to denote exasperation / amazement / admiration ... just about anything really
Dinky-di - (pronounced dinky-dye) same as fair dinkum
Ridgy-didge - same as fair dinkum
Struth - exclamation of amazement / exasperation ...
Sheilas are women
Chooks lay eggs
Old chook - can be a term of endearment men use for women (hey, this is Australia!)
This week's quiz:
It's been a while since we paid a visit to the wonderful world of gender ... fill in the gaps:
Janet sent me this: "Here's one that is not based in language differences but in different marketing research styles across international boundaries...I am American living in Australia. Here in Australia there is a beer called XXXX (pronounced Four X)....they didn't understand at first why their product did not sell well in America until someone pointed out that in America, 4X was a condom brand.
Just something to add to your collection."
(We have a brand of sticky tape out here called, "Durex" which I believe is also a brand of condom in other parts of the world.)
Here's a follow-up to one of ourearlier discussions about football and cricket:
"Several issues back you said, with tongue in cheek I am sure, that Australians would consider American football as pointless. I would point out to your international readers that the whole point of our football game is for "our" team to win the game by more "points" than the other team gets. A "rushing goal" (brute force) gets six points; the kicker (a team specialist) tries to make one more point by kicking the ball between the goal posts; if the offensive team runs out of time before scoring a six-point goal, the kicker tries to kick a "field goal" of three points from the present position of the ball on the field. Also I should point out that the officials make a point of watching all 24 players (both teams) during the plays, for rule infractions (illegal actions), and when an official spots a foul he throws a small cloth "flag" in the direction of the guilty player, as he points his finger at that man while loudly blowing his whistle. If the excited guilty player protests to the official, and especially if he points with his finger pressed against the official's chest, then the official points sternly to the side line and tells the player that he is ejected.
"And then, of course, the coaches point at their players and thousands of fans point at the officials when they have made "bad calls" against "our" guys, and so on. In fact, the main point is that a "pointless" game would be extremely boring and many fans would decided that there is no point in attending such games.
"While stationed in the Calcutta area during WWII, I used to see men and boys batting at balls with big wide boards. Boy, talk about pointless! :)" (Win Hamm, dedicated fan of the New England Patriots professional football team.)
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Last week's quiz:
Something a tad more taxing this week ... correct the following sentences:
1. He is the STRONGER of the two brothers.
2. There were FEWER people at the beach today.
3. My friend and I are having lunch at the park tomorrow.
4. WHO do they think they were?
5. He is much taller than I.
6. ANY of these three candidates would make a good treasurer.
7. It's I!
8. He SWAM across the river.
9. There's been an accident - come QUICKLY!
10.I'm SO tired, I could sleep for a week.
Word of the week: estivate (ES-tuh-vayt) to spend the summer
Also spelled "aestivate," this word comes from Latin "aestivare," meaning "to reside during the summer." It's also a zoological term used in connection with certain animals that spend the summer in a dormant state.
Tautology of the week: I read that some car manufacturers are trying to build longevity into their cars because they want them to last into the future.
This week's Latin phrase is for those who like to watch the golf (what is it that propels men [yes, and sometimes women] to chase balls around grassy fields?)
Fortunatus sum! Pila mea de gramine horrido modo in pratum lene recta volvit! (Isn't that lucky! My ball just rolled out of the rough and onto the fairway!)
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