Being a Norwegian living in australia, I sometimes happen upon words and sayings that blow my mind. I either don’t understand their meaning, or they mean something different to me, so I get confused, or they’re hilariously correct or confusing. We learned a lot about the English language in Norway, but never about these things. I have therefore started this series of posts, trying to explain some of these, from a foreigners point of view, and who knows; it may help someone else!
Today’s list of wacky words is:
- Bob’s your uncle
- Down yonder
- Bottle shop
(Photo stolen from google some time ago, so don’t remember where it came from. Sorry.)
I’ve started out with some basics. Many of these are quite known as Aussie sayings, so I thought they’d be a good starter. Here’s how I’d explain them:
- Bob’s your uncle is one of those that makes no sense at all. I don’t have an uncle called Bob. I don’t know anyone with an uncle named Bob. But this saying often comes after explaining how something’s done, and ‘Bob’s your uncle’ is kinda the ‘and that’s how it’s done’ in other countries. Finito, done – everything is great. And if you have an uncle named Bob – then good for you:)
- In most English-speaking countries, thongs are underpants. For women, mostly. But the Australian thong goes on your foot. I would call them flip-flops, slippers, sandals – but hey, I’m not Aussie!
- Aah. I remember when I learned about down yonder. I have never been there, and I don’t know if you ever can. You see, down yonder is any place that is far away, but not really quite sure where. So whenever you get close, down yonder would move. So I can’t go down yonder. Bugger.
- The hilarious simpleness of Australians manifest itself when it comes to words like ‘Bottle shop’. In my country it’s called ‘vinmonopol’, in Sweden it’s ‘systembolag’ and I’m quite sure they call it ‘liquor store’ in the US. But you do buy bottles. Filled with alcohol.
- I think many people know what a barbie is, but it is so australian I am adding it anyway. Obviously it’s a shortening of the word barbecue. Not the doll, to avoid any confusion.
These are my interpretations, after living with an Australian for five years and more, I get new ones all the time!