Why Strayan English Is The Best Bloody Kind Of Talking There Is
It should be no surprise that a study has found that immigrants from non-English speaking backgrounds adopt Australian idioms more readily than those from Anglophone countries.
For a start, English-speaking immigrants tend to be from places like England, America, or New Zealand -- places that are quite famous for being up themselves.
"Up themselves" is of course just one example of the wonderful Australianisms that newcomers to this country, unburdened by past immersion in inferior versions of English, embrace so wholeheartedly.
And why not? Imagine the awe-inspiring sense of freedom that must come from arriving in a new land and discovering the stunning beauty of a language that allows you, without fear of ostracism or judgment, to say, "That bloke's a bit up himself, isn't he?"
No other country offers such freedom. Is it any wonder we are a popular destination for migrants when our vernacular is so rich, so evocative, and -- yes, dammit, I'll say it -- so seductive?
This study merely confirms what we've known all along: Australian English is the best kind of talking there is, and only those with the crippling insecurity that comes from speaking worse kinds of English even pretend to deny it.
Is there anything, anywhere in the world, to compare with the elegance of "yeah, nah"?
The genius of "yeah, nah" inheres in the fact that its whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Combine a negative and an affirmative and you might expect them to cancel each other out, but the alchemical wonder of Australianism produces something that is greater than either affirmative or negative, something that rejects a proposition in more powerful terms than a simple negation, while retaining at its core the kind of positivity that prevents the rejected from feeling marginalized.
"Yeah, nah" we say, and everyone understands that something special has happened.
It's actually quite harrowing to imagine what it must be like to grow up not speaking Australian.
My heart bleeds for anyone who went their entire childhood without ever saying, "Mum'll go mental". A tear pricks the corner of my eye when I think of those poor souls who have never experienced the warmth and comfort of the phrase "No wuckers".
How do you get by from day to day, facing life's constant tribulations, without that classically Australian expression that is calculated to ease the nerves and lower the blood pressure? What is it like to spend every day of your life fearing that there may, in fact, be wuckers?
We are justly proud of our Australian dialect, as we are of our marsupials. Just as nowhere else in the world can produce koalas, nowhere else in the world can produce dunnies, eskies or tinnies.
But it's important that, having been given the gift of Australianism, we do not behave selfishly with it. We should always be willing to share our fragrant language with the world, and thereby make that world a better one.
For it is indisputable that, if the rest of the world took a more Australia slant in its dialogue, our situation as a species would be much improved.
Think of the belligerence of world leaders. Think of how tensions would be soothed if they could refer to each other as "old mate".
"Old mate" can never be an enemy. You can't say "We will not sit idly by and allow this display of unprovoked aggression from old mate". The words just won't go together.
Once you start using "old mate", everything gets kinder and matier and you say things instead like "I'm sure if old mate swings round after work we'll have a couple of frothies and get this military buildup palaver sorted."
It'll go even better if everyone's wearing trackie daks.
Everywhere the world is filled with passionate yet empty debate that gets us nowhere, as provocation piles on provocation and personal animosity makes constructive discussion impossible. Imagine if disputes could be defused with a simple "get your hand off it".
"We must urgently address rising inequality"
"But there is a real risk to economic growth --"
"Ah, get your hand off it."
"Yeah, fair call. Let's see what we can do."
A quick "get your hand off it", and suddenly rhetorical deadwood is cleared and we can get on with it. All it took was a little Australianism.
Leaders around the world -- hell, leaders in our own country even -- have yet to realize the simple power of our idiom, but we live in hope that they will.
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In the meantime, we can be proud and delighted that those who come across the seas so eagerly pick up the lingo. And pray that more will soon come to know the pleasures of chucking a sickie, having a pash, and bringing a plate.
Then perhaps, there truly will be no wuckers. Fucken oath.