REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Strewth cobber, revive some Aussie gold before it's cactus

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by ACM national agriculture reporter Chris McLennan.

Today we issue a call to arms to all Australians.

We urgently need more Australians to speak our language better.

If you can try a bit harder, or coach others on how to re-introduce some ockerisms back into their daily speak, well good on ya.

You may have noticed, as I have, the art of speaking Australian is being lost.

Just because we have the Union Jack tucked away into a corner of our flag doesn't mean were need to be fluent in the Queen's English.

Ask an American whether they speak English, no they insist in unflinching patriotic belief, we speak American.

Australians can speak more Australian, we just need to try harder.

Bonzer is a ripper word to bring back into general usage.

Bonzer, if you don't know, means excellent and has a lovely feel as it trips off the tongue. It is fun to say.

You don't have to overdo it and sound like a drongo or a throwback to the 1970s Barry McKenzie (The Adventures of ...).

Beaut, is a handy shorthand response without becoming you beaut.

"Wrap your laughing gear around that", might be a bit much you may think. But how colourful is some of the local slang which has died out.

My personal favourite is "crooked as a dog's hind leg", to describe anything not straight.

"Handy as half an inch of string," is another which was dealt a blow by the coming of metrics. Although I still love it when I hear people describe a local country road, as the two chain road.

A chain was a unit of measure in the Imperial, about a cricket pitch long, or 20 metres in the new.

"No worries," is still well used, I am happy to say. "She'll be right," or "ripsnorter" is also still popular.

"Fair suck of the sauce bottle," not so much but "fair go" is still about.

"It's a dog's breakfast," describes anything which is a mess. Dogs seem to get a bad rap you could well think.

"Crikey" is another fave.

Calling a person a "galah" could mean all sorts of things from endearment but was usually directed at an idiotic act. They could be "a dag" as well.

People still stop for mid-morning and mid-avo breaks for their "smoko" even though not a lot of folk are smoking anymore but downing a latte.

"There was the width of a cigarette paper in it," was used to describe a narrow result but again many people might not know what a cigarette paper is any more.

There are some more fruity items in our vocabulary.

"Bloody oath," or "dinkum" which means yes, but with so much more colour.

"Hard yakka" was pinched by marketing types for popular workwear. There's "tucker", which means food, or "rooted" to describe being worn out.

"Sheila" to describe a girl or woman would appall most today but saying something was "iffy", or risky, still has a place in the modern world.

There's still more.

If you hang around some older types, Anzac Day ceremonies are good places for eavesdropping, or bowls clubs, you can brush up on your linguistic skills.

Anyway, I hope you all having a ripper day and please make sure you startle a few in the family with a "bonzer" or two some time soon.

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