martedì, dicembre 28, 2010

Talking Australian Part 1

So having arrived in the professional middle class, I've got a Blackberry, and it's really great. I had no choice of which sort of clever phone to buy, as work dictated it, and what we do is so very very secret that we needed all the secretude inherent in Canada's finest export since the Diva Cup.

But I am enjoying it, and that in ways that really disgust me as an anarcho-syndicalist. Enjoying flying the flag a bit, although I'm sure it was made somewhere in Asia, and enjoying the entire mobile internet experience, and enjoying having a keypad, and most WTF??? branding isn't supposed to work on me of all, really enjoying it not being an iPhone, so that everybody knows I'm a grown-up, and not a spoiled teenager whose helicopter parents got them one for Christmas.

Anyways while it's the greatest thing since sliced bread etc. the thing that I like most about it is Word Mole, a game where you find words in a jumble of letters, which is the greatest thing since Viz magazine to enjoy while you're in the crapper. (Please ask to borrow my phone.) And initially the worst thing about Word Mole, but now one of the more useful things, is it has a Grade 5 vocabulary, and rejects me when I try to spell words like 'byzantine' or 'odoriferous'. And that is useful because I live in Australia, and when I say words like 'byzantine' or 'odoriferous', people's eyes get this look of sort of panicked blankness and the thread of the conversation grows dangerously taut.


I'm not saying Australians are ignorant; at least I'm not saying that at the moment. I have vague memories of the same thing happening in England and I know in Canada I lapse into Canadian. When I caught myself calling menstrual cramps 'the crampy things you get every month' to a girl here because I suspected she wouldn't recognize the word 'menstrual', it was only awkward because I don't know the jargon here yet; in Canada I probably wouldn't have said 'menstrual' either, I'd have said 'the curse', as unembracing of our mighty feminine powers as that word is.

But the thing is when you live in an expatriate community, as in Belgium, either everyone has English as a second language so they just learn new words, or they're educated, multi-lingual Anglos who also know lots of words. By that token I'm really not sure it's Australia I'm linguistically adjusting to now, so much as being sedentary.

Anyways, the F-word is lapsing into Australian, of course, as would be predicted. Yesterday I heard him say 'yiz', in the sense of 'youse guys', ex. "it'd be great if yiz (Can.: youse guys)'d come for a visit". Jesus. In revenge, I taught his three year old cousin to say 'tomato' the right, Canadian way.