The Null Device

Cactus or crackerjack?

With it being Australia Day/Invasion Day, here is an article about the state of Australian English today.

The gist of the article seems to be that Australian English's main defining characteristic is its wealth of earthily witty similes, metaphors and turns of phrase, a testimony to the locals' mischievous frankness and street-smarts.

Then there’s euphemisms and similes – that is, those excellent little sentences which draw on comparative comic images to tell an evocative story. Such as the bloke at the pub who dodges rounds, who wouldn’t shout if a shark bit him. Or the unfortunate lady with the face like a dropped pie. Whose husband is as ugly as a hatful of arseholes.
Many of these terms don’t use exclusively Australian words at all but are characterised by an Australian way of assembling words. Regardless of his politics, Paul Keating must be regarded as one of the great creators of Australian phraseology in our public life. When Malcolm Fraser’s lip trembled upon conceding defeat in 1983, Keating described the outgoing Liberal Prime Minister as “looking like an Easter Island statue with an arse full of razor blades”.
That and the fact that the pattern of Americanisation differs from that in British English (unlike Britons, Australians still wear jumpers rather than sweaters; however, they're likely to be shod in sneakers rather than trainers).

(One thing I've been wondering: when software is localised to both Australian and British English, do the localisations ever differ?)

There are 4 comments on "Cactus or crackerjack?":

Posted by: datakid pineappledonut.org Thu Jan 27 00:58:38 2011

Of course they would - Euro, pound, pence v dollars and cents. Potentially the only difference, but currency is one of the main factors for L10n.

Posted by: Bowie Thu Jan 27 05:54:16 2011

re:localisation: I can't stand Google renaming the Trash the Bin, despite the fact I'd never call the Bin the Trash.

Posted by: mark http://formonelane.net/ Thu Jan 27 07:38:51 2011

I'm pretty sure there'd be at least a small difference with things like "organised" (where the UK have dropped the 's' variant) and "programme" (where Australia are increasingly dropping the -me). Depends how cluey the localisers are, I suppose.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org/acb/ Sat Jan 29 20:48:00 2011

Has the American spelling "program" been officially adopted as a replacement for "programme"?

Another difference could be "triple" vs. "treble" (when spelling out phone numbers, for example).

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