Wednesday, 17 June 2009

What's in a word?

Language is a funny thing. There are all kinds of odd phrases that I’ve encountered in Australia that I’d never come across before. For example,

“skin in the game” – means you have a real commitment to something because you have put either money or something else into it

“runs on the board” – means you’ve got some results

“the rubber has to hit the road” – means it’s time to stop talking and get some results (runs on the board) – apparently more likely to happen if you’ve got skin in the game!

“I’m over it” – means I’ve had enough!

Kevin Rudd, the Aussie PM, has been getting a bit of a hard time in the press recently for his inappropriate use of Aussie idioms. Most of the time he talks in bureaucratic techno-speak, giving the impression he’s regurgitated a public policy journal (e.g. “what drives our government is one central organising principle blah blah blah) But he peppers this with ‘everyday’ phrases, apparently designed to make him seem like an ordinary Aussie bloke (think Tony Blair clutching his mug of Tetley outside Downing St and dropping his t’s and you’ll get the picture).

On a recent appearance on Sunrise, Australia’s equivalent of GMTV (well, except it makes GMTV look like Newsnight), he said he wanted all Australians to have a “fair shake of the sauce bottle” three times and this has caused much hilarity in the media because (apparently) this is something that hasn’t been in popular speech since the 1970s (I have no idea what it’s supposed to refer to!)

Anyway, just a little flavour of Aussie lingo for you!

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