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Whoop Whoop

Whoop Whoop: the middle of nowhere.

I have a theory about the origin of this phrase. A lot of Australian place names derive from Aboriginal words, and this sounds a lot like a typical Aboriginal place name. In fact, it might even be one. I don't know. Anyway, Cityrail (the Sydney rail network) had an advertisement for a long time that said "Wagga Wagga, Woy Woy, Wee Wah (argh, I'm sure that's spelt wrong), Whoop Whoop" - meaning, basically, that they go anywhere, but you see the naming pattern.

For parabasis, I'll make a stab at the pronunciation.
The h is silent as in 'what', and the oo sound is the oo from 'look' (not 'boot'). There is possibly a slightly greater syllabic emphasis on the first 'whoop'.

Bloke, Sheila

These might as well share a post, since they seem to have the same sort of folklore status. Once again, this is a comment more on usage than definitions, because I figure nobody's in doubt as to what they mean.

Bloke: a man

Sheila: a woman

OK, here's the thing. You could get away with 'bloke' in everyday speech. It's not a ubiquitous term, but it won't raise any eyebrows. Using 'Sheila' would either brand you as someone from the country, or a try-hard (or a big ponce :)). I don't know anyone who uses Sheila in speech.

Flat out

I wouldn't normally have defined this, except, well, it's one of those phrases which make my friends go "huh?" - so I suppose it is Aussie slang and is herewith defined.

Flat out: insanely busy.

"I would have called, but I've been flat out all day."

Fairdinkum

I can't believe that google does not pull up a single definition for this term (although I did find two alternative spellings: fairdinkum and fair dinkum).

This is one of those words that has 'Australian' stamped all over it. It's also used fairly sparingly in conversation, although you wouldn't be shot for saying it.

Once again, it's one of those words that's hard to define precisely (which is why I was googling it in the first place). It can mean genuine, real, as in:

Are you being fairdinkum?

It's quite often used as an exclamation, and can be used on its own, particularly with an emphasis on the last part. Fair-DINKUM! In that case, it's synonymous with awesome, or 'you've got to be kidding me', depending on the usage.

Then again, it can also be used to mean 'genuinely Australian', particularly in advertising.

Phew, I think that's as close to nailing it as I'm going to get. Once again, if any Australians ever want to weigh in on this one, I'm open to suggestions.

G'day

I figure that nobody reading this will be in any doubt as to the meaning of G'day (if you are, it's a contraction of 'good day'), but it might be interesting to talk about its usage.

G'day is by no means a ubiquitous term. Many people say 'hi' instead, but it's not a rare greeting, and it certainly doesn't raise any eyebrows or prompt any accusations of attempting to appear ocker.

Of course, I am a bit biassed with this term. It's my standard greeting. :)

True Blue

Well, since I promised you definitions of Australian slang terms, I suppose it's time to move off the topic of television and back to the language.

True blue: Someone or something that is quintessentially Australian.

The most famous use of this term, I suppose, is in John Williamson's song entitled, (wait for it) 'True Blue'. John Williamson, for all you non-Aussies is a country singer who I personally believe should write the songs and then let someone else sing them. Good lord, the accent!

I expect a fan of his will come along and shoot me for saying that. Anyway, if you're interested, the song can be heard here - and don't say I didn't warn you.

It must be TV day!

I came across this funny and scarily accurate guide to writing your own Australian TV drama.

Enjoy! Then go watch 'A Country Practice', or 'Blue Heelers' or your other favourite Australian TV drama, and see how very true this is....

Shameless plug time!

Background first: in Australia there are three major commercial TV networks - the nine, seven and ten networks. Then there's SBS, which caters to other languages and cultures, and then there's the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission), run by the government. There's also a bunch of cable TV stations, but they don't really count, because a lot of people don't have cable TV. Anyway, cable TV stations are special interest, (just news, just sport, etc), so I'm not going to discuss them. Not here, anyway.

Funnily enough, the ABC seems to have a lot more freedom to poke fun at pretty well anyone than any of the three commercial stations (run privately, but go figure). For my money, this is the best show on Australian television. I don't know for sure, but I'd say it would almost have to be an original Australian concept. I post it wondering if it's a little too Australian to make a lot of sense to anyone outside the country. Certainly, you'd have to know what's making news in Australia to get some of the jokes.

Having posted all this, I've wandered over to wikipedia, which does indeed have an entry on the show, and it looks like non-Australians may not be able to access all the podcasts. They do have limited access, however, and they're certainly worth a look.

What appeals to me about this show is just how much you can get away with if you keep a straight face and have enough gall to follow it through.

Boofhead

Wow, this is one of my favourite Australian slang words. It's just so descriptive, but not easily defined. I've been thinking for about 24 hours about how to define it, and eventually, I resorted to a google search. That came up with this:

1. a stupid person; fool. 2. person or animal with a large head. 3. A cartoon character appearing during the 1940s in the Sydney Daily Mirror.

Boo, hiss. This doesn't do justice to the word.

I think of boofhead as being a fairly affectionate term. I can't imagine anyone saying it with any venom. It does kind of mean 'a stupid person', and it does sort of mean someone with a large head. It reminds me of footy players with those thick necks. This isn't to say they're stupid, mind you, (although they do play football. You do the math), just that when I think of boofhead, that's the image that comes directly to mind.

Me, I wouldn't be insulted if someone called me a boofhead, although it strikes me as a term inapplicable to women. Let's define it as 'twit', and if any Australians who might wander in have any other thoughts on it, I'll update the definition.

This isn't a term I hear very often, so, if you come to visit, don't make it your every second word. :)

Post a question!

Have you ever heard an Australian phrase and wondered what it meant? Well, wonder no longer. Simply reply to this post with the phrase you want defined, and I'll do my best to explain it to you.