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The things you take for granted

Posted by Lotg (OZ) on July 14, 2004

Recently a friend who was an ex-pat Aussie who lived in the U.S. for 30 years has sold up and returned to Australia. (Is there such a thing as a returned ex-pat???).

Anyway, he's been in America for so long, that although his accent is still really quite Australian (with only tiny American inflections occasionally), he doesn't speak Australian any more. And he has to re-learn our language.

That is, he calls mobile phones - cell phones, chemists - drug stores, etc. But one of the biggest things he's noticing that he'd forgotten about, is our habit of nicknaming pretty well everything.

eg. A service station (gas station to you Yanks), is a servo, a Bowling Club is a bowlo, even suburb names such as Hazelbrook become Hazo. But then there's things like Brissy (Brisbane), pressy (present), etc.

He asked the very deep and searching question - what is the rule that decides when a slang term ends in an 'o', and when it ends in 'y' - ie. Hazo vs Brissy (both names of locations)?

Well I haven't got the faintest idea. It's just one of those things you grow up knowing. But are there any Aussies out there who know how these things have evolved, and whether there is in fact any rule (seems unlikely, but you never know).