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The things you take for granted

Posted by Lotg (OZ) on July 15, 2004

In Reply to: The things you take for granted posted by Gary Martin on July 15, 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).

: That's a good question. No answer from me but I can add this. In the UK nicknames are given to popular sportsmen and it's usually tabloid journalists who make them up. The 'o' or 'y' is only added to names of one syllable. E.g. from Manchetr United - Giggsy, Keano, Smithy, Scholesy and latterly Becksy (who migrated in tabloid terms from Beckham -> Becks -> Becksy). The choice of 'o' or 'y' seems arbitrary. The newspapers were given a test with the emegence of Wayne Rooney as someone they need to write into headlines. He has been taken the other way and the ultra-tabloid Sun now calls him 'Roon'.

Good point Gary, and it's no doubt due to our British heritage that we do this. But something else I've noticed, which is effectively what you're saying, is that when we create a nickname, it's not always to shorten the name. Some nicknames end up being longer or having more syllables than the original. Funny stuff.