What’s with our love of shortening phrases?

Barbie, anybody, however be careful for the mozzies!

Brekkies, barbies, mozzies: Aussies can’t appear to get sufficient of shortened phrases, write KATE BURRIDGE and HOWARD MANNS.

AUSTRALIANS positive do like these brekkies, barbies and mozzies.

We’re not speaking about “precise” mozzies right here. We’re defo (positively) speaking about phrases — and Aussies can’t appear to get sufficient of those shortened phrases.

Some say we’re lazy for clipping them. Others declare it’s simply Aussies knocking phrases right down to measurement – ta, we’ll have a glass of cab sav or savvy b as an alternative of no matter that’s in French.

Our most beloved shortenings finish in -ie/y and -o. Journos typically ask us why Aussies use them, and whether or not they’ll final. Effectively, not solely are we nonetheless utilizing them, seppos (Individuals) and pommies (Brits) are becoming a member of the motion, too.

Right here’s an uplifting story on your hollies (holidays) about Australia’s “unbelievable shrinking phrases”.

Endings that bond and bind us

These different types of phrases are sometimes described as “diminutives” (or hypocoristics).

Pet names with such endings can present now we have a heat or just pleasant angle towards one thing or somebody (consider the -s on Cuddles). Actually, on names, -ie/y and -o are sometimes affectionate (suppose Susy and Robbo).

However the overwhelming majority of Aussie diminutives are doing one thing completely different.

Certainly, saying journo or pollie doesn’t normally point out we’re pondering of journalists and politicians as small and endearing issues. These “diminutives” are additionally a world away from the birdies and doggies of the nursery. Grownup Australians would possibly cheerfully discuss blowies and trackies, however not birdies and doggies — nicely, except it’s on the golf course or maybe in reference to the Western Bulldogs getting a specky (spectacular mark).

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For Australian Nationwide College linguist Anna Wierzbicka, these expressions are among the many most culturally salient options of Australian English — expressions of informality and solidarity which can be “uniquely suited to the Anglo-Australian ethos […] and elegance of interplay”.

Experiments by Australian linguists have empirically confirmed the social results of those embellished phrases. Colloquialisms comparable to barbie and smoko are like accents – a part of the glue that sticks Australian English audio system collectively.

Are -ie/y endings darlings or weaklings?

Diminutives can die out after they tackle the burden of latest social meanings. One of many oldest endings (discovered way back to Anglo-Saxon instances) is -ling. We see it nonetheless on phrases like twinkling and darling. Nonetheless, by trendy instances it had flipped and grow to be contemptuous, particularly when used of people (consider weakling and underling).

In distinction to -ling, our -ie/-y endings carry necessary, optimistic meanings, and there’s no signal but that we’re giving up on them. These sunnies, scungies, boardies, cozzies, stubbies and trackies are nonetheless the stuff of our sartorial summer season vogue.

Slang would possibly come and go, however the course of that transforms sun shades into sunnies and tracksuit pants into trackies continues to thrive.

So thriving in actual fact are these expressions that some are amongst Australia’s profitable exports. Worldwide celebrities embrace greenie, pollie, surfie, mozzie, budgie (and its offshoot budgie smugglers).

And let’s not overlook the linguistic rockstar that’s selfie – its meteoric rise to stardom in 2013 noticed it topped Phrase of the Yr by Oxford Dictionaries, and in addition by the Van Dale dictionary within the Netherlands.

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We’re, nonetheless, continually refreshing our inventory of -ie/y phrases. Lots of the gems in Wendy Allen’s ‘80s assortment of youth slang in Melbourne (Teenage speech) have bitten the mud (for instance, scottie from “he’s bought no associates” -> “s’bought no associates” -> “s’bought + ie”).

However the second version of the “Australian Nationwide Dictionary” exhibits us what number of -ie/y phrases have proliferated for the reason that ‘80s/‘90s (firie, tradie, trackie daks).

Bottle-o, milko and smoko: nonetheless alive-o?

That different long-time favorite ending -o happens all around the English-speaking world. Nonetheless, because the “Oxford English Dictionary” describes, its use “is particularly related to Australia”.

The earliest Australian examples (like milko, rabbito, bottle-o) date from the nineteenth century and are abbreviated nouns referring to an individual’s commerce (“milkman”, “rabbit-seller” “bottle-collector”). Generally they seem with -oh due to their affiliation with avenue calls, and this use is outdated – consider these cockles and mussels of 18th century London, all very a lot “alive, alive-oh”.

Our love of this -o suffix may owe one thing to Irish English. Nonetheless, Australian linguist Jane Simpson factors out it has a lot wider functions in Australia (and New Zealand), as proven by place names comparable to Rotto (Rottnest Island), Freo (Fremantle), Paddo (Paddington) and customary nouns comparable to compo (compensation), ambo (ambulance driver) and bowlo (bowling membership). And we’re exporting these too – demo, preggo and muso have made it into the broader world.

As with -ie/y endings, our -o endings don’t appear to be going anyplace in a rush. Nonetheless, their long-term survival appears barely much less assured than -ie/y. We’re nonetheless seeing newer coinages (comparable to housos), however a 2011 examine suggests younger individuals is likely to be utilizing this one lower than earlier generations.

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Rellies or rellos, garbies or garbos: is there a sample?

There are wharfies and truckies however not wharfos and truckos; garbos and musos however not garbies and musies. Individuals who journey bikes are usually bikers; those that belong to motorbike gangs are typically bikies.

So what’s unsuitable with bikos? And why are there gaps? Those that construct homes are neither buildos nor buildies.

Undoubtedly there are nuanced variations of which means concerned right here. Does weirdie describe unconventional individuals extra affectionately than weirdo, and even bizarre individual? Actually there’s a world of distinction between the sicko (psychologically sick individual) and the sickie (depart you’re taking once you’re sick – or is that once you’re not sick?).

You inform us: do you favor a lammo or a lammie for the small chocolate and coconut–coated cake? And are members of your loved ones rellos or rellies? There’s a number of lexicographers, linguists and different phrase nerds who haven’t figured this out.The Conversation

Kate Burridge, Professor of Linguistics, Monash College and Howard Manns, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, Monash College. This text is republished from The Dialog.

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Ian Meikle, editor