Tassie Talk


The Australian Scout camp story starting on page 20 was written by an American and reads somewhat like other Scout camp stories. However, these Scouts do not sound like most English-speaking Scouts. They are proud of their own peculiar derivative of English. They love to shorten words and phrases. They form words closer to the fronts of their mouths so that “day” sounds more like “dai.” They coin many nicknames, and they often leave out vowels and consonants alike. Here are some of the more common words and phrases used at camp:

Blokes: Guy or person, as in, “Look at those blokes.”

Harya: Aussie for “How are you?”

Drongo: Means about the same as galah—another noisy bird.

Dinkum: Genuine, the real article.

Shooting through: Leaving camp without permission.

Battery hens: Chickens or laying hens that are confined in small cages and not allowed to roam.

Caution, penguins crossing: Conveys meaning similar to, “Look out for your life,” or “the Scouts are stampeding for dinner.” On some beaches in Australia, the penguins come out of the water in droves and march along together, turning neither left nor right for people on the beach.

Youse: You, as in, “I want to talk to youse.”

Tassie: Tasmania.

Joey: A baby kangaroo still living in its mother’s pouch.

PHD: Initials for what the boys call each other in jest, “a poor, homeless delinquent.”

Chock-a-block: Completely, the maximum, as in, “I’ve put away so much tucker I’m stuffed chock-a-block.”

Galah: Silly, stupid. The term is derived from galah parrot, a pink and gray parrot that travels in flocks and is considered extremely stupid.

Breakoff: Command given to dismiss formation. (“Dismissed!”)

Stand easy: At ease.

Moosh: Mouth.

Tucker: Food.

Blues or Bluie: A redhead.

Mob: Group or herd, usually used to talk about sheep. “We are moving the mob tomorrow.”

Track: Trail.

Vegemite: A vegetable- and yeast-derived product used as a bread spread that seems universally loved by Australians and hated by foreigners.

On parade: Command given to assemble Scouts. Equivalent to “Fall in.”

Troop alert: Attention!

Strine: This is how the word Australian sounds when it is pronounced with a true dinkum Aussie accent.

[photos] Photos by Brian K. Kelly