G’day or Hello–which is it? A campaign

by Lee Hopkins on January 17, 2011 · 3 comments

in miscellaneous

About 15 years ago, whilst I was still living in England, Phillip Adams wrote a wonderful piece in (I think) The Australian about the death of the Australian language.

In his article he lamented the diminishing use of such colloquial phrases as, “fair suck of the sauce bottle/saveloy,” and “don’t come the raw prawn with me.”

I took his cri de coeur to heart. From then on I started saying “G’day” to people, both face to face and in print, and attempted to use one Aussie saying a day in order that our linguistic heritage alive.

Now, a disclaimer: I don’t do this because I’m a 5th generation Australian or anything (I was born just outside London, after all), but instead I do this because one of the things that endeared Australia to me when I moved here at the tender age of 10 was the fabulous new language to play with: ‘Austral-English.’

So for the last 15 years and into the foreseeable future, if you get an email from me the chances will be very good that if it has a greeting or salutation in it, it will be “G’day”, not the boring “Hello” that you can get from anyone anywhere in the world.

I don’t pepper my emails or pod/vidcasts with lashings of Australiana (that would turn them into parodies or else confuse the buggery out of anyone not from around these parts), but I do think it important enough to help keep alive the Australian language.

So, would you join me, please, in the ‘Keep Australiana Alive’ campaign. Membership is simple: use something distinctly Australian each day in one of your communications. It doesn’t have to be a media release to the whole world, but it can be something that helps keep alive the incredibly rich aural landscape that is dying around us.

If yours is an Australian company, or an overseas company dealing with/in Australia, wouldn’t it be bonzer to drop one word into a communication that helps keep alive such a rich linguistic heritage? Of course it would.

Good onya.

Tell me, what are some of your favourite aussie sayings?


  • Sjmoore325

    In the area I moved to in Tasmania, I have heard even young blokes address other blokes as ‘cobber’ and even ‘cobbs’! Another favourite of mine is ‘doing the Harold’. Australian history and an apt description all in one. I love all the different flavours of English, whether Australian, Indian, Canadian or Singaporean. Now I just need an Aussie way to say ‘vive la différence’.

  • Sue_Horner

    “Don’t come the rare prawn with me” — I love it! Not sure what it means though. You’d do the rest of the world a great favour if you would translate a few of the odd ones (“doing the Harold” is another!).

  • Lee Hopkins

    [in best Parker from Thunderbirds voice] As you wish, m’lady:

    “Don’t come the raw prawn with me” means “don’t try pulling the wool over my eyes”

    Harold Holt was one of our Prime Ministers. One day he took a swim in the ocean and was never seen again. So “doing a Harold” is short for ‘doing a Harold Holt’, which is in turn Aussie rhyming slang for ‘doing a bolt’ (aka doing a runner; disappearing without trace, etc)

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