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Foreign Language

“Look at her, a prisoner of the gutter. Condemned by every syllable she utters. By right, she should be taken out and hung! For the cold bloodied murder of the English tongue”. (From the musical, ‘My Fair Lady, the character Professor Higgins singing, ‘Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak.’)


It’s hard to imagine I would come to a country where English is one of its main languages, to find people still don’t understand me. At a large car wash in Winnipeg, its manager said to me courteously, “I’m sorry madam, but I didn’t understand a word you said to me. Would you repeat that?”


I realize his ear may not be accustomed to hearing English in a different accent. So, here are some differences in words between Australia and North America.


Really- the list is endless.


North America Australia North America Australia

candy lollies 2 weeks fortnight

fries’ chips shorts undies

tires tyres fields paddocks

Hi G’day flip flops thongs

comforter doona bathing suit bathers

gas petrol trunk boot

sweater jumper hood bonnet

bannock damper Inn/hotel pub

toque beanie have a nice day ‘ava good one

complain whinge canning bottling




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