Friday, December 01, 2006

Words you should know from my country - New Zealand

I remember hearing a story about an immigrant family recently arrived in New Zealand who were invited to a barbie. They were told to bring a plate. So the family turned up with an empty plate each for themselves thus causing great hilarity. “You see bring a plate” means bring a plate of food to share for a meal. Funny how as kiwis we take for granted that we think everyone knows what we mean. Some common words and phrases that you might hear in conversation between kiwis:

barbie: barbecue
bloke: usually a man, and often used when referring to a male stranger as in; "There's this bloke down the road who sells really nice pies.
brilliant: excellent; great; wonderful
bush: small and large trees and native plants densely packed together - sort of like a small forest.
cardy/cardie: short for cardigan, a woollen button-up-the-front jerseycheers:
goodbye or thanks or good luck.
chick: usually a female person when referring to female strangers, also used for women in general.
chick flick: usualy referring to a movie that girls like more than blokes, such as romantic movies
chocolate fish: a chocolate covered marshmallow fish. Also frequently given (literally or figuratively) as a reward for a job well done; as in "Good on ya, mate. You deserve a chocolate fish".
choice: very goodchuffed: pleased; as in "he was really chuffed"
crook: sick, unwell
cuppa: (cup of...) cuppa tea, cuppa coffee, cuppa milo
dodgy: bad, unreliable, spoiled; as in "that fish is a bit dodgy".
flash: sensational or "thats flash" meaning it looks really good.
good on ya, mate!: congratulations, well done
hottie: hot water bottle
hunky dory: everything's fine, as in "my life is hunky dory
jandals: sandals
kia ora: hello in Maori (often used by Kiwis in general), pronounced ki-o-ra
L&P: fizzy soda water, Lemon & Paeroa (L&P); originally lemon flavoured spring water from the town of Paeroa, but this is no longer the case
Maori: indigenous people of New Zealandmate:
buddie (common term, and can be used even with strangers) as in "how's it going mate" for "how are you"
pakeha: non-Maori person
she'll be right: not a problem, it'll be O.Ksweet: good, well (as in "I'm sweet" in response to "How's it going mate?")
sweet as: cool way of saying good, well, great, fine.... (pronounce 'sweet aaazz')
ta: Thanks
tea: dinner - generic name for evening meal
togs: swimsuit, bathing suit
wasted: tired, exhausted

So what is a Kiwi? Well there are two meanings for this word. There is the “Kiwi”, a New Zealander or a “Kiwi”, an endangered flightless bird native to New Zealand. Let me share with you a bit about the bird. The Kiwi is a flightless bird about the size of a domestic fowl. The kiwi has coarse, bristly, hair-like feathers. Females are larger than males. Kiwis grow to about the size of a chicken and weigh between three and nine pounds. They have no tail and tiny two inch wings which for all practical purposes, are useless. Despite its awkward appearance, a kiwi can actually outrun a human and have managed to survive because of their alertness and their sharp, three-toed feet, which enable them to kick and slash an enemy. The kiwi’s long slender bill has nostrils at the lower end. Using its excellent sense of smell and flexible bill, the kiwi feeds on worms, insects and grubs, supplemented by leaves, berries and seeds.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post! It's so neat to see that words we use everday might have a completely different meaning somewhere else. Interesting about the kiwi birds, too. Thanks for sharing!

6:44 PM  

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