DAY 210: Inventing a phrase and getting it in the public vernacular

29 Mar

MATT Zurbo enjoys making up new vocab and dropping it insidiously into the kids’ books he writes (get ’em while they’re young). He suggests I have a whirl. “Stop trying to sell me a fart in a bottle,” he demonstrates.

We’re leaning towards the ocker end of the spectrum, because Matt laments the lost art of Aussie slang and detests Americanisms. He reserves particular ire for the use of “dude” over “cobber”, “gum” above “chewie”… “And if you’re going to root for me it better be something to do with sex,” he thunders.

With this in mind, I come up with:

yank-off (n) An Australian who insists on talking in Americanisms, i.e. “I know, riiiight?” instead of “Oath!” and “Who knew?” instead of “Fucked if I know.”
Usage: “Did you hear those yank-offs talking about Jersey Shore on the tram?”

bon scotts (n, pl) Weighty testicles visible through tight jeans.
Usage: “Shit, mate, put on some undies – your bon scotts are scaring the tackers.”

That sorted, I send them off to Urban Dictionary and add them to the Wikipedia entries for ‘Yankee’ and ‘Bon Scott’. Now it’s official.

Great slang-merchants in history

  • Linguist Anthony Burgess invented teenage language “nadsat” in his cult novel A Clockwork Orange, drawing from Russian, German, Cockney rhyming slang and the King James Bible. His “humble narrator”, Alex, detested “droogs”, thought ultraviolence was “horrorshow” and would ejaculate “yarbles!” or even “great bolshy yarblocks!” when provoked. I’ve regularly thieved bits throughout my writing career.
  • Chaucer’s a fag to read indeed, but as any school kid will tell you, you’ll come across quaint words like “cunt” in curriculum text Canterbury Tales, written in the 1300s. He was fond of bawdy, regional dialects, and liberally peppered sexual slang in among his olde English prose.
  • Roger’s Profanisaurus is a “compendium of profanity” courtesy of Viz character Roger Mellie, and boasts over 8000 inventive ways of saying “bum”, “fart”, “wank”, “vagina” and “fuck”.
  • Barry Humphries character, Barry “Bazza” McKenzie, made his debut in Private Eye and went on to be portrayed in films by singer Barry Crocker. The boorish Aussie-overseas coined phrases like “point Percy at the porcelain bus” and “technicolour yawn” – inspiring Men at Work’s ‘Down Under’. Quick! Someone take them to court!

Keeper? Yes. If you can think of other ways I can infiltrate the public psyche with my ripper new phrases, please let me know.

4 Responses to “DAY 210: Inventing a phrase and getting it in the public vernacular”

  1. Hey! at 11:37 am #

    I’d like to give a shout-out to the modern English expression ‘jobsworth’. This noun describes a bureaucrat who gleefully finds obstacles instead of providing assistance. It derives from the faux-regretful expression: “Sorry, I can’t do that – it’s more than my job’s worth.”

  2. Hey! at 6:18 pm #

    March 2011

    Welcome to Wikipedia. Although everyone is welcome to contribute to Wikipedia, at least one of your recent edits, such as the one you made to Bon Scott, did not appear to be constructive and has been reverted or removed

  3. Hey! at 10:08 am #

    But hooray for Urban Dictionary!

    ______________

    Thanks for your definition of bon scotts!

    Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to publish it on urbandictionary.com.

    It should appear on this page in the next few days:
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bon%20scotts

    Urban Dictionary

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. DAY 57, YEAR 2: Setting the record straight on burglarize (And: a confession) « Hey man, now you're really living -

    […] Yank-off (n) An Australian who insists on talking in Americanisms, i.e. “I know, riiiight?” instead of “Oath!” and “Who knew?” instead of “Fucked if I know.” Usage: “Did you hear those yank-offs talking about whupping ass on the tram?” […]

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