Australian slang words
Australian slang words

The lingo that proves you’re from regional Queensland

CHARLIE'S Trousers, foot falcon and Mount Isa by the sea, do these words mean anything to you?

They refer to Charters Towers, walking instead of driving and Townsville respectively - and are just three examples of an extensive North Queensland dialect dictionary released by Macquarie Dictionary.

Other gems recorded by Macquarie include Mexican, meaning anyone south of the Queensland border, and Burdekin duck, which is corned beef, or Burdekin mud, slang for chocolate blancmange.

The dictionary also gives a detailed explanation of what the words mean and examples of their use in a sentence and comments from contributors.

For example, Mount Isa by the sea is the name residents of Cairns or Mackay use to describe Townsville. "It's part of the rivalry in North Queensland and refers to the comparative lack of green surroundings and predominance of industrial plants and refineries," a contributor explained.

Author Chrystopher Spicer teaches writing at James Cook University and said Australian slang was increasingly being relegated to history.

"A lot of the slang is dropping out of the lexicon," he said.

"That characteristic slang is dropping out because of that international social media influence.

"If you read books in the 1940s you notice a lot of those characteristic dialogues and expressions have dropped out. But we still have a few."

Mr Spicer said the climate had an influence on slang words in North Queensland.

"There are expressions referring to rain like the big wet," he said.

Mr Spicer said the nonchalant attitude of residents was also a factor.

"Up here most people don't show concern about anything," he said. "It doesn't matter if a cyclone is blowing the wind off the house, all the expressions are understated. People say it's just a bit of a blow or a gust of wind.

"It could be really hot and steamy and people say 'it's tropical today' or heavy rain is just a 'sprinkling'."

Mr Spicer said globalisation and the cultural influence of other countries had affected the language and made it more standardised.

He said not all countries were happy to let words infiltrate their language, with the French being a prime example.

"Every year they look at English words that have infiltrated the French language and make up new French words to replace them," he said.

Mr Spicer said English was a flexible language that had been influenced by other tongues, including Latin and French.

"That makes it a very poetic language as we have an amazing number of synonyms," he said.

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