In a country as vast as Australia, it’s incredible just how similarly we all talk from region to region. And it’s even more incredibly how dissimilarly we all talk from region to region. To put it bluntly, though we all assume we’re speaking the same language, there are times when the differences between dialects in different parts of Australia are both startling and disturbing. For example, get a Victorian and a New South Welshperson talking on the subject of whether it’s called a potato cake or a scallop, and see how quickly they call off their wedding.
These strange divergences in Oz lingo have been mapped by the Linguistics Roadshow, in a heroic attempt to cast light on the peculiarities of Australian English. The results of their survey are fascinating: for example, while Victorians prefer “potato cakes” and the folk of NSW prefer “scallops”, apparently some people call them “hash browns”, which is…just…we can’t even.
No wonder those people mostly live apart from everyone else.
Other interesting discoveries: in Victoria, swimmers are bathers, but in NSW, bathers are swimmers, and in Queensland, bathers and swimmers are both togs. This tallies well with independent research conducted on our wife and grandmother.
Check out the maps for more information on the subtleties of nosebleeds, bubblers and tuck shops, among others. And take the survey yourself: the more data the Roadshow gets, the more accurate the maps become.