Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Language

RH may be the scourge of the Interwebs and as annoying as nails down a blackboard to many bloggers but sometimes he is a mine of information rather than a swamp of botheration.

"The word 'hoon' in this country was another word for 'pimp'.
Its meaning has changed in the last twenty years or so."

"When I was in primary school a pimp was a dobber, as in: "He pimped on me."

"Bludger was a synonym for Hoon, as in "Here comes Jan with her bludger."

Now I remember the primary school 'pimp' as my sister was a fine example and pimping about me to mum was her idea of fun. I don't ever remember using dobber but do remember my son using it at school. Bludger, as I understood it was a layabout and bludging was taking it easy while others worked.An old lag was someone who'd been in prison but 'lagging' someone was old style dobbing.

My father had a wealth of racetrack terms for everything but nothing was ever written down and now I can't ask him. My uncle worked the wharves, another world altogether but he's gone and all his stories with him except the ones the family still tell about him stealing everything that wasn't nailed down. The advent of container ships didn't slow him down, he just took the container and hid it up bush.

Australians seemed to have a love/hate affair with the spoken English and language changed with every generation. As in the above, hoon now means any lout that speeds around our roads and would not take kindly to being called a pimp. Now perhaps RH could tell us if 'lout' is being used in its proper context or has that evolved from something else.

If we went back to Federation year, would anyone know what language we were speaking, streetwise that is?

18 comments:

Marshall-Stacks said...

yes what you say. I enjoy the woman linguist on Can We Help? who explains how words have evolved.
In high school the science teacher loathed me and my friend. he would stride into the room and without even looking at us he would say
"you hoydens Burchell & Brown get up on your chairs where you can't get into trouble" - so hoyden was an early lesson.
Now I think he was perving at our legs. These days, I could get $37 million from the Education Department for that kind of s*xual humiliation.

Jayne said...

I wish RH would start his own blog and post these pearls of wisdom in full, he has so many and should share with others.

River said...

RH is certainly good for a laugh or two. He always seems to have plenty to say, so I agree with Jayne that he should have his own blog.

JahTeh said...

Geez Stacks, that teacher didn't know what he was talking about. Look at the trouble you did get into jumping on chairs, tables and stages. That was actually child abuse in the school room, he was a sadistic perv.

Jayne, how long have we been saying this but I believe a certain mischief making brownie did try and he made her remove it.


River, he doesn't because he knows we'll be able to go over and trash him if he misbehaves on our blogs.
Look at the fun you're having and how long was I telling you to do it?

Andrew said...

I had fully forgotten about pimp, to dob. Ho, imagine what Marshall Stacks was like at school.

Fen said...

I'm always fascinated at how language has changed over the years & yes RH should get his own blog but we all know he won't!

R.H. said...

OH Joy!- Exaltation!- A post about ME! RH!!!

Verily and fair dinkum, this means a new posture, a new arrogance, a new boot up the arse for feminism. They loath me, for my lack of thrift.

The racetrack and the wharves are loaded with slang, so are pubs. I was raised among drunks: liars, all of them. An iconic announcement, drunken voice: "If I can't do the right thing I won't do the wrong thing." Everyone nods.

I have an excellent memory, and especially for things said. With some words I get a flash of the place where I first heard them: holding my mother's hand in Chapel Street as we passed a shoe shop, looking up at a slipper display just as she said "clever". Going up the steps of Flinders Street Station with a bloke laughing that someone had called him a hoon.

An old lag (respectful term) was a bloke who'd done lots of time; to lag on someone was to dob them in; a lagging was your jail sentence.

Well (not surprisingly) if I had my own blog only comments saying how wonderful I am would be permitted. The cluey Miss Stacks once gave me the good idea of having a blog with closed comments. I was grateful for that, but really I'm not up to it, not at all.

The other night on TV a woman sang Maxine and I thought of Jan. Years earlier I'd heard a radio interview with the woman who wrote the song. It was inspired by a prostitute she saw on the same corner every day as she travelled home from work. The lyrics are speculative, presumptive, the best way to do things.

Maxine,
You're not the only one,
To take the whole world on,
But no one's ever won.


Pardon my arrangement.

Marshall-Stacks said...

That infamous fake RH blog was not Brownie's doing.
Not.

Yes Andrew - The School Pimp.
I recall Suzanne Hutchison's ringlets and her always running to the teacher wailing about something somebody did.
I think her name was Hutchison, not Fraser-Kirk, no.

BwcaBrownie said...

Back On Topic - the common language of Federation year - my vote goes to The Sentimental Bloke .. 'Er name's Doreen ...' etc.

Especially for Jayne, River and Fen I have released the archived blog which is the collected works of RH I started doing when he was in the habit of returning to brilliant comments and deleting them.

Please visit and knock one back at


Six O'Clock Swill.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

This obviously ain't the place, but thank you Jahteh for voting for Beatrice. She may not be Miss Whiskas 2010, but she's now officially Queen of our Hearts. Aw.

JahTeh said...

Andrew, knowing Stacks, if you'd met her, you'd still be straight.

Fen, it's the words that go out of fashion. I mean you're much too young to remember bodgies and widgies, even sharpies and mods.

Yes, Robbert, a post about your smartness but I'm not deleting the comments that show your idiotness.

Definitely not that blog, Stacks.
Yes Bwca, that blog, Six O'clock Swill is worth the read and the archiving.

Baron, It was all rigged, she was a contender and was robbed. We will be voting early for Miss Whiskas 2011.

Word verification is slyes, alternative noun for school pimps.

River said...

Just had a quick look at Six O'Clock Swill. Ha Ha.

Fen said...

You're right, bodgies and widgies & sharpies and mods were before my time :(
But it's fun to resurrect old timer words, I haven't done it in a while. I tend to drop British-isms into my every day speech and people cock their heads and look quizzically at me!

R.H. said...

Whatever class you're born into madness drops you to the bottom. It's the only level that'll take you in. Old St Kilda was a haven for outcasts, including the mentally ill.

It's hard to find a home when you're nuts and if you stay with your family you'll send them nuts as well. My biographical subject took off from Camberwell in his early twenties after God began mentoring him. He stayed on a commune in Queensland run by a professor of music who dangled a key on a string to tell the future. He was totally mad. The other rebels, sane boys and girls, went on to become corporate executives, but my biographical subject stayed a hippy. He drifted around Melbourne, lived among bums and picked up their lingo. Eventually he wrote a manuscript, handing out copies. Seventy pages long, it advocates the FRUIT DIET. Eat only fruit, he says, it's good for your love life, which means playing with his cock all day. Research!

So here's what I'm getting at: class difference in language. Doctors, social workers, etc, mistake what he's saying:

Social worker: “So what have you been doing all day?”

B. Subject: “Choking the parrot.”

Social Worker: “You've got a parrot?”

B.Subject: “Sure have.”

So in goes the report that he's strangling a bird.

Truly.

Middle Child said...

I have a couple of Aussie slang words books - and when i read through them its like hearing my dad or grandfather speak again - Don had a treasure trove of slang and knew when to use it - its a gift I don't have

JahTeh said...

Oh dear, Robbert, 'choking the parrot' and I thought 'fondling the ferret' was bad.

Fen, at least then the turf wars were mostly over clothes and music and not drugs, plenty of fist fights but no drive by shootings.

Therese, same with my father and he could have written a book about the goings on in the race crowd and the nefarious doings of certain bookmakers.

R.H. said...

And no knives. Asians introduced knives here because they can't win in a fist fight.

JahTeh said...

Robbert, I carried a small knife for years, gold with a gold bamboo hilt. I would never have used it but it was handy to go through my purse and throw it on the table along with the rest of the rubbish I carried around.