Speaking Strine (HLD 179)

17 Sept 2020

I drove past an advertising sign this morning that I admit I didn’t pay a lot of attention to, but the gist of it seemed to be advertising a nail salon and the name of it appeared to be Chunda’s Nails.

Now I’m sure it’s possibly an Indian name, or something similar, and is not pronounced the way an Australian would pronounce it… but my immediate thought was – “That’s an unfortunate name”.

Many people in many parts of the world would be blithely unaware of any connotations, but to an Australian…

To chunder, in Australian slang, means to vomit. It’s applied readily to a lot of things, like a spinning chair ride at the show grounds that is liable to make you vomit – chunder chairs, or a tactical chunder is apparently forcing yourself to vomit after a lot of drinking to avoid too many repercussions the following day.

It’s a well known word in our specialised Australian vocabulary known as Strine. Because Strine is how you pronounce “Australian” if you can’t be bothered with too many syllables, or using all the letters in the word.

There are a lot of words that Australians know well that have to be explained to others.

Obviously our abbreviations of words make up a huge volume of these words – maccas for McDonalds, arvo for afternoon, barbie for barbecue, tradie for tradesman, mozzie for mosquito, roo for kangaroo, etc.

But there’s some that defy explanation. Like chunder.

There’s also root. So many of my photos of living in Houston were of huge advertising signs telling everyone to “Root for the Astro’s”, being their baseball team. Rooting in Australian vernacular is not generally something done in support of a sporting team. Well, not unless you really like them a lot, maybe. And even then you probably shouldn’t do the whole team. Non Australians feel free to google. By the way – if you’re rooted it may not be related to rooting, it could just mean you’re tired. Maybe from rooting, who knows. Be careful with that one.

Australians may drink Cab Sav if they are buggered after a flat out week, hoping the booze bus doesn’t catch them on the way home. People in other parts of the world may just share some red wine after a busy week and hope the police armed with breathalysers don’t catch them on the way home.

Doesn’t sound as interesting though, does it?

What other Strine words have you found yourselves having to interpret for others?

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