Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Tinny at the Footy

We had a busy weekend. Mon, my sister-in-law (Deb’s sister), her husband and two young children came down from Queensland to visit us.
Mon has never been to Melbourne (or for that matter Victoria) before, so we had an eventful couple of days operating as tour guides.

Because of our visitors, I arranged the roster to give myself the day off yesterday.
For those in the know, I did not ‘chuck a sickie’.
We took my dearly beloved’s rellies to the zoo.

A brief note about Oz English ‘rellies’ are relatives.
Aussies have a habit of shortening many words or phrases by dropping syllables and/or substituting ‘ie’ or ‘y’ at the end.

So: a sick day becomes a ‘sickie’; a barbeque becomes a ‘barbie’; a beer tin becomes a ‘tinny’.

An aluminium dingy isn’t a ‘dingy’ as would be logical it is a ‘tinny’ as well. So to say: ‘I drank a few tinnies while at sea in a tinny”, would make perfect sense to an Aussie.

Another small point: Australians call Australia ‘Oz’ because we pronounce ‘Aussie’ as ‘Ozzie’. When most Americans say ‘Aussie’ it sounds like ‘Arsey’ to our ear which means something entirely different. An ‘arse’ is a butt, I believe ‘arsey’ means ‘unpleasant’ in British English, but in Oz English it means ‘lucky’

As to our beloved mother country, many Aussies (or is that Ozzies) following our tradition of dropping syllables now say not “Aust-ra-li-a” but rather ‘Ah-stray-ya’ or for the verbally lazy ‘Stray-ya’.

While I am rambling about Oz language I should mention briefly another word much beloved by many Aussies.


I am largely mentioning footy because of a conversation I had with Lisa of Lit and Life.

What is Footy you might ask? Well following the rules of Oz grammar it is an abbreviation of “Football”.

“Ah,” they say, “that makes perfect sense.”

Unfortunately it doesn’t, there are four widely played codes of football in Oz. The word ‘Footy’ has differing meanings across the country.

Perhaps foolishly I will attempt to explain.

The four major codes of football in Australia are:

Soccer: this international game is usually called ‘football’ in most of the world. Not many Aussies would call Soccer ‘footy’. However, fans of this sport are attempting to claim the word ‘football’ exclusively for their game and if they are successful (which is probably unlikely) Soccer would no doubt become ‘footy’.

Rugby Union: The international version of Rugby. ‘Union’ is a minority sport in Oz. But if you go to a private school odds are when you say ‘footy’ you mean ‘Union.’

Rugby League: A version of Rugby played widely in the North East of Oz (and in New Zealand). If you come from New South Wales (NSW), or Queensland (QLD)it is expected that you believe ‘League is the one true footy.’

Of course if you come from the rest of the country, Victoria (VIC), South Australia (SA), The Northern Territory (NT), Western Australia (WA) or Tasmania (TAS) there is only one sport. Australian Rules Football sometimes called ‘Aussie Rules’ but in its home states simply ‘footy’.

American Football is played by a tiny minority of people in Oz. It is never called ‘footy’ rather it is usually called, well as is obvious, ‘American Football’ or sometimes ‘Gridiron’.

Being an adoptee of the state of Victoria (although once a Queenslander always a Queenslander) I should say a bit about the home grown ‘footy’ Aussie Rules.

Australian Rules Football is akin to a national religion in Victoria. It is incredibly popular. I think this popularity stems from the fact that it is not only a traditional game here, but it is incredibly fast. For example the 2009 Grand Final score was Geelong Cats 80, beating Saint Kilda 68, and that was considered a fairly low scoring game!

I include a link to some footage of the 2009 Grand Final. That should make Lisa happy being a Cats supporter!

Now I have waxed lyrical about Language and Footy for so long that I have run out of time to do what originally intended.

So next time: The cuteness factor.


Michele Emrath said...

I love learning about Australian language and culture from you! Thanks for the video, too. Planning to add this post to my Sunday Foreign Post Roundup next weekend...So great!


Alyssa Ast said...

Great post! I never knew this. Thanks for sharing.

Amanda said...

What a great post! I knew some things, like Ozzies (for some reason I always think Ozzie Osbourne) but I had no idea there were so many types of football there!

The penguins are adorable. I'd love to see some in the wild. You are lucky!

Kristen M. said...

When I was a little kid I used to do the same thing and add the "y" or "ie" to the ends of all my words. My mom named the cat Coconut but I changed it to Coconutty ... Gramma became Grammy forever more and even my brother Brian became Bri-ee (though luckily for him it didn't stick!). Maybe I'm just really Australian.

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

I love this very informative post. I knew a few of them (I was once going to marry an Ozzie), but it's really fascinating to learn about these.
The use of 'Footy' is very popular here in the UK

Al said...

Hi Michele,
I love sharing, I am only too pleased you enjoy my efforts.
Thank you in advance for the planned shout out!

Hi Alyssa,
Welcome to my blog! I am only too happy to share!

Hi Amanda,
Thank you. I loved your recent New York Photos.
Aussies are officially sport mad, so it makes sense that we try it all.
I love the penguins too!

Hi Kristen,
maybe you are! We'll have to get you wearing an Akubra, then you can be at least an honorary Aussie!

Hi Anne,
Aussie English is fascinating as are colloquialisms from many places.
Pleased you enjoyed them.
I wonder if 'Footy' has a shared ancestry or if we've invented it independently.

Lisa said...

Thanks, Al! I've bookmarked that link! What fun that game is--kind of the best of soccer, rubgy, ad our football. But I do miss those scorekeepers in the trenchcoats!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I've watched your footy on telly. Chaos. But it looks like enjoyable chaos. Thanks for the lessons today from the location where a giant flag of a boxing kangaroo is hanging on part of the Olympic Village.

heidenkind said...

Very informative! I wish I'd read this post before that book about the gay Australian football players....

Al said...

Hi Lisa,
Sorry it took me so long to respond to your comment. It kind of slipped beneath the radar. If I have to watch footy I prefer Aussie rules, you certainly never get bored! I agree the should bring back the white coats for the scorekeepers. The yellow gear they wear now just doesn't cut it!.

Hi Elspeth,
sorry about the delay. But I'm on the ball now.
Aussie Rules is very like chaos. I am only too happy to share. What do you think of our kanga?

Hi Tasha,
I haven't read the book you are referring to, but our language does certainly have its own oddities. Also, as I said over at your blog, Melbourne would be one of the few places where being a footy fan and as camp as they come, would not constitute an oxymoron.