Togs, bathers or swimmers?
What do you call the bits of lycra you clad your body in to go for a swim? (If you go with ‘togs’then you’re almost certainly from Queensland.)
Thick slabs of potato battered and fried? Potato scallops or potato cakes?
Nose streaming with blood? In Victoria you have a blood nose. In other places you have a nose-bleed.
Are you already shaking your head? Think one (or all) of these are wrong? You’re not alone. Lots of other Australians agree. Turns out, we can’t agree on what to call a sausage on bread, or a corner store.
And don’t even get me started on drinktaps/ bubblers/ water fountains.
The Australian Linguistics Roadshow has released the results of an online survey that asked people around the country to give names to these common items.
And there is more division than you might think.
To call a potato cake a scallop is every bit as ridiculous as calling a pickled onion a crab.
— Luke ⚫️⚪️ (@Luke_F_74) November 19, 2015
I’m from Queensland, so I call swimwear togs, and if your nose is bleeding I will ask if you need a tissue for your nosebleed. I also call potato scallops by their rightful name, not the Victorian variant “potato cakes”. In South and Western Australia, they are more literal, calling the battered snack a potato fritter. A sausage sandwich? Well I don’t know what you New South Welshpeople are thinking, but a sandwich needs two slices of bread, and if you are smothering your sausage in two slices of bread you are doing it wrong. Since I finished school I’ve lived in New South Wales and Victoria, so I’ve noticed these discrepancies before. One I assume wasn’t included in the study because Google maps is basically taking over the world is street directories. You know, those books full of maps you kept in the car until everyone had a smartphone? In Queensland we called them a Refidex. In New South Wales my university friends called them a Gregorys and my Victorian work mates called them a Melways. I will never forget the first time I asked a Sydney friend if they had a Refidex. It was really confusing for everyone. 2780 people have so far answered the survey, and if you feel strongly, you can add add your unique voice here.
Jill Vaughan, a linguist who works on the project, told Fairfax that the maps reflect the diversity of Australian English.
“We know that Australian English is based on a lot of dialects from the British Isles, which had a lot of variation to begin with and then those variations continued in Australia,” she said.