Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Learning something new...

I have just finished a great book, Stealing Water by Tim Ecott (review to come at a later date) about his childhood growing up in South Africa in the 1970s and 80s after immigrating from Ireland with his family.

South Africa is such a contrast to New Zealand is so many ways that I am not sure why I was so surprised to learn that they have different words for some very common things.

For example, Tim Ecott writes:

"South Africa seemed like an endless space where people spoke a different language even when they spoke English. We had to use their words if we wanted to be understood; traffic lights were robots, small vans were bakkies. No one knew what a roundabout was, you had to call it a traffic circle, and electric light bulbs were called globes."

I guess New Zealand has its own particularity's when it comes to language too. For instance, how many overseas visitors have been stumped by the sweet toothed kiwi favourite hokey pokey or putting on their togs to go for a swim?


3 comments:

Café Chick said...

It's interesting - a US educator I worked with started her keynote presentation a couple of years ago about her confusion with the conference organiser said to her "make sure you bring your togs to NZ". Apparently Wikipedia led her to something called 'frog togs', and there were lots of other interpretations, until she finally asked a kiwi who said "bring your swim suit". :-P

Kate said...

And don't even get me started on twink and jandals! It's like learning a whole other language....well, just a bit!

Heather said...

Yeah that's so true...they dont use twink here in Australia (white--out?) and a light bulb is a globe. A dome (as in clothing dome) is a 'press stud'. They're just a bunch of weirdos here nad NZ has it right. :P