Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Art of Communication

Please allow me to introduce you guys to one heck of a sweet lady, Loretta Wheeler, writing under the pen name, L. Reveaux. We met several years back when I was doing a workshop and I've been buddies with her every since. Here's her blurb:
They say it's all smoke and mirrors down on Bourbon Street…but what do they know…
Smoke rises…as does heat…and fire…
And sometimes all of them are fed by the same unquenchable desires
Take a late night stroll with Rick through the French Quarter, preferably on a night when the moon is rising along with the heat level, and watch as The Lady Ryze steps under a street light...and sets the night ablaze…

And today she's going to away an e-copy of her book, so make sure you leave a post.

* * *

When I was first asked to do a blog at killer Fiction, I drew a blank on what to talk about. Like every other writer I know, I was nose down in edits, and my brain didn’t seem to be able to roll in another direction.

After two cups of coffee, I finally came up with something. What better thing to talk about as a writer than communication? Or lack thereof. What do we do when cultures and language collide?
I know a lot about this. I’m married to an Aussie.

Now, when I married him I thought, “No problem, at least we both speak the same language.” Boy was I wrong. We have to spell darn near everything—and neither of us understands what the other is talking about half the time.

For example: Did you know that if you say you go to bed with the chickens, mass confusion ensues? He was alarmed, thinking his American wife slept with egg layers. Takes awhile to explain the analogy and a lot is lost in translation. And by the way, chickens are called chooks in Australia. So, that’s good for another round of conversation. It could take you all arvo to explain it. An additional new word for you. Arvo. That’s afternoon.

Then there’s tucker. My hubby informed me we were going to see a Dog on a Tucker, an Australian landmark. It’s quite charming, a beautiful piece of Australiana. It’s a dog sitting on his tucker box. For us Yanks, it would be a dog sitting on his lunch box. I bet I could have figured that out if he’d given me a clue.

I’ll share one more example with you, and then I’ll give you a list of Aussie Slang and their definitions.

John took me shopping one day, pulled up to the curb to let me out and was amazed when I stepped onto the curb, and then promptly jumped back into the car. Still being newlyweds at the time, rather than grabbing his head in frustration, he waited patiently for the explanation.

A sign posted on the curb read, NO STANDING. I didn’t see how I could get out if I couldn’t stand there. If you ever decide to visit Down Under, don’t fret over the NO STANDING thing. It means NO PARKING. Go ahead and stand there if you want to. All of them do when they’re trying to get into their cars.

One last suggestion, if you do visit, you might consider doing what we’ve resorted to. Flash cards. They work wonders. Delete’s out both accents and you can stop yelling SPELL THAT!

Now, below as promised, are a few Aussie words to tickle your fancy. Pour yourself a cuppa (cup of tea or coffee) and sit a spell. (That’s a southern term; after all, it’s a southern gal writing this:) And print this thing out if you’re going over there. You’re gonna’ need it!

Fair Dinkum - Real Genuine
Esky - Igloo or Ice Chest
Mossie - Mosquito
Moggy - Cat
Ocker - Unsophisticated Aussie
Walkabout - Long trek somewhere, bring water, it could take awhile.
Grouse - Terrific!
Jillaroo - Cowgirl
Jackaroo - Cowboy

Bet you know what you’re ordering at The Outback now, don’t you? By the way, they don’t have Bloomin’ Onions over there, or Outback’s for that matter. Only the real one. See Walkabout.

Lollies - Candy
Jumbuck - Sheep
Bludger - Lazy person
Cobber - Friend
Dag -Nerd
Strewth - Exclamation or OMG!
Bonza - Great!
Bastard - Term of endearment. My hubby swears and spits that’s the truth.

These are just a smidgeon. It should be enough to get you by though, until you can purchase an Aussie Slang guide. I’m going to Rack Off now (get out of here). Wishing all of you a G’Day Mate!

And a, Y’all come back, ya hear? Had to slip that in so y’all could practice using those flash cards!


Susan M said...

Thanks for the list, Loretta. I hope to get over there some day. I wouldn't want to come off as an ocker. You're a real...(I wanted to say bastard but I just couldn't do it.)

Loretta said...

Laughing, Susan!:)...ah well, I've been called worse! Feel free:) I'll take it in the spirit it's given!
Heck, at least you didn't tell me to "rack off"!

Thanks for stopping in,


Loretta said...

And a Bonzer of a mornin' to you Christie! Bet you thought I was never getting in here:) My computer froze, couldn't believe it. Thought I was going to have to get the flash-card man up to help me get it jump started again! Strewth!
Thanks for having me here gal:)

Jillian said...

Thanks for the lesson!! Too funny that you guys had to resort to flash cards. I'm intrigued by the new book. I love New Orleans!!

Refhater said...

Welcome to K.F. Loretta!.

I feel your pain when it comes to dealing with foreign cultures and languages. I work at the local hospital and the majority of the docs are from other contries. Somehow the traslation from East Indian, Chinease, African, Czech and West Indies to English always sounds like it's been put into a blender and pureed. Add medical terminology and it's even worse.

Best of luck with everything and thanks for visting. I look forward to reading your book.

Pauline B Jones said...

LOL! Having met you both, yeah, flash cards. LOLOL! Congrats on the book! Great cover!

Anonymous said...

I love this! Loretta knows I'm married to a Yorkshire man, which is kind of funny me being from Manhattan. He's from a farm by the way!

Yes, we speak the same language too but as OScar Wilde said we are separated by a common language!

Chooks is great! Love it! Don't understand him and he doesn't understand me half the time either!

Has John ever told you he never expcted to fall for a 'crazy little Yank?' Acutally it's endearing!

Really loved this, Loretta! Keep giving us your beautifully written dark magic you write about. I love it.

As one who writes dark horror too, I just adore your fiction. It's spicey Southern charm gets me every time!

Paws with Iona said...

This is hilarious, just love Loretta and her humor. Maybe those flash cards are the start of an international sign language! cards, a good sharpie- and there ya go! Hugs.

Loretta said...

Glad you're intrigued Jillian!:) was Rick;)...darn near was the death of him!:)
Flash cards...well, you know, after awhile, you just sigh, hold them up, and nod.
We're both getting the hang of the lingo though...of course, Aussie spoken with a southern drawl sounds a bit catawampass....and the first time John used y'all I thought he was gonna faint!:) That's almost like cussin' to an Aussie!

Loretta said...


I cannot even IMAGINE what it's like if you stir in medical terminology with this. I worked with a pharmacist several years ago, and just interpreting the medical language was enough to make your eyes dilate!
Thanks for the compliment about "The Rising":)

Loretta said...


Many thanks for the congrats gal:)...and yes, I know you've got to witness the communication fiasco first hand! It's not for the faint hearted!:)

Loretta said...

Awww Carole, it's ALWAYS great to see your face!...It gives me a comfort zone too...someone who's done the same drill I have!
And no, I don't think John ever thought he'd wind up with an American gal, let alone a southern one:)...When the communication gets a bit wobbly, I start singing, "American Womannnn..." makes him laugh. Laughter requires no flash cards!:)
Thanks for drifting in from those moor's where you receive all that wonderfully dark, horror visiting your writing and getting that "thrill". (With the lights on of course!:)

Loretta said...

Love "pawsing" with you Iona!'s always good for a laugh:)...International flash cards...hmmm...never know, you may have just slipped me a million dollar idea...(not to worry, I'll share;)

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks for the lesson in Aussie slang expressions. I'd love to visit. My son who's been to Australia several times on business loves both the people and the country.

Good luck with the new novel. The cover art is an eye catcher.

Loretta said...

Glad you liked the lingo Jacqueline! I'm sure you know a few of those words since your son's been there frequently:)
And thanks for the compliment on the Aussie man, John did that and the layout. Thank goodness we seem to communicate well on that level!:)

J. Coleman said...

Flash cards. How sexy. "Show me yours and I'll show you mine..." Been fascinated with Australia since I was a child. Still know the words to "Waltzing Matilda" - "and his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong" - haunting little folk song I sang so proudly at eight years old! Then there was "The Thorn Birds." Aye, or should I say "strewth!" Your Aussie is also very talented and has beautiful eyes, like you. Grouse blog! Glad to have you as my "cyber-cobber". Thanks Christie for the interview. Lo talks highly of you, and now I have a new site to follow.

Suzan Harden said...

Damn, Zuzu! That's one hot cover. And honey, I'm married to a Northern Ohioan. I'm from southern A-hi-a. Trust me, you're not the only one with communication problems.

Betty Dravis said...

Well, it's not ARVO here in Sunny Cali yet, CHOOK, but just had to clear my fuzzy head and tell you how much I enjoyed this blog.

You got it going on, Lo. (Would your hubby understand that one?)

I have a dear friend who lived in New Zealand for a few years and she comes up with some doozies every once in a while. :-)

Great, fun time with you this morning. And don't forget to tell your friends to come to Dames of Dialogue to see what you wear while writing all this good stuff. :-)

Hugs - Betty

Loretta said...

Hey there cobber Joelene!:) So great to see you in here:) your piece to John and he was gobsmacked( he loved all the terminology you used:)...He lights up when people mention his cover work:) can imagine how many flash cards we had to use to get through that scenario!:)
Thanks so much for stopping by:) Hugs to you gal.. btw y'all, Joelene is the holder of one of my acknowledgments in "The Rising"...all well deserved:)

Loretta said...

Hi there Suzan gal!...I know, the cover makes you want to run for a hose doesn't it?! about "burn, baby, burn" (remember that song?:) Never thought I'd refer to it as often as I do, but I hum it a lot when I'm editing. Swear and spit I'm goin' to burn the puppy half the time!:)
Loved reading your dialect with your Oh-hi-o-an...makes my mouth pucker just trying to get that out!
Thanks for stopping by gal, see you next week:)

Loretta said...

Awww Mz. Dravis, here you are in all your glory!:)...thanks for stopping in lady, I know your schedule is BUSY!
Don't have a clue if John knows how much I've got goin' on;)...but he does know he sees me in my pj's a lot!
For all y'all who missed my blog on "Dames of Dialogue" yesterday, we discussed what I and several other writer's wear when we're writing. Quite interesting! The MEN are the ones you need to watch, those guy's have NO shame, they'll shag right out of the shower and drag whatever's available to fling around them as they rush down the hall to their computers with that "oh so elusive" thought.
Conjured up scenes from "Psycho" for me!
Thanks for stopping by Betty!:)I'm always delighted to see you and those Betty Dravis eyes:)

Erin said...

I’m married to one of those too.

You left out my favourite (aside from putting a ‘u’ in everything).

Ask how they are and you’re more then likely to be told they’re crook. I think it means they don’t feel well but it could be they’re hung over.

The dog on the tucker box is there. I’ve seen it. It’s also something that has lost it’s meaning with the passage of time. When the phase was originally coined it was a poetic metaphor related to prosperity. One hundred and fifty year ago everyone knew the tucker box was a small storage area on a bullock wagon, just behind the driver’s seat. When all was going well the driver’s dog had time to sit in the tucker box and the driver sit on his seat. Mostly both walked beside the bullocks coaching the bullocks. A bullock driver’s bad language was legendary.

When Jack O'Hagan wrote ‘Where the dog sits on the tucker box five miles from ‘Gundagai’ he was saying, ‘It’s a prosperous town and everything is running smoothly.’

I noticed you have Bludger in your list. It’s an interesting word it does mean a lazy person or more specifically someone who doesn’t pull their weight. Fifty years back a bludger was someone who chose to collect social security. Whenever anyone was asked if they were on the old age pension they’d always answer ‘I’m no bludger.’

Have you been able to teach your Ozzie anything new? I haven’t. I blame the mother.

Regards, Erin

Loretta said...

Hi Erin:)

Thanks for stopping by:)...your more in depth information is very interesting:)...some of those things, I didn't know, other than the superficial side:) Of course, I'm still in the flash card phase, so that could be slowing things down!:)
Enjoyed the deeper take on things:)


Christie Craig said...

Hi Loretta,

You guys have been having fun. I love communication issues. Being from Alabama, I don't have many problems with the Texans, but editors from NY don't always get what I write. LOL.

Thanks so much Loretta for entertaining us.


Calisa Lewis said...

Ah Lo. I can relate on a more North American level to the language barrier. Hubby is a Californian married to the Okie (Oklahoman). (I once had a boyfriend ask 'what country is that in?'- granted Gary wasn't the brightest crayon in the box!) Hubby is forever popping off about the way 'we' (being Okies) do this or that. It always ends with "I don't know what I expected. They're Okies." And he tells me I talk backwards. What the hell does that even mean? Well- to me 'next week' is anytime after Sunday (unless you say next week on Sunday because then you're in this week). 'This week' is any day between Sunday and Sunday, or the specific week you're in now. And naturally, last week is the opposite of this week- or any day prior to Sunday of this week. Why does he not get that? To him next week is anytime after this day next week... And last week? I am still trying to figure that out. Doesn't a week begin with Sunday? So who's backwards?

Anyway- I can't wait to read your book! Tell John I love the cover and if he wants practice- you can have my number- lol Gorgeous.

Loretta said...

Thank you for having me here today Christie:) I had a great time!


Loretta said...

Calisa! Thank you for stopping in girl:) I'm not quite sure if I'm saying this right, but we'll give it a whirl...see you next week on the loop!


Loretta said...

Congratulations Jillian! You've won the free download of "The Rising". Please check your personal e-mail, I just sent you the site:)

I hope you enjoy it, and thank you so much for stopping by:)


Sandy said...

Hi Loretta, Years ago I wrote a weekly newspaper column about my own bewilderment as a Yankee in North Carolina. My first double take was when someone told me it was cold enough to put on a tobaggan. To me, a tobaggan was a sled, not headwear. Now I talk "Southern" with the best of them (smile).

Cindy Sample said...

Bonza. I loved this blog. My moggy, Zoey from the Bronx (orange cat for those of you who didn't memorize the list) and I chuckled together. Good thing I wasn't drinking any coffee when I read it. Too too funny.