Australian expressions of pleasure: I love traveling through different English-speaking countries. Although we all speak the same language in that we can (usually) order a burger and fries without much ado, at the same time we really don’t speak the same language.
But one thing Aussies do well is utilize a full – and fully confusing at times – collection of phrases to express pleasure. Here are just a few:
Sweet as what, you may ask? The expression is more about the use of “as”, since I’ve also heard “hard as”, “easy as”, “gross as”, and numerous other descriptive words to fit the situation.
And like many Aussie phrases and words, it is indeed a shortened sentence, the ending being implied. So what is the ending, you ask? Well, it depends on who you talk to and how crass they are. The tamest version I’ve heard yet is “sweet as…all heck”.
Can you imagine my shock when I learned of the meaning and realized I hear old ladies say “sweet as” all the time.
When I first heard this (after I had been enlightened on the whole “as” situation), I thought that maybe people were saying “great as”. But as different people said it, it just didn’t seem to fit. I wondered if I was hearing a slurry version of “gross”, but most people were enthusiastic when they said it. And I’m pretty sure they weren’t talking about the bird kind of grouse.
No, grouse has a definition all its own, but it basically means “great”.
Yikes – that’s some violent stuff. People must mean whatever they’re saying if they say “bloody oath”. And they do; they mean an exaggerated version of “that’s for certain”.
Both these words are descriptive terms for “great”. “This bottle of wine is a ripper” is the first time I heard it in action. What I love about both these words is how the Australian accent turns “er” phonetically into “ah”. “This dinner is a rippah and that dessert is a corkah”: it’s so much more fun to say it the Aussie way!
She’ll be Apples
I can’t help but smile when I hear this expression. It’s another incantation of “she’ll be right”, which carries with it a way of thinking unto itself.
This word is not an expression of pleasure per se, though I couldn’t help but include it for my love of its origin. It is traditionally sung in a high-pitched voice to gain somebody’s attention, and is originally an aboriginal custom (but is now used by many Aussies). Start with the “coo” at a medium to high tone, then finish off by tossing off the “ee” in a falsetto pitch. It may initially feel ridiculous, but trust me – it is infectious.
Because it was traditionally used as a way to communicate over long distances, cooee is now considered a benchmark. If something is “within cooee distance”, it is close enough for you to hear somebody cooee-ing.
Coo-ee! It’s great fun. Or maybe I should say it’s a rippah, a corkah, sweet as, or grouse. Either way, she’ll be apples. Bloody oath.