Poem: The Australian Slanguage by W.T. Goodge

'Tis the everyday Australian
   Has a language of his own,
Has a language, or a slanguage,
   Which can simply stand alone.
And a "dickon pitch to kid us"
   Is a synonym for "lie",
And to "nark it" means to stop it,
   And to "nit it" means to fly.

And a bosom friend's a "cobber,"
   And a horse a "prad" or "moke,"
While a casual acquaintance
   Is a "joker" or a "bloke."
And his lady-love's his "donah"
   Or his "clinah" or his "tart"
Or his "little bit o' muslin,"
   As it used to be his "bart."

And his naming of the coinage
   Is a mystery to some,
With his "quid" and "half-a-caser"
   And his "deener" and his "scrum".
And a "tin-back" is a party
   Who's remarkable for luck,
And his food is called his "tucker"
   Or his "panem" or his "chuck".

A policeman is a "johnny"
   Or a "copman" or a "trap",
And a thing obtained on credit
   Is invariably "strap".
A conviction's known as "trouble",
   And a gaol is called a "jug",
And a sharper is a "spieler"
   And a simpleton's a "tug".

If he hits a man in fighting
   That is what he calls a "plug",
If he borrows money from you
   He will say he "bit your lug."
And to "shake it" is to steal it,
   And to "strike it" is to beg;
And a jest is "poking borac",
   And a jester "pulls your leg".

Things are "cronk" when they go wrongly
   In the language of the "push",
But when things go as he wants 'em
   He declares it is "all cush".
When he's bright he's got a "napper",
   And he's "ratty" when he's daft,
And when looking for employment
   He is "out o' blooming graft".

And his clothes he calls his "clobber"
   Or his "togs", but what of that
When a "castor" or a "kady"
   Is the name he gives his hat!
And our undiluted English
   Is a fad to which we cling,
But the great Australian slanguage
   Is a truly awful thing!

From The Bulletin, 4 June 1898.

Note:This poem was originally published in the Orange Leader (though I am uncertain as to when), and was subsequently also printed with the title "Larrikin Language".

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 5, 2006 8:45 AM.

Literary Gatherings #2 - George Johnston and Charmian Clift was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Plays to Film #3 - The Club is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en