I met Nicole for the first time at last year’s Lone Star Conference. She and I struck up a conversation over lunch and have followed each other on Twitter and Facebook since. I’m excited for Nicole as she’s celebrating her first publication! Her book Masquerade from Crimson Romance went live on the 22nd. Our discussion last year was about how people always think she’s from London rather than Australia, so I asked her share some of the adventures in language she’s experienced since moving stateside.
Take it away Nicole!
What did you say?
I get that question a lot. I say something to someone and I get this blank look back. I then realise I’ve confused the person I’m talking to. In fact I’ve probably confused you, the reader, and you’re probably thinking “What the heck is the person talking about?”.
Let me explain.
Hi I’m Nicole Flockton and I’m an Australian living in Houston Texas. I say things that are automatic for me but not so automatic for my US friends. I also tend to not think before I say things – probably should practise that aspect of my life – it could save me a whole lot of trouble.
Australia and the US both speak English, but we all have terms and phrases that are country specific. In Texas people say “fixin” meaning “I’m getting ready to go somewhere or do something”. Or instead of saying “you all”, you say “y’all”.
Something we are all familiar with, is that in Australia ‘cookies’ are called ‘biscuits’. And your ‘biscuits’ here in the US look similar to something we call in Australia as ‘Scones’.
Here are a couple of other things I’ve said that provided endless confusion and disbelief with the people I said it to.
I was at a school event last year and I asked one of the ladies “Did you turn off the urn”. She looked at me as if I had 10 heads! What I call ‘urn’ she calls ‘coffee pot’. She thought I was talking about ‘urn’ as in holding someone’s ashes! We had quite a laugh over that one. On the same night I asked her if the “Eskies” were full. In Australia an “esky” is what you call a “cooler”.
Recently, I have a friend that comes and cleans my house every now and then. I wrote a list for him and said ‘wipe the benches’. He had to ask me where my benches were because he couldn’t see any in the house! What I call benches you call ‘countertops’.
As a writer I try to be aware of the differences between phrases that are natural to me but not so to my international readers. I try and keep some of the things I automatically say out of my manuscripts. I also must consider the spelling of things. One thing I do struggle with is “Mum” or “Mom”. I find it very hard to type “Mom” it doesn’t feel natural – I think this is one trick this old dog is trying to avoid learning! LOL
Never be afraid to ask an Aussie if you don’t understand something they’ve said, we’re very happy to explain and teach you some unique Aussie words and phrases.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Melanie!!