I have recently felt frustrated communicating with New Zealanders. They all agree and own up to the fact they mumble. You truly cannot hear what they are saying most of the time. I even come from a family of mumblers, my dad being the inventor of the “mumble dialect.” So, even with my vast experience of translating mumble to English, I found myself just nodding to people yesterday and saying “hmmm, uh huh, wow!, that’s funny,” and all of the other great filler words of the English language. I just couldn’t bare to ask one more time, “what did you say?” I have never felt like a “loud, obnoxious American” but I am talking a bit louder these days in hopes that Kiwi’s will mirror in conversation with a louder tone of voice. No such luck yet. I am now officially loud.
Another questions I quite often ask is “how do you spell that?” There some slang terms here that the Kiwi’s use that are a bit different and with their accent sounds like cuss words. But as I have learned, Kiwi’s are not only layed back in their way of life but also in their slang. For example, I have referred to the term “sweet as” in a previous blog. I even named my blog after it. When I first heard it, I thought people where saying “sweet *ss.” My initial reaction was “thank you.” Ha ha, just kidding. But I did think “who has a sweet *ss and wow, they sure are bold Kiwi’s to just put that out there.” Needless to say, thanks to help of a 14 year old local, I found out they were saying “sweet as.”
So, here I am still wondering, sweet as what???? Sweet as pie? Sweet as candy? Sweet as the fruit mentos I eat on a daily basis? This is where the kiwi life style crosses over into language. I am learning that there are other slang terms that end with “as”, such as “cool as” and “easy as.” Again, what follows this “as”. It’s not a complete sentence!!! And even more terms are shortened, a term like, Cheers! It is shortened to, Chur! And the word “whatever” is now “whatevs” (I must say that is my favorite one and I choose to adopt it into my daily language). They even add random “ies'” to words such as cool, which is now “coolies.”
I am left wondering on certain days, “are we even speaking the same language?” I am still pondering…., what is cool as…..? What is easy as….? And what is sweet as….? I guess that is what I get for my mom being an English teacher. But as long as I live here and try to learn from the locals, some things will stick and some will not. Until next time, as I ponder, think about the following comparisons I have come up with…..
Sweet as Clemson Football
Cool as Duke Basketball
Easy as listening to Bon Jovi
Sweet as cupcakes from Cupcake in Charleston, SC
Easy as looking at Johnny Depp
Cheers or Chur! Whichevs you like…..