Has your supervisor asked you over to their house and asked you to bring a plate? Did a technician question you about the flux capacitor being pakaru? Have you noticed that the chapter in your thesis is awesome when it really doesn’t seem like it is to you? Has your flatmate suggested you lux the lounge?
When Lisa isn’t sussing out your dough so that you get paid sweet as, she does the hard yards by delving into the bewildering world of New Zealand speech.
As if the English language wasn’t hard enough, the Kiwi’s had to go one step further.
What do the words choice, mean, mint and sweet have in common? In the kiwi language they all mean the same thing! (Translation: good, great, cool, awesome).
You might find navigating the kiwi slang hard yakka (hard work), or it might be a piece of cake (really easy), either way don’t bust a gut (make a big effort). Gizza (give us/me a…) moment, have a smoko (break, usually morning/afternoon tea) and I’ll spin a yarn (tell a story) for you about the mysteries of the Kiwi language.
Have you been invited to a bash (party) in the wop-wops (middle of nowhere, countryside), with togs (bathing suit, swimming clothes) and jandals (type of sandal, called thongs in Australia) standard attire? You’re one lucky son of a gun if you have! Maybe you’ll grab a cold one (cold beverage, usually a bottle or can of beer) from the dairy (local convenience store) and put a snarler on the barbie (cook a sausage on the barbeque) tonight. Let’s just hope it’s not hosing down (raining) by tea time (dinner, meal eaten in the evening).
If this all sounds like gobbledegook (nonsense) to you then no worries, grab a cuppa (cup of tea/coffee) and I’ll guide you through the mysteries of the kiwi language.
There are words with double meanings: stubby is a beer, or short shorts worn by a male.
We use adjectives such as dear (expensive), wee (small), heaps (lots). Used in a sentence it looks something like: “That was a dear steak for such a wee amount, I expected heaps more for that price.”
So don’t be a wet blanket (fun spoiler), pike out (pull out of doing something), or spit the dummy (throw a tantrum) and give the Kiwi language a go. She’ll be right (it will be okay). And if all else fails, just smile and nod .
Lisa Beckingsale, Scholarships Office, Graduate Research School