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50 shades of Aussies

"You are a wog, did you know?"

Hearing this from a colleague, first thing in the morning, isn't the best. Especially when it leaves you wondering: Thank you! Wait, am I? What's a wog? Should I get offended? Australians who know and use the word 'wog' may not realise that it doesn't make sense to everyone. So let's take a step back and start from the beginning.


Types of Australians

Australians are well known for their habit of changing English words, the result is a strange slang language. Not only that. but there are many sub-categories of Australians with peculiar names that you will hear about in regular conversations. It took me a while to fully understand them, as they are not all based on provenience or looks, and some can overlap.

  • Bogan 
Probably the most common form of Australian is the Bogan, also known as 'Australian from Australia'. But not in an Aboriginal way! Bogans are the ones that descend from the first jails and colonies and fully represent the laid-back spirit of "G'day mate! Howsgoin?". If stereotypes are what you are looking for, your typical Bogan would wear thongs (flip flops), drink VB (Victoria Bitter, it's a beer), be really into footy (Australian football), and love themselves a Southern Cross tattoo. Unfortunately calling someone a Bogan has a slight negative tint that tends to be related to their financial state, manners and/or education level, and age at which they first procreated. Think of Chavs (British).

  • Wog 
At first Wog was a derogatory term to identify southern European immigrants in the mid 1900's. By now, the word has been freed from any negative meaning and has been proudly embraced as common term for mostly Mediterranean descends. Wog 'nonnas' are just like grandmas everywhere else: religious imagery around the house, doilies covering every surface, always cooking and force-feeding their families, speaking questionable English and even more questionable Italian. Key word is 'tradition'.

  • ABC
In my opinion these 'Australian born Chinese' are Australians for all intents and purposes. Of course, the term can be inflected to include all Asians. The bad thing about being an ABC is that, upon first glance, people tend to mistake them for FOB's (fresh off the boat), which may not be great, considering all the prejudice they have to face. A keen eye would be able to tell apart ABC's and FOB's just by the way they dress, whether they are spitting on the ground or dragging their feet. I am slightly unsure if one can just ask people if they're ABC, but I've seen it happen before.

  • Muzza
Being a Muzza has more to do with aesthetics than with heritage; it is definitely just a phase. Muzza defines a specific subcategory of Melbournian boys, not too dissimilar from the Jersey Shore's 'Guidos', or the Italian 'Truzzi'. Low price fast cars, spiky hair crowned by an angled baseball cap, and the typical 'carrying buckets of water' walk. You can spot them after their apprenticeship, hanging out in Maccas (McDonalds) carpark with full Adidas/Kappa gear, or doing laps on popular streets.

  • Tradie
Everyone loves a good tradie (trade worker). And every tradie loves a good fluorescent attire and heavy duty boots. You are not a real tradie if you don't drive a ute (Utility vehicle) where you can keep your tools and your dog, that you can claim on tax as security for your tools. Tradies are resourceful, and ready to fix people's home issues in a day or two months, depending if they're in the area. And when they say they will come between 8 and 11 in the morning, they will arrive at 6 in the evening for a quick check, because tradies are not the heroes you deserve, but the heroes you need.



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