Look I’ve been busy as a one handed paper-hanger in Woollamaloo, flat out like a lizard drinking. I mean all a cockie wants is a fair crack of the whip, but at this writing lark, yer get the rough end of a pineapple shoved up yer jacksey, and not a skerrick of a motza for it. I tell yer, they think I’m a bleeding magic pudding. It’s left me stonkered, I was feeling so crook I went to see the quack and he said unless I want to kark it I’d better chill. Too right, it’s been yonks since I took the tinny out. So I put on me thongs, and me budgie smugglers. Man I looked as flash as a rat with a gold tooth, except I got a bloody veranda bum, and a Bondi chest from driving a desk. So I said to the ball-and-chain I was going walkabout. Man the cliner went spare. Told me I was a two bob watch and I’d have to get me own tucker then. And I was hungry enough to eat the crutch out of a low flying duck. So I got a slab of the green and a maggot-bag, and went out for a seven course meal, with a snot-block for afters.
Man, I don’t make the big bickies, but I wouldn’t be dead for quids!
“”I said it in Hebrew–I said it in Dutch–
I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
That English is what you speak!”
The Hunting of the Snark, fit the fourth. Lewis Carrol
Well, it is English, of a highly advanced sort (No really. I’m a Vandemonian. Trust me. You can, they say two heads are better than one.) And it is colorful and funny. But unless it’s your local lingo… it may be confusing as hell too, especially overdosed like that.
One of the big problems, of course, is that when it is your local form of English, you may not realize that it’s not really intelligible to the non-cognoscenti… And the same things mean different things in different places – do not describe that handy belt-on-purse as a fanny-bag in Australia, or if you’re a stray South African here, ask what route (pronounced in South Africa as ‘root’ ) is best. I gather South Africans are also the only English speakers to swim in dams (what in my old country they called the water in a man-made lake.) And my English daughter-in-law struggles with our ‘pants’ (which somehow bizarrely means ladies underwear, and is frequently used as an exclamation of irritation, as in: “Oh pants! I forgot mum’s birthday.” rather than meaning ‘trousers’, as it does to me.
They’re a trap for the unwary, but in small doses a source of ‘feel exotic’ and of added value.
So how about a few I wouldn’t know?
And what on earth does “Well tie my face to the side of a pig and roll me in the mud!” imply? Bacon makers (yes, I made 40 pounds of bacon this week) wish to know.
And as for what is wrong with our ability to get children to read – this is the answer.