manuka

There is an interesting tussle emerging between Australian and New Zealand producers of manuka honey over the right to own the name manuka.

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Sue ButlerComment
A piss-weak bunch of bedwetters

The next time someone says that we are being taken over by American English, I will  point to the difference in the way our politicians hurl abuse.  We stick to terms that have been crafted in the playground, insults like bedwetter.

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Sue ButlerComment
sheila

 For me sheila mostly inhabits the phrase blokes and sheilas which I thought of as possibly still used in the bush, but definitely a nod to traditional Aussie English. Harmless. So I had a look at some evidence of use of the word and found some surprising things.

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Sue ButlerComment
What's in a name?

 There is politics also in the looming battle between the EU and Australia on our right to produce feta, haloumi, parmesan and prosecco in this country and export it to Europe labelled as such. 

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Sue ButlerComment
Who is in the driver's seat!

The whole notion of driving a car goes back to the days of the horse and carriage and the bullock wagon where the person in charge of the team would encourage the horses or bullocks to move forward.  Drive them on. So the sense of forward movement is pretty basic.

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Sue ButlerComment
Car accident or car crash?

A caller on a radio talkback program raised the question of using the word crash when we talk about cars colliding rather than accident, the implication being in the case of accident that it was no one’s fault, whereas it probably was someone’s fault and radio presenters should not prejudge the case. They should use the neutral word crash rather than accident.

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Sue ButlerComment
Australian Placenames

I wrote about Elias John Forbes, his role as agent for the Webster International Dictionaryand his defence of American spelling, but he was a man who had other interests. One was Australian placenames.

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Sue ButlerComment
The Dictionary Case

In 1896 Elias John Forbes, manager of the Merriam publishing office in Sydney, charged Silas Lyon Moffett, Clarke Parker and Arthur Beckworth Marsh of having ‘wickedly, wrongfully, and maliciously conspired, combined, and agreed together to impoverish the G. and C . Merriam and Company’.

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Sue ButlerComment
Is it a real word?

For a dictionary person such as myself, the title Bureau for Linguistical Reality had great attraction.  A little searching revealed that this was a public participatory artwork devised by two women, Heidi Quante and Alicia Escott,to which we could all contribute.

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Sue ButlerComment
Mullumbimby

 The opening page of Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko throws down the language gauntlet. No longer are we to be sheltered from Aboriginal language.

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Sue ButlerComment
Botany Bay greens

Take a glance at the terms that emerge from our convict and colonial past and you get the unmistakable feeling that life was tough. Anything that was a substitute for the real thing was described as Botany Bay — as in Botany  Bay greens, also known as Botany Bay spinach.

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foodSue ButlerComment
Many Words of the Year

The American Dialect Society introduced the Word of the Year as a concept in 1990, setting a pattern that has been followed with enthusiasm by various dictionaries and lexicographers. The different Words of the Year are not exactly comparable. 

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Sue ButlerComment
Disappearing words

We are vaguely aware of words disappearing into the past, and I think this generates an anxiety that we might have lost something worth having. A FOMO directed at words that are no longer available to us.

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Sue ButlerComment