Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Dictionary Plugs Dying NQ Slang

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Dictionary Plugs Dying NQ Slang

Article excerpt


CHARLIE'S Trousers, Foot Falcon and Mount Isa by the sea - do these words mean anything to you?

They refer to Charters Towers, walking instead of driving and Townsville respectively and are just three examples of an extensive North Queensland dialect dictionary released by Macquarie Dictionary.

Other gems recorded by Macquarie include Mexican, meaning anyone south of the Queensland border, Burdekin duck which is corned beef.

The dictionary also gives a detailed explanation of what the words mean and examples of their use in a sentence and comments from contributes.

For example Mt Isa by the sea is the name residents from Cairns or Mackay use to describe Townsville.

"It's part of the rivalry in North Queensland and refers to the comparative lack of green surroundings and predominance of industrial plants and refineries," a contributor explained.

Author Chrystopher Spicer teaches writing at James Cook University and said slang was increasingly being relegated to history.

"A lot of the slang is dropping out of the lexicon.

"That characteristic slang is dropping out because of that international social media influence," he said.

"If you read a books in the 1940s you notice a lot of those characteristic dialogues and expressions have dropped out. But we still have a few."

Mr Spicer said the climate had an influence on slang words in North Queensland.

"There are expressions referring to rain, like the big wet," he said.

Mr Spicer said the nonchalant attitude of residents was also a factor.

"Up here most people don't show concern about anything. It doesn't matter if a cyclone is blowing the roof off the house, all the expressions are understated. People say it's just a bit of a blow or a gust of wind.

"It could be really hot and steamy and people say, it's tropical today or heavy rain is just a sprinkling. …

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