Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bathing WHAT'S?!

July 28, 2010 in Altdorf.  High summer in the Northern Hemisphere, in case any of you were in doubt.
So Liesel calls me last May to tell me we should bring costumes when we come over.  It being Germany in May, with the kids still wearing their winter coats to school, I clarify that she means BATHING costumes and not the dress-up funny for make-believe kind.

"Oh silly."  says Liesel.  "You'll have to learn to speak proper English if you're planning to move to Australia." 

I then call Lynn-Anne to tell her about the costumes.  "You mean BATHING costumes, right?" she asks.  Because, although she is, like Liesel, from a PROPER English-speaking country....South Africa IS a Commonwealth Nation after all - well, it IS May in Germany and none of us have put away the winter coats yet.

Note the wool sweaters.  Some folks also had gloves.  On July 28.

Anita has spent enough time with Americans to know what I mean when I tell her about the bathing suits.  If an American mentions anything about costumes we are talking either about Halloween or about formal attire.

So that, in addition to being grilled on rugby and cricket, and telling me what I've mean missing out on by NOT being a member of a Commonwealth Nation (cricket and rugby matches, apparently, as well as the ability to drink tea properly) my friends had prepared me for the whole bathing costume jargon over here in Australia.

Problem is they call them 'togs' over here.  In Queensland anyway.  Which wasn't too much of a problem since by now we had realised that we were in fact AT LEAST bi or tr-lingual - and this just in regards to our ENGLISH.  We know American English, British English and Aussie English - which is often divided into Queensland versus New South Wales dialects.

So that it is nice to see the bathing APPAREL hanging underneath the sale sign for 'togs.'  And also to have friends who will clarify and call them 'bathing togs' for those of us non-native Aussie English speakers.

Looking good, no matter WHAT you call 'em!

Until Easter Sunday when Ryan and I were sitting on the beach watching a girl her age walk by with her father.  I didn't realise we were staring - the girl was only wearing briefs and no top and I was wondering if they were European - when the father laughed and said something about ...blah blah garble garble hah hah hah.

I laughed too but had no idea what he was talking about. 

So Ryan, obviously adapting to the native tongue faster than her Mum, turns to me and asks 'what are cosies?'  Cosies?  Turns out the man was explaining to us that his daughter had forgotten her cosies.

No way, man.  To borrow an American expression.  YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!  I've got bathing suits, bathing costumes AND bathing togs...and now you throw ANOTHER one at me?! 

Autumn in Queensland.  YAY ME!

OH YES!  I know enough Australian English by now to pick that up on THAT abbreviation.

And that, my friends, is how you say bathing suit/costume/togs in New South Wales.

Making us truly multi-lingual even in what we thought was our native tongue.

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