Australia – Literally a Great Place To Live
Last updated: October 22nd, 2013 by admin
Australians on their overseas experience might be finding themselves baffled by more than how the British manage to keep cheerful in a place with such terrible weather. They might literally be baffled by the latest updates to the hallowed Oxford English Dictionary, keeper of linguistic propriety in the home of the English language. Alongside digitally-relevant updates such as Twitterati and urban slang such as chillax, established words have had their definitions update. The most controversial example of this is the word “literally”, which can now officially mean “metaphorically” as well. According to the custodians of the OED, this simply reflects usage, such as the late, great Steve Jobs describing the iPhone as “a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone”. The OED also accepts the original meaning of literally as literally, so there are those who see potential for confusion.
Those travelling abroad can often find themselves needing some time to adjust to the local language, even when they’re moving from one English-speaking country to another, as the same word can have completely different meanings in different countries. In the UK an earbashing is a telling off, whereas in Australia, it just means chatter. Likewise in Australia, thongs are simply sandals with a thong to hold them on, which in other parts of the world are called flip-flops. Thongs in the UK are a type of underwear. The good news is that people usually adapt very quickly and until they do there are professional NAATI translators to help.