Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sweet as

I love all of the various sayings that New Zealanders have, so much so that I'm positive some of them will make it into my regular repertoire even after I'm home. There are some that are British or Australian influenced. Examples include chuffed (meaning pleased or happy), zed (as in the final letter of the alphabet), knackered (really tired), rubbish (and the "bin" it goes into), take the piss (when someone is teased or ridiculed), whinge (aka whine), and good on ya. Others are Kiwi through and through and I like them, but I'd probably never use them: pack a sad (meaning moody or uh, sad, but it can also mean something is broken, i.e. "my car packed a sad"), sparrow fart (very early in the morning), and dairy (a convenience store).

Then there are the ones I like AND use, the ones I'm already trying to slip into conversation every chance I get. Eh (rhymes with pay) I already say, but I use it more like a Canadian uses it, like a question. Kiwis say it at the end of nearly every sentence (or so it seems) and it's definitely not a question. There's "heaps" which is a more fun way to say a lot and "wop wops," the Kiwi equivalent of the boonies. Cheers is the NZ version of aloha in that it has multiple meanings. It can mean thank you, you're welcome, and enjoy your drink. Jandals are flip flops, but what I really like is the phrase "you can't handle the jandal!" I looked for a proper definition online, but didn't come up with anything that seemed dead-on to me. The closest I can come to an explanation is that it refers to a threatened punishment or is another way to say get out of the kitchen if you can't stand the heat.

My absolute favorite is "sweet as." At first I thought it was meant like "sweet as ___" with the blank being whatever you wanted it to be because what's really good to me may be different for someone else, but no. Essentially it means that something is very good and no, nothing follows it, it comes at the end of the sentence. It's really versatile, too, because practically any adjective can have 'as' follow it for the same effect, with the 'as' taking on the meaning 'very.' Therefore, expensive as means very expensive, hot as means very hot, and new as means very new. Urban Dictionary has some other explanations, but you'll have to see for yourself because I don't want to confuse things more than I probably already have.

And that's about it for my lesson of the day. I do have lots to say to bring everyone up to speed on my last few days of exploration and adventure, but it will have to wait because I'm totally knackered right now. :-)


  1. love it! your such an anthropologist/linguist traveler today . . . xoxoL

  2. Thanks Shan, I was looking for a dictionary definition of the kiwi phrase "If you can't handle the jandal" and have stopped looking after reading your explanation :-)