Wednesday, July 09, 2008

An Englishman, an American, and ten Australians walk into a Welsh bar...

And suddenly, you have the weirdest chance ever to learn about variations in the English language!

My favorite word from the night: "clucky." Adjective. It describes someone who is baby hungry. Like, "Every time Stewart comes over to my house, he gets all clucky when he plays with my two year old." (True quote from the evening!) Origin: referring to the relationship that a mother hen has with her chicks.

It's a common word in Australia, but not in England, Wales, or America. And less embarassing to misunderstand than say, "pants" or "napkins." (underwear and maxi pads in Britain)(cue hilarious memory of Steve making huge hand gestures to the London waitress five years ago and saying, "We're going to need NAPKINS. LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of NAPKINS!")

(Oh, and BTW, I didn't drink at the bar, if you were wondering. They all made fun of me, too, and kept competing to see who got to buy me lemonade. I finally let one of them buy me a diet coke. That's about as risque as I get.)

1 comment:

Mark- TCM said...

Odd! We definitely use "clucky" over here (Norfolk, England) and I've heard it in other places I've lived too in England.
As for napkin, although there is the expression "sanitary napkin" I think it's generally known in England as a "sanitary pad or towel".
Napkin as a word is a very old english word (borrowed from the French) meant for wiping the mouth during eating and oddly enough we use another french word, serrviette, for the same purpose.

Also, another derivative is "nappie" - named so because like napkins it was originally a piece of folded cloth.