In today’s episode I go over a pretty common Aussie expression, to be “flat out like a lizard drinking”, which means to do something at top speed or to be extremely busy.
Expression: Flat Out Like A Lizard Drinking
We’re flat out like a lizard drinking trying to meet our deadline.
We’re flat out like a lizard trying to meet our deadline.
We’re flat out trying to meet our deadline.
That bloke’s been flat out like a lizard drinking painting his house.
That bloke’s been painting his house flat out like a lizard drinking.
I’ve been working all day flat out like a lizard drinking.
I’ve been flat out like a lizard drinking working all day.
I’m flat out like a lizard drinking.
You’re flat out like a lizard drinking.
He’s flat out like a lizard drinking.
She’s flat out like a lizard drinking.
We’re flat out like a lizard drinking.
They’re flat out like a lizard drinking.
I’ve been flat out like a lizard drinking.
You’ve been flat out like a lizard drinking.
He’s been flat out like a lizard drinking.
She’s been flat out like a lizard drinking.
We’ve been flat out like a lizard drinking.
They’ve been flat out like a lizard drinking.
If you liked this expression episode guys then please jump over here and check out all the other Aussie English expression episodes to help you improve your Aussie English.
Also be sure to come over to the Aussie English Facebook page and chat to the many other Aussie English learners. Practice a few of these words or phrases, ask any questions you may have, and be a part of the conversation! All the best guys!
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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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By pete — 3 years ago
Learn Australian English in this post where I teach you how to use 10 Commonly Used Bird Idioms that I either frequently hear or use myself.
1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
Figurative meaning: It’s better to be happy with what you have than to risk losing everything by seeking to get more.
Literal meaning: This idiom refers back to medieval falconry where a bird in the hand (the falcon) was a valuable asset and definitely worth more than two in the bush (the prey).
Example: “You should be happy with the wealth you already have after all a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
Other forms: A bird in the hand.
2. To kill two birds with one stone
Figurative meaning: To accomplish two objectives with a single action.
Literal meaning: To throw a single stone and hit and kill two birds with that single stone.
Example: “I have to go to the shops to buy food, if I drop my books off at the library on the way I’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone.”
Other forms: To kill two birds.
3. A little bird told me
Figurative meaning: Someone told me something but I’m not going to reveal who that person was.
Literal meaning: The idea is that a little bird flew over to you, sat on your shoulder, and whispered some secret information that he had gathered into your ear.
Example: “Dad said, “a little bird told him I have a new boyfriend”. How does he know?! I haven’t told anyone!”
Other forms: A little birdie told me; To hear from a little birdie.
4. The early bird gets the worm
Also often said to suggest someone get out of bed early in the morning instead of sleeping in late in order to get more done with their day.
Literal meaning: The idea is that the bird who gets up the earliest will be the first to see and catch the worm before any other bird.
Example: “Come on, time to get out of bed sleepy-head. The early bird catches the worm.”
Other forms: The early bird catches the worm.
5. A bird’s-eye view
Figurative meaning: To get the view of a location from above it.
Literal meaning: The view a bird has from directly above a location.
Example: “We took a trip in a helicopter to get a bird’s-eye view of the town below.”
6. As the crow flies
Figurative meaning: The distance from one place to another place in a dead straight line (as opposed to the distance required to travel along a winding road for example).
Literal meaning: The idea is that a crow flying from A to B is going to fly the distance in a straight line without having to worry about going around obstacles on the ground.
Example: “Perth is 2727kms from Melbourne as the crow flies.”
7. Birds of a feather, flock together
Literal meaning: Birds of a feather, as in birds of the same type (i.e. species) will flock together, as in group together, as opposed to flocking with different types of birds.
Example: “My friends and I all love drinking beer, going to the movies and surfing on weekends. I guess birds of a feather, flock together.”
Other forms: Birds of a feather.
8. To flip (someone) the bird
Figurative meaning: To give someone the finger, i.e. hold up your middle finger in a rude manner.
Literal meaning: The origin of this idiom apparently dates back to Britain in the 19th century when the idiom “To give him the big bird” was used in theatrical circles referring to the act of hissing at someone on stage. It was called “giving the big bird”, because the hissing sound was meant to be similar to that made by angry geese.
Example: “He insulted me and then flipped me the bird.”
Other forms: To give (someone) the bird.
9. To chicken out (of doing something)
Figurative meaning: To decide not to do something you’re too scared.
Literal meaning: If someone’s “a chicken” (noun) it means they’re a coward. Hence, the verb “to chicken out” being used to describe what a coward does when he decides not to do something.
Example: “The boxer can’t wait to fight his next opponent. There’s no way he’s going to chicken out.”
10. To go the way of the dodo
Figurative meaning: To go extinct or to become obsolete.
Literal meaning: The dodo was a large flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius, and was hunted to extinction by sailors who visited the island in the 17th century. Hence, if something goes the way of the dodo it goes extinct or becomes obsolete.
Example: “If we don’t conserve the Amazon rainforest countless species could also go the way of the dodo.”
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By pete — 7 months ago
AE 462 – Expression: Pull Up Stumps
It was the most famous dismissal in the history of cricket. In 1948, Don Bradman strode to the crease to play the last of his 80 test match innings.
Then a special cheer on the field.
He needed just 4 to finish with a career average of 100. Incredibly, the greatest batsman of all time finished with a duck.
G’day, you mob. How’s it going?
Welcome to this episode of The Aussie English Podcast. This is the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English. So, it is specifically for people keen on, interested in, passionate about Australian English, but if you’re learning American English, if you’re learning British English, it doesn’t really matter, guys, it’s all the same language, a slightly different accent, sometimes I might also use slang that is specific to Australia, but other than that the tips, the tricks, the language you can learn in this podcast, for the most part, is going to be useful anywhere in the world. Okay?
So, the Aussie English Podcast, guys, is brought to you by TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. This is the online learning environment, guys, where I upload all the bonus content in the form of short courses. So, for instance, if you want to work on your pronunciation, there is a pronunciation course that teaches you all of the different sounds in English. It gives you different audio files so you can practice these sounds. It compares similar sounding sounds. It’s a really good resource if you want to improve your accent.
But then, there’s also courses that go with each of these expression episodes where you get a breakdown of the vocab in this episode. You will get a video explaining eight of the more complicated vocab words. You will get another video on pronunciation and connected speech so you can sound more like a native speaker.
And then, a third video at the moment, about the different expressions that I use in these episodes. So, this is the best way for advanced English learners, intermediate to advanced English learners, to really take it up a notch, get to the next level, and improve a lot faster.
Anyway guys, a quick mention too, if you want just the transcripts and the MP3s to the podcast, you don’t have to sign up to The Classroom. You can just go to TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com and you can sign up for a small monthly fee and you will get all of the transcripts, the words written down, for each of these episodes as well as the MP3s, ’cause I know plenty of you guys just want that material.
Anyway, the intro scene for today, guys, was from a clip from a documentary on YouTube that was made by ESPN. I will put this in the transcript so that you can check it out. But, it was all about Australia’s most famous cricket player Sir Donald Bradman and the fact that he only just missed out on getting an average of 100 runs per game. So, we’ll talk more about that in the Aussie fact today.
Anyway, let’s get into the Aussie joke, we’ll go through the expression, the definitions, the origin of the expression, some examples, a little listen and repeat exercise, and then the Aussie fact.
So, today’s joke, guys, is related to cricket, because the expression’s related to cricket, which is also why the Aussie fact is related to cricket. And for those of you who don’t know, cricket is that game played by the British colonies around the world, the Commonwealth countries, where you hit a ball with a wooden bat. Okay? And it tends to be played on a very large oval.
So, the joke.
There are two rival cricketers and they were talking. The first one says, “The local team wants me to play for them very badly.”. And the second one says, “Well, you’re just the man for the job!”.
So, okay two cricketers. The first one says, “The local team wants me to play for them very badly.”. Okay? I want to think about “very badly”. And then the next guy says… and this is the joke, “Well, you’re just the man for the job!”.
So, what’s going on here and why is this funny? Okay, it might be complex and might seem complicated at first. So, “badly”, the word “badly” can be used in two different ways. For instance, if I want something really badly, I want it a lot. Okay? I really want that thing.
Whereas, if I do something really badly, or very badly, I do it horribly. So, in this case, the joke is that the guy is trying to say that the local team wants them to play for him really badly, meaning they really want him to play for the team, they want it a lot, they want it badly. But the second guy here, is interpreting it as he’s a horrible player and that the team wants him to play badly, as in, they want him to do a bad job of playing. And that’s why he says, “You’re the man for the job, then!”, suggesting the guy is a horrible cricket player.
Anyway, (I) hope you enjoy that joke, guys. Okay.
So, the expression today is “pull up stumps”, “to pull up stumps”. This is one that I’ve heard from time to time in Australia. It probably won’t be used in America. In fact, I am almost certain it won’t be, because Americans don’t really play cricket. They’re not fond of cricket. It’s not a big sport there. However, it might be used elsewhere in the English-speaking world that’s part of the Commonwealth where cricket is very common.
So, this expression “to pull up stumps” came from Rocio in the Aussie English Classroom. She is a member in there. Every week I get the members together on Facebook, we discuss different expressions to put on these episodes, and this week’s was hers, and everyone voted on it. Good job, Rocio.
So, let’s go through the definitions of the different words used in the expression “to pull up stumps”.
So, “to pull”. If you pull something, it is to grasp a hold of that thing, to hold the thing with your hand, and bring it towards you. So, to pull something is the opposite of to push something. You bring it towards you by holding it, as opposed to pushing it, as in, forcing it away from you. “To pull”.
“Up” is pretty obvious, guys. “Up” is the opposite of “down”. It is upwards, towards the sky. If you pull something “up”, you’re lifting that thing upwards, you’re lifting that thing vertically. To pull something “up”. So, you’re pulling something “up”.
“A stump”. This might be the one word you guys might not know. “A stump”. This can be two different things. Usually, it can be the base of a tree. So, if you chop a tree down, you’re a lumberjack, you’ve cut a tree down with a chainsaw or a saw, the thing that’s left in the ground where the roots are connected to the base of the tree, but the trees are not there anymore, that is “a stump”. Okay? “The stump” of a tree. However, in terms of cricket, “a stump” is one of the three pieces of wood that is hammered into the ground that the batter has to protect with the bat. So, the bowler, the person who throws the ball or bowls the ball, technically, in the game of cricket, is trying to hit the stumps with the ball and knock what are called the bails off the top of the stumps, and if he does so the batter is out. So, that is what “a stump” is in terms of cricket.
So, what does this expression mean and where did it originate from? “To pull up stumps”, “to pull up stumps”. In cricket, “to pull up stumps” means to call an end to game play for the day. So, obviously, if you pull the stumps up, you’re pulling them out of the ground, the game’s over. You’re pulling the stumps up, you’re leaving the ground, the game’s over. So, that’s the literal meaning.
However, figuratively, it means to cease doing something or to stop doing something, at least for the day. Okay.
So, let’s go through some examples.
Alright, example one. This is the literal example. Imagine you’re a cricketer who’s playing a match and that you’re on the way to scoring a century, which is 100 runs. We call that a century. You know, like 100 years is a century, we call a hundred runs in the game of cricket a century. You’re nearly at 100 runs. You’ve got a bowler on the other team you hate facing. So, this guy… you’re scared he’s going to get you out, you’re scared he’s going to bowl you out. He comes out, he’s ready to take you out, but just as he’s about to start bowling his first over, and over is the first of six bowls that a bowler gets before you have to change bowlers, an over his six bowls. Before he gets to start his first over, it starts raining, and this is a blessing in disguise for you, because the pitch has to be covered. They don’t want water in the pitch. The players are called off the pitch and have to take a break. You know, maybe a smoko, although, it’s unlikely they smoke and the game’s ended for the day. So, as a result of your good luck, as a result of the game finishing for the day, it’s time to pull up stumps. It’s time to call it a day. It’s time to take a rain check. We have to play tomorrow when it’s not raining anymore. The rain caused the umpire to literally pull up stumps.
So, example number two. Okay, this time you’re out with your mates sinking a few cold ones at the pub. So, you’re sinking, you’re drinking, a few beers, a few cold ones at the pub, you’re having a few cold beers. It’s Friday night drinks. So, Friday night drinks in Australia is where you tend to go to a pub or somewhere you can drink alcoholic drinks with friends or with colleagues from work. So, you’re Friday night drinks where you head out after work after a long week, ’cause you want to kick back and relax, you know, and have a yarn with your mates. Unfortunately, your wife calls and says that you need to come home and have dinner. So, you forgot she was cooking dinner, she’s put together a lovely meal, and you need to go home, you need to rush off, and get back home and have dinner. So, you might turn to your mates and say, “Guys, look, I’m really sorry, but it’s time for me to pull up stumps and head home. My wife’s getting a little bent out of shape, she’s getting a little angry, she’s getting her knickers in a knot. I’m sorry I’ve got to bail. I’m sorry I have to pull up stumps.”.
The third example here. Okay. Imagine that you are a tradie. So, you’re a brickie, which is a bricklayer, or a sparkie, an electrician. So, you’re on a job site, you’re building a house, you’ve got there early in the morning with your work mates, you’ve been smashing out all the work having a laugh, and suddenly find out it’s lunchtime. You suddenly realise, “Ah! It’s lunchtime. It’s almost twelve o’clock.”. So, you might turn your mate and say, “Wow! Time really flies when you’re having fun, huh? I didn’t realise it was almost lunchtime. It’s time to pull up stumps and go grab some grub.”. Okay. And “grab some grub” is to grab some food. “Grub” is food in Australian English as a slang term. So, “Let’s go get some grub, guys. Let’s go grab something to chew on. Let’s pull up stumps and we’ll come back later on.”.
So, hopefully now guys, you understand the expression “to pull up stumps”. Remember, literally, in terms of cricket, the game of cricket, is to call an end to game play for the day, because you have to literally pull the stumps up, pull them out of the ground, remove those stumps, part of the wicket, and take them inside, you know, pack up.
Figuratively, though, it just means to cease doing something, and usually, just for the day. Okay? Just for the day. You might come back and do it later.
Anyway, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys, and then we’ll have a little yarn, we’ll have a little chat, about cricket and Sir Donald Bradman. Okay?
So, in this listening exercise, guys, this is your chance to practice your pronunciation. So, try and mimic my accent if you are after the Australian accent. If you are not, then just say these words after me in whatever accent you are practising. Okay? Let’s go.
To pull up
To pull up stumps x 5
I had to pull up stumps.
You had to pull up stumps.
He had to pull up stumps.
She had to pull up stumps.
We had to pull up stumps.
They had to pull up stumps.
It had to pull up stumps.
Great job, guys. Remember, if you would like to go in depth, you know, do a deep dive into how the pronunciation here works and learn a bit more about connected speech, you can join up to the Aussie English Classroom, TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. Sign up. It’s just one dollar for your first month. You get 30 days to get used to it, to give it a try, see if it’s for you, and you can cancel at any time if it isn’t. But I assure you, if you get in there and work hard, your English is going to skyrocket.
Anyway, guys. Let’s get into the Aussie English fact for the day.
So, today’s Aussie English fact is about Sir Donald Bradman and cricket in the early 20th century versus how it is today.
So, what made me think of Sir Donald Bradman? Well, “pull up stumps” is obviously an expression that is related to cricket, and I was thinking about cricket and how I could talk about cricket, what interesting facts or aspects of the game do I know about, and then, I thought about Sir Donald Bradman who I knew a little bit about, at least, I know a lot more about him now after having studied this, but I knew a little bit about him from my days at school playing cricket.
Anyway, I found a great pair of videos online. One of them was by a Cricket.com.au (watch it here), which I will link. This is on YouTube. And another was by ESPN (watch it here), which I mentioned at the start, and I sort of broke these down and took facts from them to compile into today’s Aussie fact.
Alright, so Sir Donald Bradman. Sir Donald Bradman was born on the 27th of August in 1908, so 110 years ago, nearly. And he passed away, he died on the 25th of February in 2001. So, what is that? He was 90-something years old. And he was the greatest cricket player of all time. Statistically, there’s no one even close.
His first cricket Test match was in 1928 and he played for 20 years until the end of 1948. On average, he scored 99.94 runs per cricket match, which is absolutely astonishing. And when you compare that to modern-day cricket superstars, Australians like Ricky Ponting or Steve Smith, he scores nearly two times as many runs on average. Insane.
So, Bradman was 12 years old, he was only 12 years old, when he first scored 100 runs in a cricket match, his first century. And as a kid, he would hone his skills in by spending hours hitting a golf ball against a round brick wall with a cricket stump in his backyard. And that’s insane when you think, a golf ball’s round, a cricket stump is round, and he was hitting it against this small brick surface, which was also round. So, there’s a really cool video online, which again, I’ll try and include in the transcript, guys, and it shows just how insane his hand-eye coordination was from training like this.
So, Bradman is so loved by the Australian public, there are stamps of him, books, coins, songs, TV series, and even a museum that’s been built in his memory.
What’s even more astonishing about Sir Don Bradman’s average of nearly 100 runs per game is that back in that early period of cricket, in the early 20th century, cricket bats were actually much smaller and lighter, which made it a lot harder to hit balls further and higher. So, you couldn’t as easily hit them to score fours or to score sixes. These are the numbers of runs. If you score a 4, that is to hit the ball along the ground, it bounces in the field, but makes it all the way to the boundary. And a six is when you completely hit it out of the ground. So, because the bats were so much smaller and lighter, instead of being able to just hit it out of the ground more easily, he had to try and weave it around the fielders, he had to try and evade and get past fielders and be much more of a cunning player. So, we can only imagine what Bradman would have done or would have been capable of if he’d had one of the modern-day bats to use back then.
Modern-day batters also done a great deal more safety equipment today including chest, thigh, and leg pads, arm and neck guards, and thick gloves, and a helmet. So, whereas in Bradman’s day, they only had leg pads and some simple gloves to cover the hand. And this made scoring runs even harder as you often had to get out of the way of the ball to avoid being injured. Whereas today, with all the protection, you are probably much more likely to allow a ball to hit you, at least, you would more readily do so, because of the protection you have.
The pitches on which cricket is played today as well are a great deal more advanced test and they are really well maintained compared to back in Bradman’s day when he was at his prime. There are teams of people who have full-time jobs as green keepers and curators dedicated to growing, manicuring, and maintaining the grass on these pitches, they flatten it, they paint it, they make sure that it stays dry and incredibly compacted, incredibly hard, keeping all moisture out so that the balls bounce really well on these pitches. However, obviously, in Bradman’s day, pitches were a lot less well maintained. They would suck in the moisture, they would be a lot less even, so the balls would bounce all over the place, and if it rained during the day, the conditions would change, because they wouldn’t cover the pitches.
Another big difference is the technology available today to cricket players. So, bowlers and batters can use apps and online technology now to find out and research about other people that they’re playing against. So, they can work out how to better bowl out batters or how to better avoid certain bowlers using sophisticated plans. In Bradman’s day, they didn’t even have TV, didn’t even have tele. So, nowhere near as much information was available about players, and more often than not, you would be walking out into a game blind. You would have no idea about what the other person or the other team was capable of.
Despite this, today’s cricketers believe that Bradman, if he were alive today, he would still give bowlers a run for their money and that they would find him to be a tough cookie as he would have found a way to get around them and counteract anything that they threw at him.
Fielders are also a great deal more athletic today. They dive, they leap, they jump, they try and catch balls a great deal more, and a part of this, as well as the skill of batters and bowlers today, is the fact that they can train every single day. This is their full-time job. Whereas, surprisingly enough, sir Donald Bradman had to train only a few days a week and outside of cricket he had to have another full-time job, because cricket just didn’t pay.
So, why wasn’t Bradman’s average 100? In the last ever game that he played in 1948, as you heard at the start of this episode, when he was about to play his 80th test match innings, he came out onto the ground, he only needed four runs in order to finish with a career average of 100, however, incredibly, the greatest batsmen of all time in cricket was bowled out for a duck, meaning that he was bowled out before he scored a single run. To be bowled out for a duck.
Anyway guys, I hope you will agree that Sir Donald Bradman was an amazing cricket player. Do you think he was the greatest cricket player of all time? And how do you think he’d go if he were to play cricket today nearly 90 years after he first stepped onto the pitch?
Anyway, guys. It’s been great chatting to you. I hope you have an amazing week and I’ll see you soon!
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By pete — 1 year ago
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AE 379 – Expression:
To Have A Few Roos Loose In The Top Paddock
Well, I’ve had a look around and I think we can safely assume I now know less about motors than I did when I first lifted up that bonnety thing.
Let’s just not think about it for the moment and eat brekkie shall we?
Oh, that’s a novel idea! Let’s stuff ourselves to death. Imagine the headlines: “Whales beach themselves in The Outback”, “Mystery Bumsticks Dead In Drag”.
G’day, guys! Welcome to The Aussie English Podcast, The Aussie English Podcast. The number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English, whether you want to learn to understand what that flippin’ and hell Aussies are on about when they having a yarn as I say in every intro or you want to actually learn to speak like an Australian, you’ve come to the right place, and that is my goal.
So, The Aussie English Podcast is brought to you by The Aussie English Classroom. That is the online classroom designed to teach you Australian English even faster. You complete courses in there full of lessons and quizzes that cover Australian vocab, and there’s heaps of exercises like listening comprehension exercises, phrasal verb exercises, pronunciation, connected speech, and grammar exercises, designed to take your English to the next level. So, you can try that for $1 for the first month when you sign up and give it a go at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com.
Anyway, the opening scene there, guys, the opening scene that I put at the start of this podcast is a scene from the movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Priscilla Queen of the Desert. In this scene the main characters, the three main characters, are stranded in the desert, and they’re trying to repair a car. The first voice that you heard there, I don’t know if you will have spotted it, but that is Hugo Weaving, Hugo Weaving. He’s a famous Australian actor. He has been Mr Smith in The Matrix series, you might know that line of his, “Mr Anderson”, you know, whenever he comes up against Neo. He’s also been the elf king Elrond out of the Lord of the Rings movie series. So, you’ll know this guy when you see him.
Another actor there is also Guy Pearce, who’s a famous Australian actor. He’s been in loads of Australian films, loads of Hollywood films, as well. One of my favorite of his is Memento. And he’s also been, more recently, in Iron Man 3 and the most recent Alien movie.
Anyway, this scene is from Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which is a film about to drag performers and a transgender woman. So, a woman who’s changing her gender, a man who’s changed his gender to be a woman. And these guys are traveling across the desert in Australia to perform their unique style of cabaret. So, they’re drag performers. They wear women’s clothing, and it’s very eccentric. It’s a big part of gay culture, but it’s a really hilarious film, guys. So, definitely check it out. You’ll learn a lot about Australian culture, especially, the kind of clash between gay culture from the cities and the Australians who live in The Outback, and sort of how they deal with it. So, yeah. Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It’s a great film with some great Aussie actors. I really recommend that you go and check it out.
Let’s start with a joke, as usual, guys. Today, I’ve got a joke for you. It’s a bit of a ‘crummy’ joke, which you’ll get in a sec. But the joke is: Why did the bickie go to the hospital? Why did the ‘bickie’, a slang term for biscuit, go to the hospital? Because he felt a bit ‘crummy’. *Badoomsh!* Do you get it? He felt a bit ‘crummy’. So, ‘crummy’, in this case, this is a play on words, ‘crummy’ in this case, “he’s feeling crummy”, that’s spelled c r u m m y, and that means to feel unwell, to feel sad, to feel unhappy. So, “I don’t feel good, today. I feel a bit crummy.”.
However, the pun here is with the word ‘crumby’ spelt C R U M B Y. So, “a crumb” is a piece of say the bickie, a little morsel of food from usually things like bread or biscuits or cookies, whatever it is. That’s a crumb. And if a piece of food like that is “crumby”, it’s like it’s covered in crumbs or things that resemble crumbs. Okay? So, if you eat a biscuit over a table the surface of the table might become crumby. Anyway, that’s the pun there. Why did the bickie go to the hospital? Because he was feeling ‘crummy’. So, the pun on the words “crummy” to feel unwell and the word “crumby” meaning covered in crumbs.
So, today’s expression. Let’s dive into that as usual, guys. Today’s expression is “to have a few roos loose in the top paddock”. It’s a mouthful. (There’re) a lot of words in there. I think that is probably the longest expression I’ve ever done on this podcast. So, “to have a few roos loose in the top paddock”, and you might also hear this as “to have a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock”. And remember that “roo”, “a roo” or “roos” the plural, many roos, is a slang term, it’s the shortened abbreviation version of the word “kangaroo”.
So, this expression was suggested by Lima in the Aussie English Virtual Classroom Facebook group, guys. If you get on Facebook you can search Aussie English Virtual Classroom. It’s a group where you guys get to do exercises and chat, and every Monday I put out a post asking for expression suggestions. And then, you guys can vote on the expression for the week’s podcast.
So, let’s go through and define the words in the expression to have a few roos loose in the top paddock.
Okay, “to have”. In this case, “to have” is to possess. Okay. To possess something, you have something. To possess something, you have it.
“A few”. “A few” means a small number of something. So, if you have a few roos, you have a small number of them. You don’t have a load of them, you don’t have a lot of them, you only have a few of them.
“A roo” as we said previously is a kangaroo.
“Loose”. If something is “loose”, it is not tied up. It is not confined or shut in. For example, if it’s a kangaroo or an animal. It’s not controlled. So, the thing is free to run around, to do what it wants. It is loose.
“In”. I’m sure you guys will know “in”. If you’re in something, you are inside of it, you are within something, and it’s the opposite of “out” or “outside” of something.
The word “top”. The word “top” means uppermost. Okay? So, if you’re at the top of something, you’re as high as you can possibly get, you’re at the uppermost point. So, the top paddock would be the paddock at the very top, at the highest point, at the uppermost point.
And the last word in this long long long expression is “a paddock”, “a paddock”. “Paddock” is spelt P A D D O C K, however, I’d say paddock /ˈpædək/. Okay? Notice the schwa /ə/ in there. (That’s) just a side note. “Paddock” – /ˈpædɒk/ is how it’s spelt and how you would say it phonetically, but I say paddock /ˈpædək/, paddock /ˈpædək/. So, “a paddock” is a field or some kind of plot of land that is enclosed by fencing or defined natural boundaries. Okay? So, you might go into a forest and there’d be a paddock, a field, a meadow, in the middle there, and it’s sort of defined by natural boundaries like trees. But most commonly, you’re going to go to a farm and you’re going to see a paddock, which is a plot of land enclosed by a fence. It might be full of wheat. It could have corn in it or sugarcane or it could have livestock in there like cows or sheep or goats, horses, whatever it is, it’s a field that is enclosed by something.
So, let’s define the expression as usual, guys, to have a few roos loose in the top paddock or to have a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock. This is a very Australian expression, guys, and it means to be crazy, okay, to be insane, to be nuts, to be bananas, to be bonkers.
So, it can also mean as well to act, think, or behave in an eccentric, foolish, or nonsensical manner. So, you’ll often use this for people who are loopy, crazy, don’t have control of their mind, you know, they’re a bit strange, or they act in a strange way.
You might also hear this as “to have a few screws loose”. So, I think that’s probably where this expression has originated from. That’s a sort of American or British one you might hear quite a bit. He’s got a screw loose or he has a few screws loose. And Australians have, obviously, just changed it to make it an Australianism to make it about Australia by saying, instead of “a screw”, you’ve got a few roos loose in the top paddock. Okay?
Another one similar to this too, that I might add, is “to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic”. If someone’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic that’s sort of saying that they’re a bit dumb or they’re a bit strange. Okay? So, yeah, anyway. Both of these expressions are pretty common in Australia.
So, let’s go through some examples, as usual guys, of how I would use this expression, the kinds of contexts you’re likely to come across when you hear this expression.
Firstly, number one, imagine there’s an old lady out in the streets, some old sheila. She stands on the corner of a street in this city and she’s yelling at strangers. So, she’s yelling at people walking by who she doesn’t know. She’s clearly totally nuts, she’s crazy, she’s got a screw loose, and she is a total nuffy. Okay. So, she’s just… she’s lost her mind. You might say, if you saw this happening, that this lady was just screaming at people in the street, you might say, “Wow, this lady has a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock. I think she’s got a few screws loose. I think she’s got a few roos loose in the top paddock. I think she’s nuts. She’s crazy. She’s got a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock.”.
Example number two. Alright, example number two. A mate asks you for a loan. He wants to borrow some money. So, he wants you to lend him some money. He wants to borrow some money from you. Maybe it’s not a small sum of money either. It’s $5,000. So, he wants to borrow $5K from you, he wants to borrow $5 grand from you. Those are just different ways of saying a thousand. $5K, $5 grand, $5,000. And, maybe you ask him, “What do you need this money for mate?”, you know. “Is there some kind of issue are you in financial trouble? Can you afford to pay for your food or bills? Is that the issue?”. Maybe he responds by saying, “Nah, mate, (I) just want to go on a holiday. Just want to take the missus out on a holiday. No, just need the money for that. That’s really it.”. If he said that to you, you might say to him, “Do you have a few roos loosen the top paddock, mate? Why would I give you $5,000, why would I give you $5 grand, why would I give you $5K, so that you can go on a holiday? Have you got a few roos loose in the top paddock, mate? What are you smoking? Are you crazy? Have you got a screw loose?
The last example here, guys, is that imagine you have a son who’s just bought a new car. (It) could be a sedan a wagon or a ute. For teenage boys in Australia they’ll most often get cars of the brands Holden and Ford. Those are two very popular brands in Australia, and they’ll be a bit of rivalry between kids who get these. They usually prefer Holden over Ford or they might prefer Ford over Holden. Anyway, imagine he has spent a bit of moolah, a bit of cash, a bit of money, quite a few bob, on souping his car up. Okay? So, he’s bought the car and then his souped it up, which is a way of saying that he has modified it to be faster, to be more powerful. So, now it’s really powerful. He goes out one night with his mates hooning around, so driving recklessly. Maybe he does a few burnouts, he does a few doughies, and he gets pulled over by a cop. So, a copper pulls him over, a cop pulls him over, and he calls you up and tells you that he’s* been picked up by a cop and taken to the cop shop. So, you’ve been picked up by a police officer and taken to the police station, “the cop shop”. You might totally lose your shit at him and ask, you know, “Have you totally lost your mind? Have you got a few roos loose in your top paddock, mate? What the hell… what the fuck do you think you were doing?”. You know, you might say “What the hell?”, if you’re wanting to be polite, but if you’re really furious, you can up that by swearing and saying, “What the fuck?”. Okay. So, I don’t often swear, but I like adding it in there if it makes sense to give you a bit of context, ’cause you might hear it.
Anyway, those are the three examples, guys. I hope it helps you understand how to use the expression “to have a few roos loose in the top paddock” or “to have a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock”. It means to be crazy or to act, think, or behave in an eccentric, foolish, or nonsensical manner.
So, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise as usual, guys. This is your chance to practice your pronunciation in English, and specifically your Australian pronunciation if you want an Australian accent. Okay? So, listen and repeat after me, guys. Let’s go.
Listen & Repeat:
To have a
To have a few
To have a few roos
To have a few roos loose
To have a few roos loose in
To have a few roos loose in the
To have a few roos loose in the top
To have a few roos loose in the top paddock
To have a few roos loose in the top paddock
To have a few roos loose in the top paddock
To have a few roos loose in the top paddock
To have a few roos loose in the top paddock
Good job, guys. Now let’s use this expression in a sentence. Let’s go.
I’ve got a few roos loose in the top paddock
You’ve got a few roos loose in the top paddock
He’s got a few roos loose in the top paddock
She’s got a few roos loose in the top paddock
We’ve got a few roos loose in the top paddock
They’ve got a few roos loose in the top paddock
It’s got a few roos loose send that top paddock
Great job, guys. You might notice that I’ve said that a little more slowly than usual, but I’m really trying to emphasise the connected speech there, guys. So, there’s quite a few things going on in those sentences that just went through, and I’ll go through those in The Aussie English Classroom. So, there’re things that I can see now like contractions of the verb “to have”, the t flap is in there, there’s a few links between different words as well, and omissions of certain consonants. So, if you want to learn the connected speech used by an Australian, used in those sentences just now, I’d really recommend joining up to The Aussie English Classroom and giving it a go. Remember, it’s one bark one dollar for your first month. I really, really want you to get in there. Give it a go. You’ve got nothing to lose, and yeah enjoy it guys.
Anyway, before we finish up let’s go through an Aussie fact today, guys.
So, seeing as we were talking about kangaroos in this expression I wanted to look up and find out who the first European was to come across, to see, to discover, to find, a kangaroo. Obviously, indigenous people had been in Australia for 40-60,000 years prior to the European settlement of Australia, the European colonisation of Australia, and so, they will have come across kangaroos well and truly before Europeans. But I was interested in seeing who the first European was.
And so, when I looked this up it turned out that it was James Cook. So, even though James Cook wasn’t the first European to get to Australia, or to, quote-unquote, “discover Australia”, despite the fact that many people think he was, he and his crew were the first known Europeans to sight a kangaroo, so, at least to record the fact. Right? So, there may have been previous Europeans who did so, but they never wrote it down.
So, as Cook sailed up the east coast of Australia he was mapping the coastline. He was trying to draw it to help other ships, to help other people who came to Australia. As he was doing this up the coastline of Australia his ship, the Endeavour, struck the Great Barrier Reef, and it nearly sank. So, the Endeavour was eventually brought for repairs into the harbour that is formed by a river now known as The Endeavour River, for obvious reasons. He landed there on the 10th of June in 1770, and Cook and his crew spent about two months or so repairing his ship in this bay. During this time, he allowed his botanist Sir Joseph Banks heaps of time to go ashore and check out the flora and fauna in the surrounding area, and on the 14th of July 1770 a crewman shot a strange-looking, unknown animal, and this turned out to be a kangaroo. So, the creature was brought back to his camp for examination. The skin was taken back to England eventually. And the word ‘kangaroo’ is believed to have come from the Aboriginal word ‘gangurru’, which is a Guugu Yimithirr word, I hope I said that right, referring to the grey kangaroo. So, ‘gangurru’. And this word was recorded by Sir Joseph Banks as ‘kangaru’ or ‘kanguru’.
And so, I thought that I would read to you the diary entry where Captain Cook talks about the kangaroo and what his first impressions of this animal were. So, here we go.
The head, neck, and shoulders of this animal was very small in proportion to the other parts. The tail was nearly as long as the body thick next to the rump and tapering towards the end. The fore legs were 8 inches long and the hind 22. Its progression is by hopping or jumping 7 or 8 feet at each hop upon its hind legs only, for this set makes no use of the fore, which seemed to be only designed for scratching in the ground, and the skin is covered with a short hairy fur of a dark mouse or grey colour. Excepting the head and ears, which I thought was something like a hare’s, it bears no sort of resemblance to any European animal I ever saw. It is said to bear much resemblance to the jerboa excepting in size. The jerboa being no larger than a common rat.
So, there you go, guys. Captain Cook and his crew are apparently the first Europeans to have ever seen a kangaroo in Australia. I hope you enjoy this episode, guys. I hope you enjoy the Aussie fact.
A bit of outro spiel as usual, guys. I hope you’re enjoying the podcast. You can download the MP3 and the written transcript for this episode when you visit TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com. You can click the link that will be attached to this episode, and there are a bunch of other resources for today’s content as well.
Remember, it’s my mission here to help you learn Australian English as best I can, guys. So, if you have some feedback or if you have some suggestions feel free to send me a message on the Aussie English Facebook page. Simply jump on Facebook and search ‘Aussie English’, and you’ll find it, and you can send me a message on there. If you want to help the podcast please share it with a friend who might need help learning Australian English, or who might find this podcast interesting, and also make sure you sign up to The Aussie English Classroom if you haven’t already so that you can learn English even faster.
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Anyway, as it seems is becoming the pattern, today has been a long episode, guys. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you have a killer Christmas. Merry Christmas and I’ll see you guys next week. Catch ya!
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