Potato cake or potato scallop? Sausage in bread or sausage sandwich? Icy pole or By Jingo? Terms vary wildly from state to state within Australia.
While many international travellers try to learn a bit of the local language before they arrive at their destination, it isn’t always all that easy when even the locals don’t agree.
Even for interstate travellers, some terms can be quite baffling.
It’s such a charming quirk of our big brown land that in 2015 three linguists from Melbourne decided to document people’s word preferences across the country.
They ran an online survey and mapped the responses out geographically, using the data as a discussion point for their outreach program called Linguistics Roadshow.
At the time Melbourne University’s Dr Jill Vaughan, who took part in the study, told news.com.au different words have become part of each state’s identity.
“People feel very strongly about the words they use to name a certain thing,” she said.
Here are some of the biggest argument starters in our Aussie vocab.
Potato cake, potato scallop or a potato fritter?
It’s a delicious, oily treat – that is the one thing everybody agrees on. But somehow it is the greatest divider between the Aussie states.
A survey, initiated by Dr Vaughan and fellow linguists Rosey Billington and Katie Jepson, found Western Australians and South Australians preferred to call it a potato fritter.
Victorians stood by potato cake while those in NSW believed it was a scallop.
Sausage in bread vs sausage sandwich
This particular language difference drives a very strong barrier between Victoria and NSW.
Everybody across Australia knows what it’s like to plan a special Saturday trip to Bunnings, not to buy fertiliser but for the delicious snack.
NSW likes to refer to this as a sausage sandwich or sanger, which just seems to outrage Victorians who call it a sausage in bread.
Those south of the NSW border believe a sausage sandwich requires two slices of bread. NSW is on its own on this one though, Dr Vaughan said every other state in Australia settled with sausage in bread.
Maybe we should all just join forces and call it a snag in a rag.
Drinking fountain vs bubbler vs bubble tap
A bubble tap sounds like a great toy for a child but in Wimmera in Victoria, it’s where you get a drink at school or at the park.
Those more towards Melbourne call it a drinking fountain while people in NSW call it a bubbler.
Of the variation within Victoria, Dr Vaughan said: “It’s really surprising you can drive two hours from urban Melbourne but when you reach a regional pocket you get a different variation altogether.”
In Brisbane, bubbler is also a popular term.
Regardless, the argument may be moot soon as the COVID-unfriendly fountains become not particularly PC in 2020.
Icy pole vs ice block vs by jingo
I’m guessing the first thing you’re all asking is what the heck is a by jingo?
Apparently that is what those in the Sunshine State like to call a refreshing, frozen sweet.
Anybody who wants to argue this, check the Macquarie Dictionary, the term is in there.
Victorians prefer to play it straight on this one and call it an icy pole while people in NSW call it an ice block.
There isn’t too much heated debate between the states on this one, but it’s pretty safe to say both states would be happy for by jingo to stay in Queensland.
Dr Vaughan said by jingo used to be a brand name.
“Sometimes brand names for particular items just stick,” she said.
Devon vs stras
The processed meat sandwich filling and primary school lunch box staple — traditionally accompanied by a good squirt of tomato sauce — is known as devon in NSW, much to the chagrin of Victorians, where it’s called stras (or straz — short for Strasburg, the German town).
Another enjoyable titbit: In New Zealand, it’s called ‘luncheon sausage’.
Blood nose vs nose bleed
When somebody’s nose is bleeding, Victorians like to say they have a blood nose. But in NSW it’s referred to as a nose bleed.
Bathers vs swimmers vs cozzies vs togs
This one divides more than just states. It divides people within the same states.
Victorians band together and call them bathers.
NSW mostly calls them swimmers but if you want to be different and live in urban Sydney then you better start calling them cozzies.
Togs is what the Queenslanders call them and, let’s face it, they would probably know – they’re pretty much the uniform up there.