Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Long and the Short of It

I really am postponing the inevitable this morning. It's 10.00 and I'm still in my tracky daks avoiding housework. ClareBear's still asleep so its an excuse not to rattle around like Sadie the Cleaning Lady. The previous post on Oddwords got me thinking about what I think is an Australian phenomenon - the alteration of someones name, given or surname. We have a compulson to shorten long names, lengthen short ones or designate a nick name rather than call someone by the name their parents must have anguished over for nine months while their little darlings were cooking in-utero.

Thompson becomes Thommo
Bainbridge becomes Baino
Smith becomes Smithy
Thorpe becomes Thorpey
Fitzgerald or Fitzpatrick becomes Fitzy
Dunn becomes Dunny (may your chickens turn into emus and knock yer dunny down)

If you have red hair, you're Bluey and if you have white hair you're Snowy
If your ears stick out, you're a Wingnut
If your nose is larger than most you might get Schnoz
If you're height challenged, it's Shorty or the tall may get Stretch

If you're Asian you're a Curry Muncher, South East Asian a Minga or Italian you're a Wog, Americans are Septic Tanks, English are Pommies and the Irish are all Micks or Paddys. New Zealanders are Kiwi's and aboriginals Abbo's (non PC) Boongs or Petrol Sniffers

Even my kids names were carefully chosen to avoid alteration but it didn't work.
Clare gets Clarey or Clarence or Baino (yep I stole it)
If you're Adam, it's Ad or AddyB
Helen becomes Hells or Hellsy

. . . or there's
Dazza, Gazza, Mick, Gerry and Robbo

I'm guilty of it myself with friends who have names like Teen for Kristina, Dame for Damian, Marky Boy for Mark, Rob for Robynne, Ros for Roslyn, Jude for Judith and that doesn't include the myriad of stupid greetings such as Possum, Poppet, Cariad, Sweet-Pea, Dahls and Chicken Lips. All terms of endearment I assure you.

The only thing I draw the line at is being called Ma or Mrs B. Makes me sound like some rotund ancient washer woman with pendulous bossoms and a large floral dress with an apron donning the front. My nickname has always been Nell . I hated it as a child but as kids, my friend and I were playing this silly game where you spell your name backwards and mine was Neleh Nnud . . . I guess I was fated to have even those who didn't know my father's 'pet' name for me to call me Nellie - and I've been Nell ever since. I don't mind so much now as long as I don't get formal invitations with it written inside and as long as I'm introduced by my real name so that people don't think my parents had the bad judgement to actually christen me with such an old fashioned nome de plume.

So be prepared . . . you will not be called your 'real' name unless you insist upon it. It's simply un-Australian


Brianf said...

It is not an Austrailian thing it's just that the Ozzies come up with some strange ones.
Thompson = Thommo. huh?
Thompson or Thomas = Tom or Tommy.
Baino makes sense.
Smith = Smitty
Thorpe = Thorpe
Fitzgerald = Fitz not Fitzy
Virginia = Gin, Ginny or Ginger
Donald = Don or Donny
Most guys names can be truncated and a Y added as in
John = Johnny
Charles = Chucky
Dennis = Denny
Michael = Mikey
Joseph = Joey
My bud Sean and I use to bust on others on the ZEN team saying we had the only names that could not made into a nickname. That was until I came up with Seanetta

Baino said...

Aww bugga! He must be thrilled! Sounds like a tranny name.
"ZEN" team?

Brianf said...

The ZEN Shooting Team is the rifle team I shoot for.

Baino said...

Love you Brian . . a shooting team called ZEN . . classic! XOX

Baino said...

If I ever venture over there, will you teach me?

Dario Sanchez said...

Depending on what part of the country you're from here, your first name is either obsolete or has a wee bit added to it:
I am referred to mostly as Sanchez - Dario Sanchez having become a bit of a nickname at this stage - or my real last name, but nearly never by my first name.

In North Dublin however, last names are obsolete. Observe:
John - Jonner
Thomas - Tommer or Thommo
Gerard - Gerry, Ger, Gerzer
James - Jim, Jimbo, Jimbob
Anthony - Tony, Anto
Richard - Dick (ha ha ha)

or occasionally names are completely obsolete. My uncle has friends who are known as Snitch, Rooster, and Trigger. I don't know their real names, if they have any.

Baino said...

You Oirsh are hilarious. And I thought we had the monopoly on silly - silly me!

Brianf said...

Ya' know Dario brings up a good point about nicknames. I know a few people who I know as Bones, Truck or Pap.
The one that always got me is the nickname White or Whitey. This was more prevalent in my parents generation. A good friend had an Uncle White whos name was Robert and my Grandfather had a friend Whitey whoes name was Thomas.