// you’re reading...


An Australian View Of Australia

F. W. Boreham, 1886-1959 – speaking in North America in the 1930’s.

“I come from Australia, and to us Australians, you Americans seem strange people. Not that you are strange; but you look queer to us. For Australia, as you know, is a topsy-turvy kind of place. It is a place where we walk with our feet to your feet; a place whose midnight corresponds with your noon and whose noon corresponds with your midnight. A place where we get up when you go to bed and go to bed when you get up; a place where we celebrate Christmas at midsummer and keep the fourth of July in the depth of winter; a place where we go north in winter if we want to be warm and go south in summer is we want to be cool; a place where the trees shed their bark instead of their leaves, where the birds laugh and where the native animals are fitted out with pockets.

Now, just as all the world looks upside down to a man who is standing on his head, it is natural that, to us Australians, you Americans should appear odd. Here in my hand, for example, is the printed program of this gathering. The word Program is spelt with only seven letters. I am filled with admiration. The final letters of the word as we spell it are, of course, superfluous. But we British people never notice that, and, if we had noticed it, we should have been too conservative to make the change.

But you Americans both see and act. The thing that puzzles me however, is that you, being such misers with your letters, are such spendthrifts with your syllables. You cut the final letters of our program; you deleted the u from colour and honour and valour; you even paint the words GO SLO in enormous letters across your city streets; yet you call a lift an elevator, a car an automobile, a jug a pitcher, a tram a street-car, and so on.

Now this does strike us as peculiar. It would not be so bad if your long words were the right words and our short words the wrong words. But our short words are the right words and your long words are the wrong words. A lift is a lift; it not an elevator. You can lift a man up and lift him down; but you can’t elevate him up and elevate him down . . .”


Comments are disallowed for this post.

Comments are closed.