AUSTLANG.

Anggarrgoon says:

AUSTLANG is now public. It’s an absolutely fabulous resource for Australian languages and there should be a huge round of applause for Kazuko Obata at AIATSIS who did most of the legwork.
So what is Austlang anyway? It’s a web database of information about Australian languages. It includes summaries of speaker estimates, genealogical classification in a variety of publications, an estimate of degree of document, and there’s a nice interface with google maps.

I have nothing to add except: what a great thing, and bless the internet that allows us to use it!

Comments

  1. AUSTLANG… it may contain words or descriptions which are not normally spoken of publicly.
    Huh. So panties go back really a long way, I’d no idea.

  2. Users of this system should be aware that, in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, hearing and seeing of names of deceased persons may cause sadness or distress and in some cases offend against strongly held cultural prohibitions.
    In my family the word “dead/died” was taboo. The correct phrase, at least when applied to deceased family members was “passed on”.
    But enough of these depressing subjects. Kron’s tediously repetitive, gratuitous use of the p-word reminds me… . How about another nice holiday pet video. The cats in this one are dancing, sort of.

  3. mollymooly says:

    I noticed in Australia that [public-sector channel] SBS news would preface a report about, say, an indigenous murder victim with a warning that it mentioned / depicted someone who had “passed on”. Commercial TV stations reporting the same story would give no such warning.

  4. A. J. P. Crown says:

    Wow, that’s funny, Nidge. In my family (atheists) ‘passed on’ is taboo. The correct phrase, at least when applied to deceased family members and phone lines is ‘dead’. We use ‘passed on’ to refer to rotten things that you’re throwing out of the fridge.

  5. Agree with AJP. In this sub-strata of British society, “passed on” is regarded as being definitely non-U, like toilet for lavatory. God rest the shade of Nancy Mitford….

  6. A. J. P. Crown says:

    Funnily enough I often say toilet now. It’s because I’m an architect and you can’t write ‘men’s loos’ and ‘women’s loos’ on 1:100 plans, especially when their going to be read by Finns. Americans use ‘lavatory’ for wash-basin (only the word, not the object).

  7. P, A. J. O'Cwnr says:

    they’re

  8. scarabaeus says:

    dearly departed

  9. we are gathered here

  10. rootlesscosmo says:

    Can anyone confirm (or refute) my vague belief that the usage “passed on” was introduced as an element of 19th century Spiritualism?

  11. Funnily enough I often say toilet now. It’s because I’m an architect …
    I’m not an architect but the same is true of me, though the word was definitely taboo when I was growing up. Likewise I agree with AJP that the only word to desscribe someone who dead is dead.

  12. John Emerson says:

    “Croaked” is the formal term. Or “bought the farm”.

  13. John Emerson says:

    “Croaked” is the formal term. Or “bought the farm”.

  14. mollymooly says:

    “Can anyone confirm (or refute) my vague belief that the usage “passed on” was introduced as an element of 19th century Spiritualism?”
    It can be refuted by the good people at the OED, who also say “pass” [=die] is “Now chiefly N. Amer. and in Spiritualism” and “pass over” is “Associated esp. with Spiritualism”

  15. This is really great! It’s amazing the kind of information that’s readily available on the web, with more and more being added every day!

  16. the usage “passed on”
    In my family this was from a Methodist. Of course everyone in the Camelsnose clan goes to heaven, although sometimes in an untimely fashion, and when they do, those who miss them tremendously look forward to an eventual reunion. Who could possibly suggest any other scenario.

  17. AJP: Americans use ‘lavatory’ for wash-basin
    Still haven’t met any Americans, huh?

  18. Cherie Woodworth says:

    On Aussie-isms — there’s and interesting clip on the expanded DVD version of “Finding Nemo.”
    The giant toothy shark, Bruce, you recall, speaks with a pronounced Aussie accent (though the reef fish all speak American*). In the bonus material, Bruce is shown first in planning sketches with a fake Aussie accent voiced by the crew at Pixar, then the same segment is shown as finished product with the real Aussie from an Aussie actor. (The segment is labelled “fake Aussie” and “real Aussie,” in case you missed the point.)
    It’s an interesting way to compare what Californians think sounds like Aussie with the real thing.
    *As for the other sea creatures, the lobsters speak pseudo-Maineish, as when they say the abyss was “wicked dahk.” Of course, there are no Maine lobstahs on the Australian reef, so what they would speak is beside the point.

  19. It’s an interesting way to compare what Californians think sounds like Aussie with the real thing.
    Bad imitations of Aussie accents are the norm. This I know thanks to living on the non-penal side of the Tasman, and thus suffering much exposure to the real thing. Bad imitations of Kiwi accents are even more common. Even post-Conchords, few Bottomworlders seem to have mastered an authentic Kiwi accent.

  20. American plumbers definitely do use lavatory in the sense ‘sink’, and etymology is on their side.

  21. The last time I heard the word “lavatory” was from my second grade teacher who didn’t want to be so crass as to say the word “bathroom”, or heaven forbid, “toilet”, which after all is the thing that gets sat on. There was a girls’ lavatory and a boys’ lavatory.
    In Chicago I have heard people say they need to wash their hands as a euphemism for going to the toilet.
    Americans wash their hands in a “sink”.

  22. John Emerson says:

    A lifetime ago I met two little Belgian-American girls who pronounced “toilet” in French. They were trying to be funny.

  23. John Emerson says:

    A lifetime ago I met two little Belgian-American girls who pronounced “toilet” in French. They were trying to be funny.

  24. I rather like the word toilet, since it can be understood in so many languages. It’s one of the few things I can say in French, besides coffee and ham sandwich. I also know how to say “I don’t speak any French”, (Je ne parle pa France) but apparently I say it so well no one is convinced and immediately upon hearing it they always launch into a long tirade in that language. A useless phrase–better to answer in English.

  25. French is a read-only language for me these days (and that badly), but isn’t “I don’t speak any French”, “Je ne parle pas francais“? Apologies for the lack of a cedilla, I am not on my regular PC and can’t figure out how to add it here.

  26. You got me, Stuart, I only know how to say it, not write it–and apparently much too well.

  27. Returning to the dead, I don’t think I’ve ever heard “passed on”or “passed over”, but “passed away” is a common euphemism here and doesn’t seem to have any religious/afterlife connotations, judging by the frequency of its use by the godless (which is pretty much every NZer)

  28. I was once discussing life with an usher at the Burgtheater in Vienna. He told me that what he liked best about his work was “die Toiletten.” I had to pause for a second before I realized that he was talking about fancy gowns and not plumbing.

  29. David Marjanović says:

    I had to pause for a second before I realized that he was talking about fancy gowns and not plumbing.

    WTF. I had no idea this sense of the word existed.

  30. mollymooly says:

    The vocabulary of excretion has so many layers of euphemism: we refer not to performing the act but to going to the room containing the object which facilitates the act. I think “WC” is more international — certainly less ambiguous — than “toilet”, although variation in pronunciation probably makes it less transparent in speech. Using a foreign abbreviation adds two more layers of euphemism to the lucky non-anglophones.
    The OED’s oldest citations for the relevant senses of “toilet” and “wash one’s hands” are from 1895 and 1938 respectively. I think we would be saying “do it” by now if that wasn’t already used for the other great lexical taboo.

  31. The first time I ever heard the expression WC was when I was 17 or 18 and read this tasteless joke.
    Then there was Luther’s infamous cloaca, the location of Luther’s most famous theological inspiration, that the more boring but also more scholarly scholars now say was not a toilet.

Speak Your Mind

*