15 November 2008

Bring a plate!

The English language takes on various forms as people twist and turn words to make it their own. This is very much applicable with our country the Philippines as well. Take for example, "cardiac". In the true sense of the word, it refers to the heart. But we use it to define something very exciting, like a "cardiac game" on basketball finals. When we also say "salvage", we usually mean it's when somebody dies of very questionable and violent nature. But the true sense of the word actually means to save something!

Here in New Zealand, we are learning words and usages unique to the country as well. When somebody offers you a cuppa, they're inviting you for a break (a cup of coffee or tea). And when somebody says he'll "shout" you the drinks, or if there's a shout after office hours, it means that you're in for a treat. When they ask you to "bag" a seat, it means to go ahead and look for a table in a pub and reserve seats by placing your bag or jacket on the table.

And if there's a gathering or party and you're invited, you may be asked to bring a plate. Don't take it literally. They mean it's a potluck party, and that you are expected to bring a dish along. It's good practice to ask what sort of dish is expected so that you'll have an idea of what to bring.... on a nice plate :-).

New Zealanders have a rich vocabulary of colloquialisms so aside from getting acquainted with their unique accent, part of the adaptation process is learning about these words and phrases. I just hope I don't make a fool of myself anytime soon when I get a different meaning from what they are trying to say.

That'd be all, mate!


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