Day 57: How to Talk Like a Kiwi (part 2)

Anything ‘as’: In our first lesson on how to talk like a Kiwi I covered ‘sweet as’. There are lots of similar phrases with the word ‘as’ – ‘cheap as’, ‘mean as’, ‘hard as’, ‘easy as’, etc. I was dealing with a difficult person this week and referred to him as ‘rude as’ – it was unfortunate that the term was needed but I was pleased to see how natural it sounded and how much I sounded like a Kiwi.

Bugger: Bugger is an expletive used to show dissatisfaction or to refer to someone whose behavior isn’t pleasing. The word was made famous in New Zealand by a Toyota commercial where ‘bugger’ was the only word spoken. There was a bit of uproar about it in 1999 because bugger was considered by many to be a swear word. The complaints weren’t upheld and the commercial continued but in the meantime Toyota made a second version with the word bleeped out which got them even more attention. The commercial was so famous in NZ that there was an article in the New Zealand Herald when the dog that starred in it passed away.


Kiwi: Kiwi is the common nickname for people of New Zealand. I use the expression a lot and it is really common here. But Kiwi is also a flightless bird native to New Zealand and then there is the kiwi fruit which used to be called a Chinese Gooseberry. People usually call the bird a kiwi but when referring to the fruit it usually is two words (kiwi fruit) rather than just kiwi.

Speedo: Speedo here is usually used as a shorter way of referring to a car’s speedometer. You would say something like ‘the speedo says we’re going 70’. To my American ear this is funny because I think of speedos as the small bathing suit worn by men and swimmers. It has that meaning in New Zealand as well but it is less common.

Togs: Togs are a weird one for me. Togs are what I would call a bathing suit or swim suit but in New Zealand the singular and plural are togs. Togs can refer to just about any swim suit including speedos. My absolute favorite of all New Zealand commercials is the one below that tells you how to differentiate togs from underwear. It is classic!


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