This is part of an ongoing series of posts on my favorite Aussie slang. Be sure to check back for updates, or subscribe to my RSS feed to get updates to your reader automatically. For more tips on how to speak like an Aussie, check out this Australian language guide.
Being American, you can be sure I have been subjected to countless re-enactments of Joey from Friends asking the ladies, “How you doin’?” It’s just standard when growing up in the day and age that I did… also because asking someone, “How are you doing?” is one of the ways we Americans do it.
Not in Oz. In Australia, you’re bombarded with the oh-so-common greeting, “How ya going?” and it would almost stop me in my tracks every time I heard it. Seriously. If a coworker said this to me, I almost had to pause to think about how I was supposed to respond.
In my head, I instantaneously mulled over whether or not it was the equivalent of, “How are you doing?” or maybe, “How’s it going?” But, “How ya going?”…
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Just utterly confusing. (I know my American counterparts can back me up here.)
Sadly, I came to a realization just a few weeks ago that I have somehow in the past 2 years in Australia crossed a line. Yes, I love Australia, and even its kooky language differences, but a part of me is sad to lose my Midwestern American ways, including the way I talk.
At a travel meet-up in Sydney, I approached an American girl to be told, “That finally doesn’t catch me off guard.”
What? It took me a second to process what exactly she meant by this. Then, it clicked.
She was referring to the fact that I approached and asked her without flinching, “How ya going?”
It’s a funny, funny world…