Last week while perusing Dr June Factor’s excellent book on children's colloquialisms Kidspeak! I noticed the following definition
Macker’s = McDonald’s
Wait a minute…. Dr Factor is a highly respected academic and author of kids’ favourites such as “Far out Brussel Sprout!” and “All right, Vegemite!”. Surely she would know that we Aussies call McDonald’s
Don’t we? Five out of five adults I asked that night thought so. But I did the honourable thing and emailed Dr Factor to ask how, why, what!? Here is her lovely reply
Dear Ms Asterisk and Ms Ellipsis,
.. it's all about pronunciation: my spelling is an attempt to catch
the sound (and note the apostrophe). But of course you may well be right, at least where you live, and people pronounce it your way*. …
* content not related to our discussion omitted
Pronunciation we can agree on, it’s spelling that is causing me angst. How do we check which spelling is used most? Let’s check that paragon of knowledge: the Internet
- “Maccas” turns up 183,000 search results; all results on the first page concerned McDonald's, top result referred to the Australian McDonald's Website .
- “Mackers” turns up 57,800 searches; none of the first page results referred to McDonald's.
Fairfax Newspaper Archives
A search of the Fairfax archives in the last 12 months finds 48 references to “Maccas” but no references to “Mackers” or “Macker’s”.
A search of the ABC website finds 44 references to “Maccas” as in the restaurant (Not Ian “Macca” McNamara) and one reference to “Macker’s” (PM program in 2001).
The Australian Index (exploring australian blogs)
A search of this website revealled 78 references to "Maccas" and 3 references to "Mackers"
Neither term is referenced in the Macquarie Dictionary or the Australian Word Map.
So where is the spelling “Mackers” used? It's used in websites designed to introduce non-Australians to Australian slang such as the ones here and here. References to these and similar “Aussie slang” websites are to be found in a few blogs but the spelling "Mackers" doesn't appear to be extensive.
Spelling is something that evolves over time and “Maccas/Mackers” is a young word. Which one will win out? I reckon the overwhelming case is for a “Maccas” spelling.
What do you think? I mean, not that I care but, well, it’s just going to annoy me.
One thing is certain: it’s obvious from the literature that we have no idea whether Maccas/Mackers has an apostrophe or not. I’m voting for not. But that is a subject that deserves its own post.
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