Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Please don't be offended by my AuE

Anyone who has travelled internationally will know that misreading the regional and international differences in the English language can cause a raised eyebrow or two.

I have a well travelled friend who cannot stand the Aussie use of the word ‘toilet’ to signify the room in which the toilet sits. This is AuE (Australian English). She would prefer the AmE (American English) “restroom” or “bathroom”. The BrE (British English) version is “lavatory”, “loo” or “lav”. Toilet is used in BrE but is seen as ‘declasse*’.

I know this because, not wanting to offend anyone who reads this blog, I quickly checked Lynneguist’s blog Separated by a Common Language to see if there was a universally acceptable term. This blog is a haven of AmE/BrE quirks. From my extraordinarily extensive research there (!) it appears that we simply have to deal with regional differences.

So I’m sorry if I offend anyone but here in Australia we go to the toilet. Or if that is not ‘declasse’ enough - the dunny. If it makes you more comfortable my mum (AmE: mom) goes to the “lav”.

* OED: declasse: adj. “that has fallen in social class”
** photo of outback dunny courtesy of here

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