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Who thinks this is funny?

  1. Oct 14, 2007 #1
    Aussie or Kiwi term: “mate”; a survivor's guide
    This term is used almost universally (down under), in particular by male members of either group, and appears to function as something of a placeholder, or pause-word, but actually functions as a sobriquet of sorts. “Mate”, or an older (Aussie) term: “cobber”, can mean “friend”, or “pal”, but has several distinct forms.
    Though the nuances, especially of the derogative form, may be easily familiar to a native Antipodean, the non-native speaker may well run into difficulties with it. One should be especially careful of the laconic-derogative. This is used almost exclusively in the interrogative statement: “you far kin' us/me around, mate?”. This is never given a rising or falling tone, but spoken neutrally, usually with some emphasis. When any non-native speaker hears this particular form, it is probably too late to invoke any possibility of avoiding an Antipodean “sorting-out”.
    Spoken interrogatively, with a rising tone, “mate?” often means either: “are you (my friend)?”, or “what (are you trying to do)?”, or “excuse me?”, and usually comes after some other phrase, e.g.: "what happened, mate?”, or “you ok, mate?”.
    At the beginning of a sentence, the same word can have a similar meaning. Here it is often spoken with a slightly falling tone. This is usually a more direct interrogative, e.g. “mate, have you got (that money I lent you/any Metallica/any more beer/...? )”, or “mate, are we going to (the game/get some more beer/see any sheilas/...,)?”.
    Spoken derogatively, “mate” is usually intended in a sarcastic or laconic sense. Ambiguity is intended, so in this sense it functions as a form of displacement, the verbal equivalent of a bull pawing the ground (instead of a rival). The meaning here is illustrated by: “bloody hell, mate”, (what have you done, you idiot?) or “really, mate?” (what did you say, you dickhead?), and so on.
    Used with its natural meaning (friend, cobber), it is a term of endearment, usually male to male (female use of the term is “allowed”, but it is usually understood to be a masculine term -though women are also allowed to be “mates”). “Mates” are friends, who do things together (fishing, drinking, playing sport, etc.), and “mateship” plays an important role in Antipodean culture. Complete strangers exchange this sobriquet as a matter of course, and in this sense it serves both an introductory and a comfirmatory function: “how is it, mate?” or “hey, mate?” (with a slight rising tone) meaning both “hello” and “yes (I am your friend)”.
    It can also be used in its natural sense in the admonishent form: “oh, mate!” Here both terms are intoned with equal emphasis, and the last (“mate!”) with a slightly higher, but also somewhat falling tone, and always with a definite, but important, rise at the very end, so there are, three intonations (“ma-a-ate”) in this form. The final tone, in general expresses the level of admonishment, which can range in meaning from the slight level: “come on, you can't be thinking/say/do that!” to the highest level: “you far kwit/complete dikhead/moron!”, and is illustrative of the versatility of this particular colloquialism. There is a similar, but semantically distinct endearment version of the above form (“oh, mate!”), which generally expresses (immediate) concern for someone in difficulty, such as one who may have encountered the laconic-derogative (see above).

    The word is most frequently encountered in such social situations as parties, pubs and clubs, rugby changing-rooms, and of course, the workplace. Its ubiquity means the visitor is obliged, in some sense, to have at least a passing knowledge of its usage, and of at least the three major forms in Antipodean dialects.
    There are several further nuances that this rather brief introduction has not covered which are explored in later parts of this Reference.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 14, 2007 #2


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    I find it funny in a who's gonna read that kind of way.
  4. Oct 14, 2007 #3

    Gib Z

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    I live in Australian...are you laughing at me? o_O
  5. Oct 14, 2007 #4
    Really, mate?
  6. Oct 14, 2007 #5
    You have absolutely no sense of humour do you, mate?
  7. Oct 14, 2007 #6

    Chi Meson

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    Reminds me of all the uses of "dude." Depends on how it's said. The most difficult pronunciation of "dude" involves a neck-stretch in the middle of the elongated "oo" sound, along with a rising, then falling, then rising tone, effectively making it three syllables. Meaning "I question your status as a friend if you can actually stand there and say that to me." Often confused with "You are not my friend because that was my girlfriend you were kissing," which involves the neck-stretch, but only a rising-then falling tone.
  8. Oct 14, 2007 #7
    I gotcha (he he).
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007
  9. Oct 14, 2007 #8
    avoiding an Antipodean “sorting-out” is

    always a good idea.
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