Obama Gives Speaking Australian a Burl

Hoping to “reverse the trend” of the Australian language being Americanized, President Obama decided to try out some uniquely Aussie sayings in his dinner speech to members of Parliament.

Not since Crocodile Dundee stormed American pop culture in the 1980's have we been treated to so many Australian catchphrases – and Obama got some good laughs out of it. From “burl” to “chinwag”; from “ear bashing” to “in top nick,” the president tried to win his audience by sounding like them. Here is the transcript of his attempt with rough translations in italics:

“I know there is some concern here that your Australian language is being Americanized so perhaps its time for us to reverse the trend. Tonight with your permission I’d like to give it a burl (“give it a try”). I want to thank the prime minister for a very productive meeting that we had today, I think she’ll agree that it was a real chinwag (“good chat”).

When Julia and I meet we listen to each other, we learn from each other, it’s not just a lot of ear-bashing (“telling you a thing or two”) – that’s a good one, ear bashing. I can use that in Washington. (laughs) There’s a lot of ear-bashing sometimes. That’s been the story of our two nations. Through a century of progress and struggle we have stood together in good times and in bad. We’ve faced our share of sticky wickets (“difficult circumstances”). In some of our darkest moments when our countries have been threatened, when we needed a friend to count on, we’ve always been there for each other.

At Darwin, at Midway, after 9/11 and after Bali, it’s that moment in the midst of battle when the bullets are flying and the outcome is uncertain, when Americans and Aussies look over at each other knowing that we’ve got each other’s backs, knowing in our hearts ‘no worries she’ll be right’ (“Don’t worry, everything will work out”). And so tonight, as we mark 60 years of this remarkable alliance, through war and peace, hardship and prosperity, we gather together among so many friends who sustain the bonds between us, and we can say with confidence and with pride the alliance between the United States and Australia is deeper and stronger than it has ever been. Spot on (“Right on the money”). Cracker Jack. In top nick (“In great condition”).

But the president also made clear that “we Americans and Australians, we may not always speak the same way or use the same words but I think its pretty clear … that we understand each other. We see the world in the same way, even if we disagree on the merits of vegemite.”