Saturday, August 11, 2012


I started to notice Australians on TV (mostly Q and A) saying "Look".

They would start their sentence with something like, "Now look"or "well, look."

I wondered if it was an Aussie thing or whether Americans did it too, and I just hadn't noticed.

But today I did a rare visit to Google+ and James had a link to an article about it.

It IS an Aussie thing.

I wonder why I didn't notice it until recently.

MAYBE it's because until recently I read Aussie language more than I heard it.  

It's not like I speak to Australians often.

It's probably something that's said more in oral language than in written.

But now I'm hearing more Australian-talking, because I'm watching Q and A.

I did have Offspring before, but that's scripted.  It might not pick up all the little language nuances.

I do vaguely remember the singing lady saying it.  OR I can imagine her saying it. 


  1. It's such an Aussie thing, one of those things I didn't realize was Aussie until I went traveling and an American asked me about it. It's something you wouldn't write but is spoken all the time, and it first really make a lot of sense.

  2. Look Dina, it is Aussie slang.

    Written or spoken, can you detect that it is quite aggressive? Essentially it is saying you need to look harder because something is simple and you are not understanding it and so you are not very smart. It's a bully word, I suppose.

    Oddly, if you say it twice, it subdues it a little. Now, look, look. It is perhaps more an interruption then. That is, I need to interrupt what you are saying to add something so that you will then understand.

  3. Oh dear, I can't say I've ever noticed that it might be an Aussie thing. Maybe I just don't get involved enough with sport broadcasts, or any form of communication that evolved after the mid 1980s. Until a few minutes ago had no idea google+ was some kind of social page app thingy.

    Is "Look" a localised thing? For many years Queenslanders always punctuated the end of their sentences with eh!? .

    Andrew put it quite well when he suggested why it could sound aggressive.

    Maybe it starts as an "ummm" habit - conversational spakfilla people use while they are thinking of what to say. Or kinda like, yinnow, the way Valley Girls say "like".

    The Other doesn't swear, but says "Strike!" if she's surprised. It's a very 1930s expression.
    Struth, I must live in a cocoon inside a time warp.

  4. Kate: Do you say it a lot?

    Andrew: It does sound a bit aggressive. Or maybe not aggressive..exactly. When I hear it, the speaker sounds a bit exasperated.

    The article says that although it may sound aggressive; it's not.

    I guess it's seen in different ways?

    Has it been used a long time? Or is it relatively new?

  5. Still thinking ... and it's a Sunday!
    On a show like Q&A "look" probably is used aggressively.
    But I just cast my eyes over to the sidebar and looked at the opening line of Jack's latest blog.

    "Take this," he says. "I am doing...It gets... You got that?"

    Does this mean that in Neuro-Linguistic-Programming terms Jack is primarily kinaesthetic? Doe he learn stuff best by doing it?
    Is "Look" used mainly by people who think visually? Or "Listen" by people who think verbally?

    As a teacher you've probably head all this before, but to some people it sounds like mumbo jumbo.
    I often commented to The Other that she is "not a reader". As she has more degrees than a circle, this did not go over well. She's a proof junkie.

    Finally, a new manager moved into one of the hospitals where The Other regularly took students. She would come home chortling about the woman's unsettling new management style.
    The room where everyone usually went to photocopy stuff was commandeered and a lock put on the door. One after the other, people would rush up to the door, push on the handle and then slam into the door because it wouldn't open. Not one of them [The Other included] had noticed the new, huge red sign on the door that said PRIVATE. The Other walked up and down corridors and realised there were new signs and memos everywhere, and finally had proof that she is "not a reader". Only one in ten people are. The new manager had a slight problem in the people skills department.

    I once put a "memo" on a factory notice board to prove a similar point to someone. It had all the proper formatting of a memo, but all the memo said was Nobody Ever Reads Memos... $1 to the first person to tell me I'm wrong.
    It never cost me a cent.

  6. Fruitcake,

    That's funny, fascinating, and kind of sad about the memo.

    What if someone writes something important someday?

    Well, actually....I'm sure important things have been written. And missed.

    I had to read your comment 3 times to get it...the look, listen, and take this bit.

    So I'm a reader...but one who has to read things multiple times.

    Anyway...that's a great hypothesis.

    I don't think Jack is a kinesthetic learner though.

    I think most of his learning comes from watching videos. So that would be visual and auditory.

    I asked him what he meant by "Take this". He said it was just something he made up.

    I'm guessing he heard/read it somewhere though.

    It's funny. We're all kind of mimics in our family. I mimic accents. Jack and Tim will mimic sayings..speech patterns.

    Anyway...back to "take this" It does seem like it could be a variation of look.

    Although "take this" (to me) sounds more like someone explaining something. Or it kind of sounds like someone presenting an example.

    "Listen" and "look" kind of sounds more annoyed to me. I get a sense of scolding.

    It reminds me of a parent talking to a child.

    "Look. I know you want to stay up and watch the show. But it's past your bedtime."

    Something like that....

  7. "Look. I know you want to stay up and watch the show. But it's past your bedtime."

    Perfect example actually...
    I've never thought of it as scolding or aggressive or anything.. I wouldn't say I use it a lot but did catch myself using it today and instantly thought I'd let you know..I was at work complaining to a friend about a co-worker.. long story short three months ago she made me feel really horrible about my wedding insisting it was 'hugely expensive' and 'costing your parents so much money' ( it's not actually but she wouldn't be told) anyway, I worked with her on Friday and she baffled me by asking 'So are you engaged? When's the wedding? Do you think you'll get married in town?'.. as though our previous conversation hadn't happened so I said to my friend 'Look, it's not like I expect them all to remember everything about me, but for goodness sakes, I wear an engagement ring and she's already criticised my wedding plans, is she losing it?'.. I guess it's a completely pointless use of the word, much like 'like' 'y'know' and all those, only it's not only used by teenage girls. My well educated father (he's got more letters after his name than in it!) says it. It's just something we say!

    Sorry if this was really long and rambling, but since you bought it up, I've been thinking about it a bit!

  8. Kate,

    Your coworker reminds me of my sister. She says bitchy judgmental things like that.

    Good example of the word "look".

    I wonder if your coworker actually forgot she said those stuff....or was she just trying to play innocent.