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Which is an Italian island near Naples?


Stone the Crows


By Miranda

It's true that we gradually update our speech and idioms without realising it, and without recognising that in abandoning an old phrase, we've lost part of our heritage of language. 
Even when I was at school it was wildly uncool to use an exclamation such as 'Bonzer', and addressing someone as 'mate' was just SO old-fashioned.
Interestingly, the 'mate' has come back in again over the years, at least for some younger people, so that everyone, regardless of gender, can be one.
Nonetheless, I do remember being enraptured as a child by the language of Lindsay in The Magic Pudding, and of CJ Dennis in The Sentimental Bloke
"'Er name's Doreen... You could er knocked me down wiv' 'arf a brick!" - I love it to this day!
And recently I heard someone relate a saying of their parent, "I bet you feel so small you could sit on a bus ticket and swing your legs". Great fun! I hadn't heard this one before so I did a bit of exploring online but all I came up with was an American version in which you could sit on a dime... 
This made me wonder if the saying is as domestic as it sounded. 
It's so hard to be sure, especially when you're trying to remember what your grandparent or even great-grandparent used to say. And even they were influenced by the universal language of cinema - well, the US English of cinema, mostly.
Even if we remember them properly and they really were a product of our culture at that time, is it even possible to revive some of these usages without being a bit affected?
Anyway, what phrase or saying would you like to rescue from memory and see in use again?
NOTE FROM JESSIE: Play our Hot In Cleveland TV Quiz - you could WIN one of 50 DVD packs, thanks to our friends at Hopscotch Films! 

18 Responses to

Stone the Crows

kragzy said:
March 01, 2011 at 2:29 PM

The heading of this blog got my attention because it immediately reminded me of my grandfather. He was born in 1900 in Glebe, Sydney, the son of a fireman of unknown heritage, possibly going back to convict days. 'Stone the crows' was one his many wonderful truly Australian sayings. I know I whinge a lot in these blogs about things we have lost (perhaps I am just a grumpy old man!) but I truly miss the old Aussie slang. I love 'The Sentimental Bloke' and well remember older men when I was a child speaking just like that. Struth mate, bring back 'stone the crows' in memory of me old cobbers.

nanny24 said:
March 01, 2011 at 6:20 PM

My great grandparents & grandparents were from England, so growing up I was exposed to a miriad of words & phrases that you just don't hear now. If you asked my grandmother where someone was, she'd say "up in Annie's room behind the clock." Then there is the adage, "children should be seen & not heard." This older language is lost to todays' generation, & they have a language all of their own. God help us, particularly with some of the wording in modern music! (but don't start me on that!!!)

March 02, 2011 at 12:06 PM

When I was a young girl growing up my mother had many odd sayings and one I remember most is 'there is more than one way to skin a cat'! Another of her favourites was 'you know how many beans make five'! This last one always intrigued me. I guessed that I should have known the answer to the question I had just asked.

cherub said:
March 02, 2011 at 8:24 PM

A favourite for me is 'sounds like a bit of a Furphy' meaning rumour or exaggeration. Have used it all my life and recall it being a common saying among my parents generation. Was unaware that it came from WW1 water tanks that made their way around the battle fields with bits of information until I came across a tank with explanation in a local museum.

greenpeas said:
March 03, 2011 at 12:15 AM

My granddaughter was being a bit impatient the other day "Hurry up Slowpoke" she I called back "I'll be there in a shake of a lamb's tail". Both expressions have now been revived in our family. Five beans & a half beans, half a bean, two beans and one has bean. This came up one night on Facebook when a friend in Broadford (Vic) talked about his grandfather's favourite wise sayings.

March 03, 2011 at 1:42 AM

My favourite one of Mum's sayings was when we asked her what was for tea she'd reply "A carraway seed and a look around" but my friend's Mum would say "Bread and duck under the table". I still use many of the old sayings much to my grandchildren's horror, but I like them much better than the sayings I hear from younger people these days!

Annabella said:
March 03, 2011 at 12:31 PM

My favourite was "wigwam for a goose's bridle" when we asked Dad what he was making. Last Xmas we had to count his "sayings" in our normal conversation - it was surprising how many popped up - I certainly prefer these to modern day "lingo".

March 03, 2011 at 7:43 PM

When I first met my husband, who came from England, he mentioned an occasion here at work, one payday afternoon, when they had been promised extra money for xmas bonuses, when he said to the secretary "I bet you're looking forward to a good screw tonight." He asked me why the secretary acted all angry and embarrassed. I had to explain that screw in Oz does not mean "a twist of paper with the wages in it" as it did in England, because that is how it used to be given very very long ago, and apparently the expression was still used for wages. And no, I will not explain the Oz meaning. You probably all know it.

rhve said:
March 05, 2011 at 10:54 PM

Well, this has revived some memories! When asked what was for dinner my great aunt used to say "bread and duck under the table" and sometimes added "and a roll with honey". And things were often "up in Annie's room behind the clock". Think I'll have to revive them for my grandchildren.

Suzi said:
March 06, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Here's another I bet many haven't heard for a while - if you asked my dad where he was going and it was none of your business, or he was being secretive he would say "I'm going to see a man about a dog". I think most of the time he was off to the pub.

fnqmick said:
March 06, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Who remembers "Thank your mother for the rabbits"?

spoggy said:
March 06, 2011 at 4:10 PM

funny , but a "wigwam for a gooses bridle " is actually a REAL thing ? it was a piece of farming equipment , which required leather straps to make it work ? not sure about why or how , but it was real ?

spoggy said:
March 06, 2011 at 4:17 PM

any one remember " as dry as a dead dingo's guts " ? hehheeh not very nice i know but typically OZ

March 06, 2011 at 9:20 PM

When I was a kid and I asked my mum for something over the top, silly or expensive I would be told I'd get it "when Nelson gets his eye back". It was so annoying... and now I use it now on my own kids, but now I just say "Well, you know Nelson..." and they get as annoyed as I once did.

philf said:
March 07, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Australian slang seems to be very simile-oriented, as in its "something as a something's something" (being in polite company, I wont expand too much on the examples I am quite fond of). Once upon a very long time ago, while at school, I was introduced to a book called "Less Stalk Strine" by Afferbeck Lauder (a nom de plume), which was the seminal dissertation on the variation of the English language called "Strine" which is Strine for Australian (say it to yourself in an Aussie accent). This book has a great variety of now old-fashioned terminology, including Stone the Crows, that when sounded out with the Aussie nasal accent sounds even better.

peadubya said:
March 07, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Because I was a Dutch migrant in the 70's I was given 'Let Stalk Strine'. I absolutely loved it, especially the two Emmas, Emma Charday and Emma Chisit. And who didn't want to live in a Gloria Soame onna Naw Shaw.

March 09, 2011 at 2:34 PM

My Dad used to use one he picked up in the army (ww2)If asked where someone was and he didn't know their whereabouts his reply was "He's shot through on the padres bike"

ausme said:
April 02, 2011 at 7:54 AM

Stone the crows? Not so long ago the crows were flying backwards to keep the dust out of their eyes. Now, with all the rain, we have crows feet