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Another post in the Differences between Americans & Australians series. Just for a laugh or to help with your LA transition | It Started in LA |
Differences between America & Australia, Posts

Do you have a nickname?

Do you have a nickname? After three years of living in LA it suddenly hit me: do any of my American friends have nicknames? So I took to Facebook, and a bit of investigative journalism to get to the bottom of it and see if this is another one of those differences between Americans and Australians.

The differences between Americans and Australians: Nicknames

I caught up with an old friend from my old school days the other day; it was so great to catch up.  I think it’s been (ahem) 20 years since we’ve seen each other. How time flies by.

She still sees a lot of the people I went to school with, and the boys we’d hang out with.  So naturally we took a trip down memory lane.

She was updating me all the boys she stills sees from my prime days: did you know him?; what about such-and-such; do you still see those guys?

I realised that from the names we were talking about (ears burning boys?!) not one of them was referred to by their first name:

Pig, Belly, Sul, Dom, Kerr-ee (not Kerry but the last name Kerr with an ‘e’ on the end), Hendo, Big Thommo, Little Thommo, Koj, Horace, Gubby, Rennie, Sleaze, Brush, Gorze …

The list goes on and on.  In some cases I had no idea of boys actual real names as they went by their nicknames.

Do Americans have nicknames?

That’s when I realised that none of my LA friends have a nickname.

My daughter has a friend, Aaron, and I asked her if he gets “Az” or “Azza”.  She looked at me like I was speaking Farsi.  “No mum why would they?”

“Because that’s what we’d call him in Australia.”

I guess not.

His mum’s name is Sharona so we would call her Shaz.  Such a waste of a great name!

Having said that, a friend of mine visiting from Australia was named Roxy by my American friends as she looked more like a Roxy than her real name.  But alas that’s the only one I’ve heard of here in LA.

Nicknames 101

Sometimes nicknames are unimaginative. So Kerr-ee just gets an e on the end of his name, as does Rennie; Sul is short of O’Sullivan and Hendo short for Henderson.

Other nicknames are more imaginative like Pig (whose name is Hamish–Ham? Pig?), Koj and Gubby as they have nothing to do with their actual name.  My friend had a fellow school Dad she used to coffee with and his name was Gregg; we called him GG.

No one is spared: my daughter calls me Maoie but I’ve had different names over the years–Lily and Mamoa among them.  Our dog’s name is Cassie but she answers to Caddie, Caddidy, Cat, Kitty, Dog and Cassie (yes, she really is that clever).  My husband is Doodos and her brother Chockie or Chocolade.

And if we’re talking Nicknames 101 be aware that there’s little room for reprieve: if you have a long name–Henderson–it’s shortened; and if you have a short name–Kerr–it’s lengthened.  As Australians we love to use the sounds “ee”, “o” or “z” to create these names.  For example, Kerr-ee; Thommo; or Baz.

(For nicknames 102: Baz is short for Barry but then we can also turn Baz into Bazza).

My daughter has a friend, Aaron, and I asked her if he gets “Az” or “Azza”.  She looked at me like I was speaking Farsi.  “No mum why would they?”

“Because that’s what we’d call him in Australia.”

I guess not.

What would your Australian name be?

My nickname was Wanda. It’s a long complicated story (as nicknames can be) but it derived from a character from a popular Aussie sitcom.  I still answer to Wanda.  I also get Gwennie (applying the rule to add an “e” at the end).  I never get Gweno, that’s just wrong.

Now it’s your turn … what was your nickname and how did it come about?  Or if you don’t have a nickname, what might your Australian nickname be?  Share it on my Facebook feed or here in the comments.  Would love to have you share!

xx It Started in LA xx

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