07 November, 2010

The Rules: The Wizard Doesn’t Live Here

I can’t stand it when people refer to Australia as Oz. It has rankled for ages. I’m not one to stand on protocol, I’ve no time for patriotism just for its own sake and I’m about the least jingoistic person I can think of, but can’t we at least have the self respect to spell our name correctly?

Usually, I brush it off, but I was disturbed to see this weekend, the #HillaryOz tag on Twitter being promoted by both the ABC and the US Embassy, which goes by the handle, USAembassyinOZ. It’s one thing to use it as slang, but when official representatives start using it, that’s just undignified. I’ve felt this way ever since the Australian bit of Live Aid was called “Oz for Africa.”

I understand the need to abbreviate, but couldn’t we at least say Aus? That’s at least accurate, and it’s only one letter longer. Since it’s the internet, you could even abbreviate it to au and people should know what you’re talking about.

It really pains me to sound like such an old fart about this, but this is Australia, not Ozstralia. I’m an Aussie, not an Ozzie. I would expect the USAembassyinOZ would be there to make diplomatic representations to the Wizard, and HillaryOz would either involve some ruby slippers and finding her way back to Kansas, or a special visit by the US Secretary of State to a gritty prison.


  1. What bugs me is Americans referring to us as Aussies-with-an-S, rather than our preferred pronunciation of Aussies-with-a-Z (and that's a "zed", not "zee"). In that respect, maybe the Oz abbreviation was brought into being to correct people who don't talk proper.

  2. I half agree - maybe it was to correct people who DO talk proper. Since the S in Australia (the word) is not a Z sound, I guess technically the S in Aussie should be an S sound as well.
    Us Strayans tend to mumble.

  3. Maybe, but for once I'd like to think that the Americans should capitulate to our rules.

  4. I didn't know how Australians (in general) felt about 'Oz' but I have instinctively veered away from it as it does feel disrespectful. But tell me - how do you feel about 'Down Under'... which I'm also uneasy about, but enjoy the comedy double entendre potential of? Do you hateme for that?

  5. I honestly hadn't even thought about it before, which can only mean the answer is no.

    I don't claim to speak for anyone but myself. There are plenty of Australians who are okay with Oz, but it makes me cringe. I truly don't know of anyone who has a problem with down under. I don't even know anyone who dislikes the song which, like all the great Australian songs, was written by a Scotsman.

    I guess there are many nationalities that have similar issues. Should someone from England rightly be called English or British? I know there are many who resent the word 'America" being used to describe the US when it's really two entire continents.

  6. Leave it to an Ozzie to throw a wobbly.

    Somebody from England should be called a pommie.