Breaking the Language Barrier with Mari Carr (You Really Say It That Way??)
Having said that, my first post is about Down Under. But after that, there’ll be no mention of Oz again. Promise.
I’ve come to discover there is a sizeable difference between Australian English and American English. I mean, I always knew we said some things differently, a biscuit in Oz is a cookie in the US. A biscuit in the US is what we call a scone. Jelly is Jell-O and jam is…actually, I don’t know what jam is called in the US. Sweet spready stuff?
One of the fun obstacles Mari and I face while writing the first two books in the Foreign Affairs series, was the fact I speak very broad ‘Strine (that’s Australian for those not in the know *grin*) and Mari doesn’t. Growing up in the bush like I did (ie, I grew up in regional Australia no where near the big cities, not in amongst a lot of trees) I developed a very Australian colloquial way of communicating. Remember the way Steve Irwin spoke? With all the crikeys and struths and fair dinkums? That’s me. I use that kind of language in everyday conversation. But it wasn’t just the slang that caused Mari to come a cropper (ie, stumble/have difficulty) with half of what I was saying. It was the simple fact we Aussies use different words for everyday things.
Today, Mari and I thought we’d tried to break some language barriers for you while sharing some snippets from Misplaced Princess and Misplaced Cowboy.
“How ya going?” isn’t a question about how you’re planning to get somewhere
From Misplaced Cowboy: Monet slid another look at Dylan, her eyes unreadable, her shoulders stiff, before she once again slipped from Phillip’s grip. “I’m not sure ‘inspiration’ is the right word, Phillip.”
“Oh shush.” Phillip stepped toward her, apparently deciding Dylan didn’t exist.
Dylan decided it was time to fix that problem. Not because he was jealous, but because Monet appeared…ill at ease.
“G’day, mate.” He shoved his extended hand at the man’s chest before Phillip could draw closer. “Dylan Sullivan. How ya going?”
Phillip’s eyebrows shot up his incredibly smooth forehead, his stare swinging to Dylan. A plethora of emotions flashed over his suavely handsome face, most making Dylan want to laugh—irritation, shock, curiosity, indignation. The last making him want to ball his fists—contempt.
“I’m sorry.” Phillip’s top lip curled. “But if you’re speaking to me, I’m not going anywhere.”
Dylan gave the bloke his widest, goofiest grin. For good measure, he even tipped his hat back on his head. “Ah, you’re a funny bugger, are you?” He kept his hand out, letting it speak volumes. He may not be from this neck of the woods, but he knew a handshake left hanging was a sign of utter disdain. As far as Dylan was concerned, he was happy to push Phillip to complete the social tradition whether the man wanted to or not.
Phillip’s top lip continued to curl, the kind of expression Dylan expected to see on a city slicker who’d stepped in a pile of sheep shit.
“Phillip.” Monet moved to Dylan’s side and it was all he could do to keep his doofus grin in place when she ran her hand up his arm. His heart, however, leapt straight into his bloody throat. “This is Dylan Sullivan. From Farpoint Creek in Australia.”
We don’t have cowboys Down Under
From Misplaced Cowboy: Phillip ran a slow inspection over Dylan, from the tip of his kangaroo-leather boots to the battered peak of his black wide-brimmed hat. “A cowboy from Australia?” He flashed Dylan a toothy smirk, took Dylan’s hand and gave it a crushing shake. Or tried to. Dylan spent his days dealing with unruly Angus cattle, unruly jackaroos and—when Hunter was in a competitive mood—an even more unruly twin brother hell-bent on beating him at arm wrestling. “Here to throw a shrimp on the bar-bee, ’eh?”
The man’s voice dripped with mocking derision and the urge to ball his fist rolled through Dylan again. He let his I’m-a-clueless-country-hick grin turn into the smile he gave drunken hired hands who thought they’d take him on. The kind of smile that said, “go on, give it your best shot, mate”.
“I’m a stockman, not a cowboy. Haven’t been a boy since my balls dropped and I started shaving. And I’m just here to seduce the beautiful women on your side of the pond. Show them what a real man is like.”
The shocked blanch that twisted Phillip’s face filled Dylan with perverse satisfaction, just as Monet’s choking laugh sent tight ripples of happiness through him.
“I think you had that one coming, Phillip,” she said, her hand still resting on Dylan’s biceps. He liked the feel of it there. A lot. Too much, given why he was here in New York to begin with. It wasn’t to fall head over heels for a woman he’d only just met, that was for bloody sure. “And as for the seducing,” she turned and gave him a wide smile, twinkling mirth in her eyes, “the accent alone is enough to make a New York girl go all wobbly inside.”
Zeeeee is not the last letter of the alphabet
From Misplaced Cowboy: Now, standing at her bedroom door, watching Dylan Sullivan talk quietly on the landline phone in the middle of her studio, she realized she was in trouble. Big trouble.
She was sexually attracted to Annie’s cowboy. A lot.
His deep voice stroked at her senses, the words too low for her to understand but not low enough she couldn’t discern his Australian accent. She loved the way he sounded. She loved the way her name sounded on his lips. She could happily sit and listen to him recite the alphabet and by the time he reached Z, which he would no doubt pronounce as zed, she would be so turned on all it would take was one single flick of her clit and she’d come.
You never ever eat cattle dip on a cracker
From Misplaced Cowboy: He gave Monet a slow smile, wanting to take away the sorrow he saw in her eyes. Wanting to make her laugh again. He loved her laugh. Just as much as he loved her.
“Mum’s great,” he said. “And Hunter’s not that bad either, if you ignore his smelly feet. I swear I’ve had to throw him into the cattle dip more than once just so I could take a breath of fresh air.”
Her eyebrows pulled into a frown. “What the hell is a cattle dip?”
He laughed, pulling at the waistband of his jeans as he straightened in his chair. After their meal of roast lamb, baked potatoes, pumpkin, steamed green beans and carrots—all smothered in rich brown gravy—he was lucky he could even move. If he were truthful with himself, he’d say he’d eaten so much so he didn’t have to think about his situation. About the damn word home. And yet here he was, talking about it.
“A cattle dip is a long trough-like concrete tank filled with a chemical solution that the cattle walk through to keep them protected from ticks.”
Monet’s frown deepened. “And you threw your brother in this?”
Dylan grinned. “Yep. Often. Especially after he’d gotten all dolled up for a night on the town. He’d come out of his room stinking of aftershave and, before he knew it, I’d crash tackle him, drag him outta the house kicking and screaming, and throw him in.” He scratched at his whiskers, enjoying the stunned disbelief on Monet’s face. “Of course, Hunter being roughly the same size as me meant I pretty much always ended up in the drink with him. He’s a strong bloody bastard after all, but it was worth it.”
She shook her head. “You do actually like your brother, don’t you?”
Dylan couldn’t stop his laughter. “Bloody oath.”
Billabongs are bodies of water perfect for alllll sorts of activities
From Misplaced Cowboy: It wasn’t until Mutt raced ahead a while later, barking in that special way that told Dylan he was ready for some fun, that Dylan realized where they’d walked to.
He stopped, looking at the small billabong almost hidden by an outcrop of eucalyptus trees some eight hundred meters from the homestead. Not the main billabong he and Hunter swam in all the time, but the one he sometimes came to when he wanted to get away from the madness of working a cattle station. It was a small body of clear water no bigger than a suburban backyard pool. Very few people came to visit its inviting depths, except for the kangaroos that used it as a drinking hole.
“Wow.” Monet stopped beside him, her gaze moving over the ancient gum trees shading the water, the lush green grass surrounding it, the craggy old rocks that jutted out of the ground on one side, making the most perfect ledge to take a plunge.
A plunge, Dylan noticed, Mutt had already taken, given that his dog was happily paddling around in the water.
“This is beautiful.”
He turned to face Monet. “It is. But not as beautiful as you.”
“Dylan,” she said, “I know you think you know what’s best for—”
He didn’t let her finish. He couldn’t. Try as hard as he might, he couldn’t fight the need to kiss her anymore.
Check out Mari’s blog to break down some more language barriers and for some sneak peeks at Misplaced Princess, which is available WEDNESDAY. (Sorry, had to shout it *grin*) Misplaced Cowboy will be available end of August. Yay!
And don’t forget to check out our Misplaced Scavenger Hunt (details here). One lucky winner will receive a Kindle! The scavenger hunt runs until June 30.