• Howdy, partner?

    Americans speak English.

    Australians speak English.

    But apparently, English is very broad and English is used differently within the 2 countries.

    We all know the different spelling…extra ‘u’ in words like color and favorite or an “s’ in place of “z” in words like baptize becoming baptise or an extra ‘i’ in aluminum therefore creating a whole different word of aluminium.

    And we all know that certain vowels are emphasized in Australia like in tomato, oregano, and so forth.

    And now we know that Australians tend to be lazy with some of their words and just shorten them or make up a new word in its place like arvo for afternoon, brekkie for breakfast, ta for thank you, Salvo for Salvation Army, and I can go on and on.

    Recently, I’ve been becoming aware of that some words just mean different things such as tea is used instead of dinner.  But one language revelation is the use of partner.  To me having lived in NJ all my life until recently, when someone talked about their partner, 1 of 3 possible images came to mind:

    1.  A business partner in a business relationship.

    2.  A cowboy.

    3.  A same-sexed relationship partner.

    Apparently in Australia, people use the word partner in place of wife or husband.  So while I may say “my husband and I had takeout for dinner” and Australian would say “my partner and I had takeaway for tea“.  While I guess, it’s not bad, it’s just strange to me and it’s taking me long to wrap my head around that one.  I can’t help but envision one of the 3 scenarios.

    So I ask why the whole partner thing rather than husband or wife?  Did laid-back Australians go all politically correct and the US is still trailing behind?  Are Australians too sophisicated to be bogged down with common terms such as husband and wife?  If anyone knows, I would like to know too.

    Categories: Hmmm...

    7 thoughts on “Howdy, partner?

    • barbara says:

      It started when people began living together in defacto relationships and they were aged 30 and over, it sounded ridiculous to introduce them as girfriend and boyfriend at that age, and to say this is my defacto when introducing each other to other people didn’t seem right also. So that is when partner came into being. When married some introduce their other half as husband or wife or if their into political correctness, partner.

    • Tors says:

      Actually, it goes back even further than that. When Australia was a penal colony, convicts would frequently “shack up” together, even if they already had a spouse back in England. Since they couldn’t get legally married, they were “partners” instead. There’s a wonderful book about early Australian history called “The Fatal Shore”, I highly recommend reading it.

      It seems to me that most de jure heterosexual married couples do not refer to themselves as “partners”. Referring to one’s “partner”, to me, would signal that either they are gay or defactos. But often people will use “partner” as an umbrella term to describe anyone in a married-type relationship. (if any of that makes sense)

    • Y says:

      Thanks for the heads up! But in actuality, the reason I wondered about the partner situation because a lot of 20-50 somethings that I have met while being here have referred to their legally married spouses as partners so I found that the most curious thing.

    • Tors says:

      Hmmm that’s weird. Must be a Tassie thing! 😀

      (see, you can chalk just about anything up to being a Tassie thing. BTW, have you seen Young Einstein?)

    • Y says:

      No I haven’t seen Young Einstein. I mentioned it to my hubby and he rolled his eyes and said “go ahead and rent it”. Not sure what that’s about. I must assume it’s about Tasmania and a not so smart person??

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Y,
      Jen from YDU 🙂
      I’m in Tassie too … and I’ve picked up the “partner” habit for my spouse. I especially use it if I’m talking to someone in a business setting (like in interviews if someone asks why I moved to Australia I say because my partner is Australian). I guess sometimes I feel like I’m too young to be married (or at least I like to think so, ha ha, but I’m not so sure it’s true anymore! I’m 27 now, married at 24 tho) Husband sounds too grown up for me sometimes 😉

    • Y says:

      Hi Jen! I understand how saying husband is kind of grown up! I still giggle at times when I say husband even though it’s been 5 years! But I don’t think I could wrap my lips around saying partner. That sounds weird to me. I’m still trying to get used to saying mobile instead of cell phone!

      Whereabouts Tassie are you?

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