Tag Archives: steve irwin

Speech patterns and adoptive phrases

Steve Irwin

My parents have been visiting and were amused to hear me use the word ‘crikey’ the other day. My mum’s a professor of socio-linguistics so finds all this stuff fascinating.

Now I happen to remember exactly why this particular word is in my vocabulary – I used to try to do an impression of the inestimable Steve Irwin (it was terrible) for no reason other than I thought he was occasionally hilarious – and say "crikey, don’t troy this at home, kids. if he boites me Oi’m dead."

Given that the majority of that phrase doesn’t have much cause to enter every day conversation, ‘crikey’ is all that remains. By the same token my brother, over the years, has taken to saying tomay-toes instead of tomatoes – he picked a way of saying something, liked it, and it stuck.

Is this how linguistic drift happens? Or this, and the OED adding acronyms to itself?