A brief description of why language represents such a barrier when I speak English (Malaysian-Chinese) and not English (Australian). If you can add any meaning to help me understand this, then feel free to add your comments.
Beautiful/Ugly: It took me a long one to work this out. When I first got to Sydney, people in Paddington would comment about their wives being the ugly ones. I did not understand. But recently I had another comment. It seems that they believe that a beautiful woman is a virgin and an ugly one is a woman who is not. I think that these people are very weird and I feel sorry for their partners and wives.
不要 – lots of discussion about teachers who should know and how while you do say Yao bu Yao you do not say bu Yao. A man on a motorcycle said nasi bu yao to a man who also said bu Yao in a shop that looked like it sold stationary. A man says that in shanghai they say bu jia (不加 or 不佳) and that it means the same thing. Lots of people think I have a shanghai accent. they say you should have said bu hao ma?
Drink – I would think that if I said, lets go for a drink, it would mean anything from Water to Alcohol. It is about quenching a thirst. But for others it only means going to drink an alcoholic drink. I could drink at the work kitchen. They would need to go to a licensed premises.
Foreign – I think foreign means overseas or another country. But they mean other things. I have not worked them all out. But one meaning is when you do work for another company, not the one who is your primary employer.
Relationship – When I speak of relationships, I mean it in a very generic sense. I’d think that any person I have an interaction with automatically counts as starting a relationship. Within the universe of relationships there are many types of relationship. Though I do understand that many people speak of relationships as only meaning a sexual or romantic one.
Snoring – People here in Sydney freak out if I say I snore. But I do. I do not know why there is all this fuss.
Tinnies – Well, pretty much all my life a tinnie was to me a can of beer. But then, when I came to Sydney, I learned that they were also aluminium dinghies. Cool! It is only in recent times that I learned that people also think of it as a bit of aluminium with a particular weight of marijuana in it. Though I have seen these also on occasion in the past. The binding thing seems to be the Aluminium. The definition says “drugs” so maybe it is any type of drug. Something new again.
Traffic – If you talk to me about traffic, I will think of terrible road traffic. Particularly in Parramatta on a Saturday morning.