Why ‘youse’ deserves a place in Australia’s national dictionary

Why ‘youse’ deserves its place in Australia’s national dictionary
For 30 years Susan Butler has been at the helm of the Macquarie Dictionary. Here she defends the inclusion of a much-derided word
Sheep near Canberra
Hey, youse ewes! Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
I like to joke that, as the editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, I am like the woman with the mop and bucket who comes along to clean up after the party is over.

By this I mean that I do not create the mess. I am not devising the new words and bending the language to new uses. That is the consequence of the creative, not to say intoxicated, efforts of the language community. Continue reading

Let’s call a cull, a cull

Let’s call a cull, a cull


As the unpopular shark bait and shoot program continues in Western Australia, fisheries minister Troy Buswell has defended the policy, saying that it isn’t a cull, but a ‘localised shark mitigation strategy’. Lochlan Morrissey suspects Buswell learned the art of political euphemism from the best. Continue reading

The dictionary allows an infuriating misuse of language

The dictionary allows an infuriating misuse of language, writes Christopher Howse. The Daily Telegraph

They are running short of onions in Bihar, the Indian state justly famed for the quality of its alliaceous ‘‘ I used to buy three kilograms of onion for a week,’’ a housewife told The Times of India, ‘‘ but now I have cut down to one kilogram because the price has almost tripled’’ . And how did the paper headline this news? ‘‘ Skyrocketing onion prices bring tears, literally!’’

An exclamation mark or screamer is generally a sign that the little joke being made is not one that the author is terribly confident will be spotted by the reader. But what of the literally? Continue reading