He’s been encouraged in this linguistic getting-into-the-mood by an information sheet sent by some wag at the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, which gives lots of helpful translations of descriptions that patients might give of their illnesses.
“The next group of adjectives imply that the patient is particularly tired or weak as the result of an illness, typically influenza, gastroenteritis, myocardial infarction:
not firing on all cylinders
If a New Zealander vomits, he may say that he is about to chunder, yak, spew, hurl or ralph.
When a New Zealand patient recovers from an illness they may say that they have perked up and are raring to go, hunky dory, beaut, a box of birds, good as gold or sweet as.
The ultimate New Zealand sign of gratitude is expressed when the patient says, “Good on ya mate!” When a strange man calls you “mate” it is either a sign that he is open to friendship or that he has forgotten your name. If someone yells, “Oh, maaaa…te!” in a crowd then it is likely that another man has broken wind. If someone says, “Maaaa…te” without the “Oh” in front, and they have a concerned look on their face, it is an expression of sympathy.”
“Here is a little test to check how much of this dictionary you have taken in. Please read the following scene and answer the questions at the end:
Patient: Gidday doc.
Doctor: Derek, how are you, mate?
Patient: I think I’ve got a problem with the old plumbing. I’m up and down all night and bugger all comes out each time.
Doctor: Maaaa…te! Giving ya gip after each slash?
Patient: No, good as gold, mate, good as gold.
Doctor: You firing on all cylinders in other ways?
Patient: Well, me and the Mrs both had the dreaded lurgy last week but she’s now a box of birds and I’ve perked up. Do you think the old fella’s on the blink, Doc?
What condition does the patient have?
b) a blocked drain on his toilet
d) a paraphymosis
e) benign prostatic hypertrophy.”
Well, now my lad is all set to talk the language of this distant land. Possibly.
He says that the answer is e), by the way.