Ockerisms and Cringes to One Side …

Over on the twittersphere, I listed, thanks to Mike Lynch’s prompting, the most immediate irritants in Tourism Australia’s new ad.

  1. “There’s nothing LIKE Australi-AH”: it’s par for the course now in songwriting to emphasise the last syllable in Australia, as no Aussie does, but why emphasise “like”? There’s nothing LIKE Australia, but there are several identical copies, should you require one?
  2. The camel/mammal rhyme. I thought I hated this purely because every other corresponding line ends with a single syllable rhyme, but it’s been bothering me for over a week now, so there must be something more.
  3. Kangaroos travel in mobs, not herds. Are we suggesting that young tourists from Asia (Vietnam?) with such an excellent grasp of English would not know this?

I should let it go, I know, but I’m even more annoyed now:

“Darwin to Bass Strait”.  Bass Strait is a spondee, two syllables emphasised equally.  No-one emphasises the word “Strait” more than “Bass”.  And by stopping at the body of water, you’ve left out Tasmania.  Again.

That “duck-billed mammal”. If you’re looking to emphasise the unique qualities of a platypus, well, it’s a semi-aquatic monotreme, and it’s the only one.  It’s a swimming, egg-laying mammal.  The duck bill is not really what makes it special, because there are any number of other duck-billed animals.  A duck, for example.


2 thoughts on “Ockerisms and Cringes to One Side …

  1. Oddly, I’ve had occasion to ponder appropriate rhymes for “Australia”. The Whedon brothers got it pretty right in “Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog”, by rhyming it with “failure”, but that’s not the kind of thing you generally want in a song about Australia, despite effectively capturing the standard Australian pronuciation.

    I used “Nathalia” (near Shepparton, Victoria) to rhyme with “Australia” in a silly little song I did for a college show back in about 1991. It was gratuitous, in that it had nothing to do with the subject matter, but it’s good to know it works.

    • And the pondering doesn’t end there, Glenn! One of the difficulties, I think, in rhyming with ‘Australia’ is that most solutions are tricksy and, if they come at the end of a couplet or quatrain, one word (or combination of words) has to carry a lot of weight – so the rhyme had better be a darn good one. In ‘Wobbly Camel’, by the Wiggles, for example –

      From Abu Dhabi to Australia,
      In the desert, the camel it won’t fail ya.

      – the rhyme isn’t a darn good one, and the inverted syntax just makes it worse. Far better, I think, to show off inside the lines leading to a very convincing, different end rhyme. Something like –

      Now, let me regale ya,
      Folks, with a tale ya
      Will not believe,

      Of outback Australia
      And genitalia
      On Christmas Eve.

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