Welcome to my version of the A - Z Blogging Challenge. I'm going to write 26 posts in 30 days. They're all going to be about clothes. I hope you'll stop by and say hello!

 “Get your anoraks!” my husband Andy yells. “You’ll need them. It’s cold outside.”

The girls look confused. What’s Dad talking about? What’s an anorak?

“Get your parkas,” I translate. “Dad’s just using a British word.”

Yes, a British anorak is an Aussie parka. I wonder why Andy slipped back into the language of his childhood. He’s been living here for 31 years. He married me and came to Australia and he’s never been back to England in all that time. He's learnt all the Aussie words for things. Sometimes British and Aussie words are the same but the pronunciations are different. But Andy has adapted. He's learnt the local language.

But sometimes Andy likes to have a bit of fun:

“I’d love some yog –hurt,” he says smiling.

“Dad! The word is yO – ghurt.”

“Or some vit – amins.”

VI– tamins, Dad!”

At least Andy doesn’t insist on speaking ‘brummy’. Andy was born and brought up in Birmingham, England. Birmingham has a very distinctive accent, known as brummy. (Actually a person from Birmingham is also known as a brummy.) Brummy is an accent that can be a little difficult to understand if your ear isn’t tuned in. And you need to know the local slang too.

Andy doesn’t speak brummy. (I suppose he might have at one time.) But he can put it on. It fascinates our kids.

If you want to know what brummy sounds like, watch this video. You only need to listen to the first ten seconds or so. You'll soon get the idea.

There are lots of famous brummies. I don’t know if they all have/had a brummy accent though. I can’t imagine J.R.R. Tolkien saying such things as:

“I need some ackers (money) so I’d better write Part 3 of The Lord of the Rings.” 

Or... “Wotcha?" (What have you got?)  

Or how about this: “Oh ahrr! This is bostie fittle." (Yes! This is good food.) 

Then again Tolkien wasn't born in Birmingham. He only lived there for a while as a child. 

Anyway, brummies (and other people, I'm sure) wear anoraks and not parkas. Some might actually be anoraks. I did a bit of research and discovered that the word 'anorak' is also British slang for someone who is obsessed with a subject not many people find interesting... like train spotting. Probably all those train spotters were seen, standing on the side of the railway track in the cold, wearing their anoraks. Soon they became known as ‘anoraks.’ I get the feeling it’s not a complimentary term. It’s the sort of word I can imagine Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear using. I wonder if he wears an anorak.

Here's a photo of some anoraks, the people kind. It seems bus spotting is as exciting as train spotting.

Anoraks! by Graham Richardson, (CC BY 2.0)

I think most people would agree that Jeremy Clarkson is not even a little bit stylish. But can an anorak be a trendy fashion item? I know I said I wasn't going to be writing about fashion (in a previous post). I didn't promise any fashion tips. But I've been thinking... you might have an anorak. Why shouldn't you? It's a warm and functional piece of clothing. You want to wear it but how do you avoid looking like an anorak? Perhaps you're looking for some help and I might just be able to come to your assistance. You see, I discovered a video on Youtube called Ways to Style: an Anorak Jacket. Here it is:

So... do you have an anorak? Or perhaps you have a parka? Or is a warm waterproof jacket with a hood called something entirely different where you live? Or are you in fact an anorak yourself? (I'm sure anoraks are very nice people!)

Why don't you stop by and tell me?

Post a Comment

  1. You know what, what my children call a "Jacke" in German is an "Anorak" to me. I think this word must have made its way into Germany from Britain. I must try it on my children today and see if they know what I am talking about. So Andrew is not alone with "Anorak." It is not just British.

    1. Eva,

      I suspected other countries use the word anorak. A friend from Denmark was telling me they have anoraks, and so do the Inuit people, and now I know Germans do too! It would interesting to know the origin of the word. I should have done more research. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  2. In scotland at least, a parka is a specific type of anorak, a big puffy jacket that makes you look like the michelan man (do you know this one?) an anorak is one of those fold away jackets that mums carry in case of an emergency rainfall

    1. Grace,

      Oh yes, I know the Michelin man! Doesn't he advertise car tyres? It seems anoraks are different in England and Scotland. Those fold away raincoats are really useful, but definitely different from the our parkas or the anoraks I'm describing. Interesting how we have different words depending on where we live in the world. Thank you for visiting my blog!

  3. Wow - your a to z posts promise to be educational right from the outset! I don't know what people call anoraks here in the US - maybe the more learned among us call them anoraks :). But what I see in your pictures, I simply call jackets. And I am fascinated by the Brummy accent... I'd never heard of Brummies until this very post!

    1. Nancy,

      I'm trying something a little different as I don't normally do any research before writing a post. I'm finding out all kinds of interesting stuff as I Google various items of clothing. Educational? Now you can drop the word 'brummy' into a conversation and dazzle everyone!

  4. Hi Visiting from the A-Z Challenge. What a great start to the challenge, very entertaining :)

    1. Tanya,

      I am glad to hear you enjoyed my post. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  5. Yup, you brought me back to my childhood ;/) Anorak it was back in Germany. Here, I'd say grab your coat. Actually, generally a sweater or hoodie since it isn't very cold too often. Did you knit Gemma's sweater?

    1. Beate,

      Our coats are usually longer than a jacket or parka and usually have buttons instead of zippers. All these differences in word usage! I certainly know what a hoodie is. We use that word too. Your sweaters are our jumpers though. I suspect your jumper is a piece of female clothing, a dress maybe?

      I did knit Gemma-Rose's sweater (or zipped up cardigan!) It is one of my successes. Unfortunately she grew out of it far too quickly. It's made of wool and was very warm.

      Lovely to see you on my blog!

  6. Despite being an Aussie I don't think I have ever used the term Parka Sue. We called them raincoats, or rain jackets. I had to wear a bright yellow one to school and I looked like a duck! I have owned owned a Driza-bone and a duffle coat at various stages though.

    1. Lisa,

      There must be a lot of differences in language between the Aussie states. I have a few friends from Victoria and they sometimes use different words for things than we do here in NSW. (Can't think of any examples right when I need one!) And having lived in Queensland I know this is also true there. I suppose Australia is a large country and we should expect differences. A fellow NSW -er confirmed that parka is the right term here. I was beginning to doubt my facts!

      Our raincoats tend not to be padded for warmth. I also had a yellow raincoat for school! It was made of some kind of plasticky material and used to stick to my bare arms and legs when the weather was warm. I hated it!

      Andy has a Driza-bone and he used to have a duffel coat so I know what they are. Duffel coat is my D topic!

    2. Potato cakes, potato scallops, potato fritters are all the same thing but the names are different in different States. In NZ I found out much to my dismay that a hot dog, is a battered sausage on a stick ... which I don't like at all. When you want a hot dog you have to ask for an American Hot Dog.

    3. LIsa,

      You found some examples for me! Thank you. Now I'm wondering... do we have potato cakes, potato scallops, or potato fritters in NSW... I'm not sure! I don't generally eat them.

      A battered sausage on a stick... perhaps that's a Pluto Pup but not sure where this word is used.

  7. Anorak, I learned, is an Inuit word. And Yes we do wear them a lot in Denmark. Here it is a wind breaker with a hood and a zipper going only halfway (or less) down. You have to pull it over your head . I have several anoraks, one of them is a bee-keeper's anorak (with a zipper all the way down - spoilsport!) for tending my bees. I look like an astronaut wearing it.

    1. PS. Anorak as a derogatory term for a train spotter and such was new to me as well. You have to learn something new every day in order not to grow old, to thanks for this daily elixir of youth.

    2. Uglemor,

      Your bee keeper's anorak sounds wonderful. I wonder if you ever posted a photo of yourself wearing it, on your blog. I'd love to see what it looks like. Like an astronaut? I hope it's comfortable!

      I agree with you about needing to learn something new each day. Yes, it keeps us young. Also, new facts and information are very interesting! You taught me my new thing of today: Dupond et Dupont!!

  8. Hi Sue, Its really good to be here, Thanks a lot for stopping at my place :):):) Your theme this year is very good, everyone is interested in dress. I learned a new word today.:) Thanks
    ~ Philip

    1. Philip,

      Yes, we all need clothes! Before the challenge began, I was thinking about how many stories are attached to our clothes. They are associated with so many important events in our lives. They are associated with our emotions too! It was a pleasure stopping at your blog. Thank you for returning the visit!

  9. That's interesting!
    We have both words in German and they actually describe different types of jackets, although anorak can also be used as a more general term.

    1. Miu,

      I think if I travelled to another country I would be calling everything by the wrong name! I am very interested to hear what you call this type of jacket. Thank you so much for stopping by!


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