went walkabout

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jun 24 19:15:22 UTC 2009

So did any of the news releases put it that Governor Sanford went missing?


At 2:56 PM -0400 6/24/09, Victor wrote:
>An expression that looks rather odd to me:
>>>"The worry is that this is going to come back as the governor who
>_went walkabout_," says Bierbauer at University of South Carolina.
>The problem is not the expression itself, but finding it in South Carolina.
>TheFreeDictionary lists it as Australian (as do other sources), with two
>of the possible meaning for "to go walkabout" being "to be lost or
>misplaced" and "to lose one's concentration", both likely applicable here.
>Of the first 30600 raw ghits, most of the front 30 refer to the same
>Google blog post ("Went Walkabout. Brought back Google Wave."). The only
>exception (aside from nonsense references) is this one.
>>>Seal that went walkabout [story title]
>The next non-Google-blog reference is also from the New Scientist: "How
>Earth's poles went walkabout".
>Of the next 60, most still refer to the same Google blog post, but there
>is a sprinkling of others--most appear to be UK.
>One slang dictionary lists "walkabout" as "an tour on foot by an
>important person (such as a visiting member of the royal family,
>politician or celebrity)". That's UK usage and does not apply here either.
>Most of the ghits for "go walkabout" (43600 raw) appear to be Australian
>(although some Google suggestions might be referring to Africa). Of the
>47700 raw ghits for "gone walkabout" most also appear to be Australian
>references. The only exception that I thought I found:
>>>Gone Walkabout: A Jesuit makes his way down
>So this one is, again, Australian.
>The only thing left to do is to look up Charles Bierbauer ("dean of the
>University of South Carolina's communication department and a former
>political reporter"). Bierbauer was a 20-year correspondent for CNN,
>covering the span from Reagan to Clinton, but he was born in Allentown,
>PA. There seems to be no reason why he would have picked up Australian
>So far, this remains a mystery to me. Any comments?
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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