went walkabout

Victor aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 24 19:56:14 UTC 2009

I did not intend to make sound that this was some kind of malformation.
I *am* familiar with the expression--perhaps not in the British Royalty
terms (which is decidedly inapplicable here), but certainly in its
Australian context (and *I* have never been to Australia either,
although I've worked closely with a number of Australians). I was
surprised to find it in a comment by a Pennsylvania-born South Carolina
dean. Bierbauer spent some time in Europe (ABC station chief in Moscow
and Bonn) and twenty years in Washington as CNN correspondent, but it
seemed odd to me that he would incorporate such slang into his speech.
Unless his wife is Australian (a former Pentagon correspondent for CNN,
I believe), it seems unlikely that he would have simply "picked up" the
expression. To put it in perspective--this is a former reporter (someone
who is presumably is familiar with his audience) commenting on the
behavior of a *local* political figure. It's not a question of how
familiar Bierbauer is with the expression, but rather how familiar he
would expect his audience to be with it--even if this Aussie slang is
second nature to him.

Nothing that I found online has served to remedy this. Unless someone
tells me that this is also a slang term in PA, DC or SC, its appearance
would remain "odd" to me.


Baker, John wrote:
>         It's a pretty well-known term - I'm familiar with it, and I've
> never been to Australia.  Bierbauer could have picked it up from a movie
> or novel.

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

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