Prof. Roly Sussex sussex at LINGUA.ARTS.UQ.EDU.AU
Thu Apr 29 01:49:23 UTC 1999

"Bugger" is well known as a British-derived vulgarism in Australia.
Toyota has just launched a new series of ads for a utility (pickup,
in N. Americanese) with characters on the screen muttering "bugger"
in admiration of the car's grunt. The ad has caused a major upraor
in New Zealand; laconic Australians seem less bothered.

The etymology of "bugger" (from Bulgarus, Mediaeval Latin =
a member of the Orthodox Church) is one of the more extreme
cases of religious-lexical intolerance.

In South Africa "bugger" can be used to mean "guy": "he's a
friendly little bugger", which would be offensive in most other
Commonwealth Countries, is neutral there, but colloquial.

Roly Sussex
The University of Queensland

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