Maybe the Dingo Ate Your Terminology: Australians Angered by the Term 'Truck'

maybe the dingo ate your terminology australians angered by the term 8216 truck

Every country has its linguistic eccentricities. The Brits continue to call transport trucks “lorries” (and then there’s all that “boot” and “bonnet” stuff), while other locales adopt their own unique terminology for the same object or thing.

The first-generation Buick LaCrosse was sold as the Allure in Canada because “lacrosse” is Quebecois slang for something to which an entire Seinfeld episode is dedicated.

Australia is no different, but many people Down Under aren’t happy with a new term that is creeping into the country’s vernacular: “truck.”

According to the Aussie publication CarAdvice, the imminent demise of the country’s beloved “utes” — car-based pickups similar to the long-departed Chevrolet El Camino — is breeding a backlash to the proper terminology for their conventional replacements.

The land of dingoes and shrimp on the barbie spawned the car-based utility back in the 1930s, and they enjoyed a long run, even after the segment died out in North America. Last month, the Ford Falcon Ute ended a 55-year production run, and the Holden Ute’s looming death will seal the coffin.

Replacing them will be newfangled “pickup trucks,” such as the Ford Ranger and Holden Colorado (Chevrolet Colorado in the U.S.).

Rob Margeit, editorial production manager of CarAdvice, explains the reaction: “And this has, if you believe the multitude of social media channels that drive so much of today’s discourse, gotten up the collective noses like flies in a desert of a horde of patriotic and jingoistic Aussie car buyers.”

Of course, patriotism has clouded the conversation. Australia — where water swirls the opposite direction as it leaves the toilet bowl — already has a bevy of smaller pickups from the likes of Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Izuzu.

Unlike the utes, these conventional vehicles have a cab and a utility bed, and are very clearly “pickups.” Utes were always a passenger car with the rear seating removed (and replaced with a bed). The two aren’t interchangeable, and “pickup” is the proper term, the publication writes.

“So it seems this latest disquiet is not so much about the loss of an Aussie icon itself, but rather the slipping from the lexicon of that most Australian of words, ute, in favour of yet another Americanism,” Margeit writes. His advice? Stop worrying, bogans.

Our advice is the same, only it also involves a case of Fosters and a ride on a kangaroo.

[Image: Ford Australia]

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  • Bunkie Bunkie on Aug 23, 2016

    In Britain (and, possibly, other commonwealth nations) a lorry is a subset of truck styles, what we here in the US would call a flat-bed truck. A permanently-enclosed truck body (Box Truck in US parlance) is known as a van.

  • Spike_in_Brisbane Spike_in_Brisbane on Aug 23, 2016

    I can"t resist a coupla comments. I say Koopay but you can't sing "Little deuce coupe" without the American pronunciation. On the tractor-trailer controversy, around here we always referred to the 'tractor' part as the prime mover. I own a Falcon one tonner with the tray back and have trouble deciding what to call it. (The owners manual says Falcon Ute)

    • See 3 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Aug 24, 2016

      @Big Al from Oz paranoia will destroy ya Someone mail BAFO an aluminium hat or perhaps he needs to try an aluminum one.

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?