NEWS FLASH - ALERT THE CLA
No worries, say Yanks
By MICHAEL McKENNA
IT is as Australian as Foster’s and, like the amber export, the popular colloquialism “no worries” is now flowing freely in conversations across the US.
Australian terms “walkabout” and even “crikey” are falling off the tongues of Americans as quick as you can put a shrimp on the barbie.
Tom Dalzell, who has written two books on US slang, says Australians are providing more new material for the American lexicon than any other country in the world.
The trend, it seems, is payback for the cultural imperialism of American entertainment in recent decades.
Mr Dalzell said Americans are using the slang for effect after hearing it in Australian movies, songs and advertisements.
But in some cases, like with “no worries”, the terms are pervading the American lexicon without any knowledge of its Australian origins.
Mr Dalzell said linguistic experts across the US were mystified by the sudden popularity of “no worries”.
Theories abound as to the term’s introduction.
Some say it sprang from US commentators mimicking Australian coverage of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, while others put it down to Steve Irwin in his popular Crocodile Hunter TV series.
“The term ‘no worries’ took off in the US around mid-2001 and it is now one of the most widely used new phrases, certainly on the West Coast of the US,” Mr Dalzell said.
“Americans seem to be always looking for something new but it has to be good for it to stick.”