(non) Aussie lingo: coral

By Frank Povah 1 February 2011
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Some public personas might use the word ‘coralled’, but it’s not remotely Australian.

Happening to this country. Even our sports commentators, once the wizards of the ridgy-didge turn of phrase, have succumbed to Hollywood.

When the AFL season kicked off in 2006, one of its best-known commentators has insisted on using “corralled” every time a player is baulked by an opponent. Corralled! Fair crack of the bloody whip, sport.

Corralled isn’t remotely Australian. Even in the US, where “corral” arrived via Mexico, Spain and Old Portugal, it had a precise meaning. It was, like its African-Dutch cousin, “kraal”, a yard for holding animals off the range, though in the US it later also described a defensive circle of wagons.

These nongs wouldn’t know a stockman from a cowboy. Probably the closest they’ve been to a steer is on a plate, and all their folklore comes from TV and the flicks. I’ve got nothing against cross-cultural exchange of language, but among people, not a flickering screen. Try bailed-up or snookered. Corralled! Spare me bloody days.

Source: Australian Geographic Issue 87 (Jul – Sep,

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