Monday, February 22, 2010

Yes, I'm a fair dinkum Aussie girl with a French name!!

A Kangafrog, or Frogaroo
My first attempt at superimposing

A few days ago an English blogger made the comment that it seems as if I'm "a fair dinkum Aussie girl with a froggy name".

Well, let me tell you that she was 'spot on'!  I'm very proud to be Aussie and I'm also proud of my French heritage, including my 'Pommy' (English), Welsh, Scottish and Danish heritage!  My Great-Grandfather arrived in Australia from France in the late 19th century and was naturalised in 1914.  I like my name; it was to be Alana, after Mum's favourite actor Alan Ladd's daughter but Grandma had a say and I was named Alaine.

'Fair dinkum' is a colloquial saying used frequently in Australia meaning 'it's true!' or 'are you serious, mate?'  The origin is said to have come from the Australian gold rush period of the 1800s; Chinese gold miners described gold as 'din gum', meaning 'real gold'.  Thus, it means that it is the absolute truth, completely genuine or authentic!

On another slant, according to Melvyn Bragg's The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language, 'dinkum' comes from the English Midlands and meant work.  'Fair dinkum' referred to a fair day's work and subsequently fair play.

'Pommy', as Wikipedia says, is an alternative name for the British, the origin probably meaning 'prisoner of (his/her) Majesty' or relating to their complexions as 'like a pomegranate'.  The dicionary says that it is usually used disparagingly by Australian and New Zealanders but I disagree with that; most Aussies use it affectionately.  And I'm married to a 'Pom'!  Boom, boom!

'Froggy' is a disparaging term for a Frenchman, from 1872 onwards, later WW1, referring to the French being partial to Grenouille (frog).

Another explanation I found is "that the coat of French officers was closed using not ordinary buttons but little pieces of wood attached to a ribbon and called 'frogs'.  That made men recognizable among others and could have awarded them the name."

By the way, the French, in turn, call the English 'Rosbif'.

I was going to include a recipe here for Cuisses de Grenouille aux Herbes (herbed frogs legs) but balked at the picture of them on the plate!  They're my little friends; I picked one up from the carpet the other night and put it in the garden.  I think it must have got in via the dog door, or is that 'frog door'?!


steven said...

hey alaine - i'm glad that blogger got you to share all of this!!! it's a beautiful name. steven

Wanda said...

I love your name, Alaine. In fact I'm going to suggest my granddaughter Amanda keep 'Alaine' in mind for future use. She named her younger sister Alivia.

Alaine said...


Alaine said...

Wanda...thank you! Alivia is so different; I bet a lot of people put an 'O' on it over the years. I've been called Elaine constantly and Aileen.

Nancy said...

Thank you for educating us on words many of us had absolutely no idea what they meant! LOL!

I love the Aussie people.

Alaine said...

Hi Nancy... We have many more where they came from! Cheers

Susan said...

Thank you for the explanations! I've always wondered what fair dinkum meant. That is really a cute frog...I love those little green ones.

Great post, Alaine! I love your name, too.

Vagabonde said...

At work, year ago, when I went into some manager’s office I could hear him say “Here comes the frog.” At that time I had not heard that it was a disparaging name for French people. I thought he liked me somehow even though he was not very nice. When I went to Florida I brought him back a small frog figurine and gave it to him, he was so surprised and from then on we stayed friends until he retired. I told my daughters that he called me The Frog and they thought it was cute so they started to give me frog pins for birthdays, Christmas, or frogs made of pottery, wood, etc., paintings for Mother’s day until I have so many frogs on my shelf, on the wall, on my lapel. I still think they are cute.

Alaine said...

Susan...thank you! I love the little creatures; they visit on a hot night, plant themselves half way up the window and there they stay. They probably jump down into the garden when we retire.

Alaine said...

Vagabonde...well, you did the right thing and won him over; he probably thought twice about using that phrase again. I think it's priceless that your daughters thought it cute; not yet knowing about the nastiness of some people.

My hubby once returned from a trip with a gift, a little statue of two frogs, a male and female sitting together. He said it reminded him of us two. I'll take a photo of it and put it on my sidebar.

Oliveaux said...

Love you image & your name! Ax

Alaine said...

Amanda...thank you so much; a bit of fun with the pic (sorry, Skippy!). Hey, love your new colour scheme at Oliveaux! Fresh, light and lovely! xa

P.S. (More of a Psssh!) My second name is in your title; after my Mother's sister.

Lyn said...

Indeed, I had to ask the question..didn't know fair dinkum, and received the answer! And now this great post to spell it all out..Thanks!

Alaine said...

Hi Lyn, I had to expand on it!

rallentanda said...

The photo of the frogaroo is a little ripper!

rallentanda said...

The photo of the frogaroo is a little ripper!