a penguin of very little brain


I’ve been asked to compile a list of appropriate terms/words when referring to Indigenous Australians.. So here goes!

As a little bit of back-ground info on us.. Indigenous people in Australia have the longest continuing culture/s in the world. With many different language groups, culture groups, similarities with cultures in certain parts of Africa, Indonesia and nearby countries/nations, Aboriginal Australia is indeed diverse, to say the least.


Terms/words that are appropriate:

  • Indigenous Australian/s
  • Indigenous 
  • Aboriginal 
  • Aboriginal people/s
  • Torres Straight Islander person/s
  • Torres Straight Islander people/s
  • Native (though it’s not used as much here and more often heard to describe the Indigenous people of America, some will use the word)
  • Black (yes, we ARE Black.. the white settlers used the term “Blacks” which reduced us down to our skin color.. we’ve reclaimed that word and is often used like “Black-fella”)
  • ATSI - Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander/s (umbrella term for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island people’s or for shorthand)

Terms/words that are NOT appropriate:

  • Aborigine/Aborigines (a big no-no and sadly many still use these terms today)
  • The Aborigines
  • The Aboriginal people
  • The Torres Straight Islanders
  • Blacks
  • Colored
  • The n word (pretty obvious, really)
  • Half-caste 
  • Full-blood 

Appropriate area-specific terms:

  • Murri - Qld, north west NSW
  • Nyoongah - WA
  • Koori – NSW
  • Goori - north coast NSW
  • Koorie - Vic
  • Yolngu - Arnhem Land
  • Anangu - Central Australia
  • Palawa - Tasmania
  • Ngarrindjeri – SA - River Murray, Lakes, Coorong people
  • Torres Strait Island Peoples
  • Murray Island Peoples
  • Mer Island Peoples

Also, words that are used to describe us as “less-advanced” when compared to European societies, are not acceptable. We are not less-advanced, or less-modern or a “primitive” people - we are just different. As is everyone. 

Please direct any further questions to black-australia.


Hi, in a couple of recents posts/reblogs I noticed the word "deadly" with an apparent positive connotation. Is that an Aboriginal English expression or (general) Australian English? Do you happen to know how this semantic change is motivated?


It’s an Aboriginal English expression that means really good or awesome (sort of like the word ‘wicked’ is now a good thing). This from Diana Eades:

An interesting Aboriginal English word is deadly which would translate as ‘really good or impressive’ in standard English. It appears that this is a word which is spreading from Aboriginal English into general Australian usage, especially among young people (compare the way that the African American English word ‘bad’ to describe something very good has spread into many other varieties of English).

I recall reading somewhere that is may be derived from Irish dialects stemming back to the the convicts during colonisation. 

Deadly, unna?! (Awesome, isn’t it?!)


Short angry post about white people who learn Chinese and go on about how the language is soooo beautifulllll and they are soooo cultureddddd and then use it to banter on Facebook about how they don’t eat dogs. (And then they get upset at YOU when you defriend them, because they appreciate your language.)

Short angry post about white people who ask you to “say something in Chinese!” like you are an obedient parrot.

short angry post about white people who say ‘ugh chinese people - not you though, steph, you don’t count’



So you know how every language has that word/phrase/sentence that native speakers can pronounce just fine, but foreigners can almost never pronounce it correctly? And the natives have a lot of fun telling the foreigners to try and say it and laughing at their attempts?

They’re called Shibboleths, and wikipedia has a whole article on them. 
Even better, wikipedia has a whole article on examples of them.

Some of them are ridiculous, I can’t stop reading this article.

It’s impressive how many are used to kill people.




Entrepreneur and author ShaoLan Hsueh is developing a book, Chineasy, that makes it more simple to learn basic Chinese words and phrases.
Find more at chineasy.org

These kanji also maintain the meaning in Japanese~!

Oh! How nice! We were talking about these in my Digital Graphics class.

Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English.
It means they know another language.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (via imaan-daar)

So here it is all together, Binaries/Dualities for Peril Magazine, 2 x 1000 words on biracial identity, crossing international boundaries, language, and trying to meet externally imposed cultural requirements. 

Part One: Not Even Sea Turtles: Can a Chinese-Australian in China ever truly be Chinese enough?

Every day, my fluency in Mandarin pulls ahead of my fluency in Cantonese; the language of my family, of my ancestors. I have sacrificed my family’s language, the language my mother speaks; for one I can access, for one that makes me more Chinese in the eyes of these people I will one day leave, who cannot ever comprehend of leaving China.

Part Two: Secret Asian Papercuts (being Chinese-Australian means being too Chinese)

I am 28. I am coveting the pandan pancakes on the menu, for pandan is the life blood of many a Malaysian. Gula and pandan, some coconut. The pancakes are the bright pandan green that always fills me with desire; with longing and homesickness and delight.

Ew, says a friend. Green is not a dessert colour.

My heart hurts.

enjoy this look into my psyche. 




I’m constantly surprised by the fact that other countries don’t have nicknames for absolutely everything: Arvo, Maccas, ute, brissy, chockas, barbie, avos, bikkies, bottle-o, bundy, cab sav, chockie, brekkie, compo, metho, sanger, snag, spag bol, ciggie, footy, garbo, goon, kindie, pash, polly, pokies, rego, servo, sickie, smoko, stubby, tinny, trackies, vee-dub, veggo, u-ey…

How…how do you remember what everything is?!

OUP’s word of the year is another: “selfie”.

of course selfie is an aussie word. we are basically the best. 

In the instances when POC say shit like ‘Oh I can’t stand white folk’ or ‘Damn white people’, they aren’t saying ‘Oh I think they are inferior, I want to humiliate them, abuse them, enslave them and wipe out their people!’, they’re saying ‘Damn, after a couple hundred years of white people thinking I’m inferior, humiliating me, abusing me, enslaving me, and trying to wipe out my people, I don’t wanna deal with them.’ The context is completely different.

Briana (via absinthedisco)

Reblogging as a reminder to myself. I am allowed to say this shit. It’s okay. 


my litmus for friendship is can i say “white people” in front of you without you shitting your pants.

today, people in front of whom i dance around singing about ‘colonial breakfast’ (english breakfast tea), and listen to me ask about the spiciness of things in terms of how white people deal with it, whom i have known for four years, got upset when i said ‘whiteys’ (specifically i said that i think those weird chocolate in nappy games at baby showers are a whities thing), and told me that was racist. 

you better believe i shut that shit down, but it just goes to show that you can love a white friend, but they might actually not have your back, and i’m so disappointed. 

(ps seriously, if you are a not-white person and you think those baby shower games are fun, lemme know, for science). 






we have literally created our own dialogue? language? here on tumblr and i think that is the most amazing thing ever please disregard my shitty editing skills

no listen this is actually really amazing because this is a real thing. i think this counts as a pidgin language. a pidgin language is basically a changed, simplified version of a language. you can change the spellings of words, pronunciation, grammar rules, or even make up new words. i think. i’d have to research it a bit more to be sure but i’m 90% sure this is right. if its not a pidgin language, then its a lingua franca but thats more used for trade and stuff like that. but still a new language. so yes, we’ve created our own language. we’ve changed the whole sentence structure. we can trail off sentences, say things like “i just cant”, and use words like ship, OTP, fic, fandom, feels, and ship names and everyone will understand what you’re saying. the part that i love most is how people go “OMGH IM CRIIY NIG SOIOO HARD” and understand each other. for example “IM LIUA GHMNIG”. that one was incredibly easy, but if you knew that said “I’m laughing”, congratulations. You speak a pidgin language. we can even say stuff like “Does anyone know of a Johnlock fic, at least 20k words, not a WIP, with no OCs, and is Post-Reichenbach? Or just a Destiel PWP would be great.” To someone not on tumblr, that wouldn’t make any sense. but you understood, didn’t you? One characteristic of a pidgin language is that you have to learn it like a second language. Another characteristic is that it is frequently changing. tumblr goes through many trends with how we talk. if i remember correctly, when i first made an account about two years ago, talking like this wasn’t quite as common. also, that thing of suddenly capitalizing your sentence is fairly recent. you know, when people go “the new epISODE IS TOMORROW”. Like one of the people up there said, all of this is awesome because how else do you easily show emotion and tone over the internet? we’ve even made a whole sense of humour that most people here share in. There’s so much more that I could talk about with this, but i’m tired and i may be entirely wrong about everything. but yes. people on the fandom side of tumblr who speak like this are speaking a new language

As an anthropologist-in-training…I think I can safely say that this is legit. And awesome.

Yep. It’s a pidgin, born of texting and extreme youth. Get used to it.

Born of texting deffo. Because the only capitals in my posts are auto inserted by my phone. And the general lack of them eg in characs names is cos my phone sometimes doesn’t recognise proper nouns and capitalising on a phone is a pain.

But don’t discount the eons of fandom language. All those words cited: Otp, wip, pwp, keyboard smushing etc. They’re from an already existing language.

Tumblr is the latest evolution of fandom pidgin.

Both Sides of the Sea - a multilingual music mix


Track listing over a background of snowy pines.

  1. La Vie en rose - Edith Piaf/Corinne Alal (Hebrew/French)
  2. Asimbonanga - Johnny Clegg & Savuka (Zulu/English)
  3. Michelle - The Beatles (English/French)
  4. Ladino Song - Oi Va Voi (Ladino/English)
  5. Aicha - Cheb Khaled (French/Arabic)
  6. You Love Me - Peggy Hsu (Mando/English)
  7. Homeless - Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo (English/Zulu)
  8. Rebel Prince - Rufus Wainwright (English/French)
  9. Cose Della Vita - Eros Ramazzotti & Tina Turner (Italian/English)
  10. Ojos Asi - Shakira (Spanish/Arabic)
  11. Seven Seconds - Neneh Cherry & Youssou N’Dour (Wolof/French/English)
  12. Apl Song - The Black Eyed Peas (Tagalog/English)
  13. Siuil a Run - traditional/Celtic Woman (Irish/English)
  14. Pines - Noa (Achinoam Nini) (Hebrew/English)
  15. Kyrie Eleison - traditional/Sinead O’Connor (Greek/English)

YouTube playlist



와우 당신은 실제로 번역의 의미를 보았다

it means love is forever in korean :)




A great many people familiar with the trans* community may have heard of hijras, a concept of gender that exists within South Asia. A great many usually white trans* people have called hijra’s “trans*” or put them under the trans* label. Regardless of their intention, to take the epistemology of “trans*” and apply it to something like the hijra can be seen as an oppressive or colonising act. The hijra are hijra. That is their name. Unless a hijra specifically identifies as transgender or trans*, applying our own concepts of gender and sexuality constructed within white supremacist cultures to people outside of our epistemological framework is redefining them on our own terms for our own benefit. Another instance of where this occurs is within the American/Canadian indigenous or native concept of two spirit, which is in and of itself an umbrella term for multiple tribal concepts of third or mixed gender roles. The definition not only differs from tribe to tribe, but in many cases applying the white concept of gender toward two spirit people, again, becomes an act of oppression and colonisation. Especially when, without any indigenous or native background, white people adopt the identification mantle of “two spirit”.

Map of Aboriginal Australia.


Map of Aboriginal Australia.