- Messenger has launched a new bot called Bruce that speaks and explains Australian slang for the Facebook community.
- Bruce not only curates a list of the most popular slang terms like ‘arvo’ and ‘schnitty’ but also explains more obscure ones, like ‘bleeding dog’s eye’.
- With Facebook finding that one in four Aussies believe our way of speaking is declining, it’s hoped that Bruce will help preserve the unique Australian vernacular in the digital age.
Australian slang can be a slippery slope. It was iconic Australian filmstar Paul Hogan, after all, who introduced the world to the phrase, ‘throw a shrimp on the barbie’ — a phrase which hasn’t been seriously uttered by anyone since.
Now Facebook Messenger has stepped up to the challenge of bringing the Aussie vernacular alive again in a technological age. On Monday, it launched Bruce the Bot, a a chatbot armed with the singular mission of speaking and explaining the country’s unique turn of phrase.
Unsurprisingly, Australian favourites like ‘arvo’, ‘schnitty’ and ‘bludge’ all feature in the mix, with Bruce explaining the definition of each. Phrases like ‘go off’ and ‘Buckley’s chance’ are also dissected, along with their historical relevance and likely usage by true blue Aussies.
But Messenger Australia has made it clear that it’s not only intended for visitors to the sunburnt country.
“A study we commissioned found that one in four Aussies believe that Australian slang is declining. In celebration of Aussie slang, a purely Aussie cultural phenomenon, we created Bruce the Bot, a quick guide for Aussies and tourists alike, to help us brush up on our slang and keep it alive,” Facebook marketing communications manager Alexandra Sloane said in a media release.
The bot is versed in over 1,000 slang words and their meanings, direct from the Macquarie Australian Slang Dictionary.
“The words Aussie and slang go together like fair dinkum and true blue. The way we speak is at the very heart of our national identity. Australia is a relaxed country with a healthy dismissiveness of authority and formality, so our love and use of slang is always going to have a place in our language. Have you ever taken a selfie? Or worn budgie smugglers? These are just two gems Australian slang has graciously gifted the world!” said Macquarie Dictionary senior editor Victoria Morgan in the announcement from Facebook.
That means you can expect Bruce to come up with a couple of crackers you might not even know.
While it’s difficult to imagine an Australian man wearing a cork hat dropping the word ‘olfactory’ in casual conversation, good on Facebook for giving it a crack.