Thanks to my dentist, I’ve learnt a new Aussie word this week. He had asked me if I had lived in Oz long enough to understood the slang locals use – I said I thought I had. He then questioned if I had ever met an “Ocker”. I had no idea what he was talking about. He explained that an Ocker was a person from a “regional” area (gentle way of saying from the boonies) that wears a singlet (tank top – not unitard), thongs (flip flops) and carries an “esky” (food cooler for beach going) and a “tinnie” (beer). Their language is bursting with slang and reminds me of the rhyming, sing-song sound of London cockney.
The term “ocker” is used both as a noun and adjective for an Australian who speaks and acts in a rough and uncultivated manner, using a broad Australian accent.
The definition reminds me of the familiar “bogan” term that I understand is used to describe an unsophisticated individual. I was curious if there was a difference and this is what I discovered:
Bogan is Australia and New Zealand slang for a person whose speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour are considered unrefined or unsophisticated. Depending on the context, the term can be pejorative or self-deprecating. The prevalence of the term bogan has also been associated with changing social attitudes towards social class in Australia.
Since the 1980s, the bogan has become a very well-recognised subculture, often as an example of bad taste. It has antecedents in the Australian larrikin and ocker, and various localised names exist that describe the same or very similar people to the bogan.
In the end they are related. Look at me connecting the dots, yeah! Learning about cultural nuances and spending enough time in a place to actually understand them makes ex-pat life so great.