Yeah, Nah

The weather is a common topic of discussion here in Calgary. Calgary is near the Rocky Mountains and is conveniently located in Alberta, which-for the time being is conveniently located in Canada. Due to all this convenience and proximity, not to mention Chinook winds, the weather in Calgary can be erratic. You will often overhear people saying stuff like: “If you don’t like the weather in Calgary, wait five minutes.” or “It can snow any day of the year in Calgary.” You’re more likely to hear this if you actually live in Calgary but that’s a side issue. You shouldn’t be listening in on other people’s conversations either but that’s a different side issue.

If you are a Calgarian and if your spouse happens to have spent many years in a warmer climate whereas you -as it were- didn’t, the issue of when exactly Spring has arrived will come up fairly frequently: at least once a year and usually before Easter. Coincidence? I think not.

This year was no different and after a week of what was, to me, clearly Spring weather I began saying that I thought Spring was here. In response my wife just smiled in her classic Mona Lisa fashion and replied, “Just wait.” Not long after that it snowed about four inches of nasty, wet snow. (See Feature Image)

If my wife had happened to look out the door to our kitchen deck after it stopped snowing and if by some startling coincidence she also happened to be Australian at the time, she would immediately have looked back at me, cocked her head toward the deck, snickered a bit and said. “Spring. Yeah Nah.” (Ed. note: the “yeah” bit is pronounced “yeh”)

The reason I know all this is because of listening to ABC radio and also because of Ethan Marrell and his T-shirts.

Shipping envelope bearing a photo of Ethan Marrell

Ethan Marrell is also known as Ozzy Man, the intellectual and biological father of the Ozzy Man Reviews. If you have even one tiny, sardonic, irreverent bone in your body, say one of the bones in your middle ear, the incus or whatever, I don’t care, you have to listen to his reviews. They irreverently cover a wide range of topics. You will irreverently wet yourself laughing. Well, you might. I didn’t.

Irreverence aside, I don’t think Ozzy Man is particularly villainous. I’ve seen other photos in which he looks…well, pretty normal, pretty much like a fair dinkum bloke. And in case you were wondering, fair dinkum is Australian for unquestionably good, excellent, genuine. Oikay? (To my ear, that is Australian for OK.)

The photo above is on the wrapper of a T-shirt I bought on line from the Ozzy Man shop in Perth: I think they just stuck that picture on the wrapper to scare away small children and Customs Inspectors.

By the way, I don’t think it snows every day of the year in Perth. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Come to think of it, this looks like a silhouette of the head and upper neck of a Scotty dog sporting a small dab of lipstick and a curious spiky growth on its neck. Weird huh?

The T-shirt featured below is is not the T-shirt I bought from the Ozzy Man store, but it’s a darned fine T-shirt just the same. That is Ethan wearing it. See? He is probably only marginally villainous. And when all is said and done, Ethan and his T-shirt are an excellent segue into “Yeah Nah”:

Ethan Marrell looking like a fair dinkum bloke

Yeah Nah is an expression which is iconically Australian although it supposedly originated in New Zealand. The Aussies probably borrowed it from the Kiwis at some point and then forgot to give it back because they were too busy exterminating rabbits and cane toads.

Clearly, Yeah Nah is a prime example of culturo-linguistic appropriation. The rabbits and cane toads are prime examples of bureaucratic thinking. Evidently some Canadians have culturo-linguistically appropriated Yeah Nah from the Aussies because my old friend Tracy would often say, “Yeah No” which is pretty close to Yeah Nah. As far as I know, Tracy is not and never has been Australian. She has never mentioned cane toads either although I think we discussed saltwater crocodiles at some point.

I did a little research on Yeah Nah and am hereby lazily and robotically repeating part of a passage I found on the Lifehacker Au site:

“As for the ‘Yeah, nah’, this less ambiguous phrase is a derision of whatever the current subject is. Most often the prior ‘Yeah’ indicates we’re on the same page, and nothing’s gone over our heads, while the ‘Nah’ confirms that despite our understanding, we still think it’s bollocks. Like when someone tells a bad joke, and repeats the punchline. Yeah, dude we get it, but Nah, it’s still not funny.”

In my hypothetical example, I think my wife used Yeah Nah appropriately. I could be wrong. If anyone in Australia or New Zealand has anything to say about it, they are welcome to let me know.

P.S. Full disclosure here: I’m laying on the Australia references pretty thick in a shameless bid to get more blog traction Down Under.



Dave Barry fan and Medical Director at Rocky Mountain Analytical