A “Shout Out” to My Friends in Australia

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I recently returned from Australia, where I participated in the annual conference of the Australian Law Librarians’ Association in Sydney. It was a rich learning experience, and a lot of fun. I look forward to keeping in touch with the new friends I made.

After the conference, I also had the opportunity to visit Macquarie University, where I met with Mary Simons, the embedded librarian in the Australian School of Advanced Medicine.  (See Mary’s paper “Time to rethink the role of the library in educating doctors: Driving information literacy in the clinical environment” (Journal of the Medical Library Association, 100(4), 291-296. doi:10.3163/1536-5050.100.4.011) for insights into her work.)

At lunch with members of the library staff, I learned a subtle but important distinction between Australian and American use of the term “shout” that Americans would do well to keep in mind. Where in the U.S. we’ve come to use “shout out” as slang for “recognize” or “acknowledge” (as in the title of this post, which means, “An Acknowledgment to My Friends in Australia”), it turns out that in Australia, to “shout” for someone is to pay for = to pick up the check. So, Americans, when in Australia beware of “shouting out” to your friends — or you may find yourself stuck with the tab for everybody in the pub!

(p.s. to my friends in Australia: I’ll definitely “shout” for a round next time I visit — and I hope it will be soon!)

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