Macquarie Dictionary


The Hobson-Jobson effect of the wee juggler

A wee juggler is a slang name for the Major Mitchell, a cockatoo with white wings, pink underparts, neck and face, and a white crown suffused with salmon pink and a forward-curving scarlet crest. It is endemic to arid and semi-arid regions of Australia.

The name wee juggler is a corruption of the word wijugula from the Aboriginal language Wiradjuri. One of many loan words taken from Aboriginal languages, wee juggler is an example of the ‘Law of Hobson-Jobsonat work in Australia.

The Law of Hobson-Jobson is the linguistic process whereby a word borrowed from one language is changed so that it resembles words in another language. 

Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.

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