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Oi Oi Oi

By Ian Nance - posted Wednesday, 21 November 2018


by Ian Nance

The enthusiastic chant, "Aussie Aussie Aussie - Oi Oi Oi", is heard everywhere that some display of national fulfillment is needed – at sporting events or other large gatherings of all kinds where a form of group joy is warranted.


An interesting variant of the call is when "Aussie Aussie Aussie" is called out by a cheer leader or part of the crowd, and others at the gathering respond heartily with "Oi Oi Oi".

Yet its origin isn't Australian. It derives from a chant which grew at Cornish rugby union and football games in the 1960s where the call was "Oggy Oggy Oggy – Oi Oi Oi" It is said that one popular variation was the "Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie" chant by Chelsea fans in homage to their star striker, Peter Osgood. That made it natural for this country adapt the spelling of the words of the chant to "Aussie -Aussie- Aussie". It was heard at Australian sporting events as early as 1987, and gained wide popularity by the time of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

So the evolvement of the chant in this country is an example of multi culturalism at work – we adopt the style of another nation, then apply it to our own.

But there is one form of emulation which I find fairly annoying – the habit of Americanising the pronunciation of words and phrases in popular songs. I bridled recently when I heard a song on the radio and the vocalist sang "Ah see your lerv in the skahs......"

And it wasn't because the singer was a Yank. Oh no!

In fact he is a local, but had fallen for the infatuation of trying to sing like an American vocalist.


Imagine how you would react if you heard well-loved melodies rendered in 'Yankee' – perhaps that of one of our renowned singers, Olivia Newton John. Although she was born in England and brought to Australia when she was six, Olivia is accepted as a leading Australian performer.

Just let your mind imagine her singing "Ah lerv yiu – ah honestly lerv yiu"! Or perhaps you might accept hearing an Asian girl singer delivering the memorable words of one song of Gus Hahn's Broadway play "Whoopee" - "Ruv me or reeve me and ret me be ronerey..."

Now I'm not decrying many local polished performers who sometimes slip into little bursts of Americana, but I do denounce those who are struggling to "make it" in show business, and who believe that the pseudo-American accent is mandatory. It's not – it just shows up a possible rejection of pride in Australian culture.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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