Vernacular Spectacular #14: “biker” vs. “bikie”

One of the major news stories since I have been in Brisbane has been the government’s crackdown on motorcycle gangs, which includes measures so audacious in their scope that I suspect American readers wouldn’t believe they could be passed into law all at once in a contemporary democracy.

The major outlaw gangs here are Bandidos and Hell’s Angels, just like in America. Yes! They not only borrow all our movies and television shows, but our biker gangs as well! Only here, they are called “bikies” instead of “bikers.” It shows the flexibility of the -ies/-ees ending here in Oz; where in America it’s used to make something more diminutive or childlike, here it’s the way you make a nickname out of anything. Maybe before I leave there will be a crime story where the police catch a serial killie or break up a ring of paedophillies.

Jeremy’s winner: biker

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