And today I present to you a typical Aussie conversation:
Aussie #1: G’day, Mate!
Aussie #2: G’day! How you going?
Aussie #1: I’m heaps good, mate. I got heaps to tell you.
Aussie #2: Heaps? Oh well, this should be heaps exciting. Go on.
Aussie #1: Well, we had heaps of problems at home today. Mom went heaps crazy because my brother left heaps of dirty dishes in the sink, and my sister bought heaps of new clothes on my mom’s credit card. They were all yelling heaps at each other, and then dad came home and it only got heaps worse. You know he can get heaps angry when heaps of stuff happens!
Aussie #2: I know – heaps!
Aussie #1: Luckily, I had put heaps of gas in my car earlier, so I just left, but I found that heaps of gas were gone! I put in a few more heaps to get me to Heapsville, and I’m heaps relieved that I’m out of that heaps angry house. Heaps.
Aussie #2: Heaps heaps. Well, I’m heaps glad you’re here. Heaps. Want to go eat heaps of pizza? Heaps.
Aussie #1: Heaps of pizza would be heaps great. I heaps love eating heaps of pizza. Heaps heaps.
Aussie #2: I heaps know. Heaps of pizza is heaps yummy heaps.
Aussie #1: Heaps.
Aussie #2: Heaps.
Heaps. Aussies love the word. It’s probably one of the three most spoken words on the continent (falling behind, of course, “G’day” and “mate”). A heap to me is a pile. So when I hear that there were “heaps of people at the mall today”, I always get the image of either some tragic mafia-style murder scene or some over the top performance art installation. I’m not sure which mental image is worse, but I’m leaning toward the performance art.
They only use heaps. They never spice it up. They never use lots. How about trying “There were lots of people at the mall today”? That’s a little clearer and the imagery isn’t so horrifying. Maybe tons? Now, anything involving tons of people may imply fat people, but maybe we can reserve it for non-human descriptions. “There were tons of cars on the road today” or “There was a ton of stuff on sale at Best Buy.” I wouldn’t mind the occasional buckets – because after all, isn’t that very similar to heaps? Buckets may be a little too Texas-sounding though, so it should only be used sparingly. And lest we not forget about oodles! Oodles generally implies good, so “There were oodles of children at the zoo today” would not be proper usage because that would not be good. However, “There were oodles of topless hunks at the beach” would be grammatically appropriate.
Or we could go with the standard American word: loads. “As expected, there were loads of poor people at the Wal-Mart.” Ok, maybe loads wouldn’t be enough for that one. How about a shitload? “As expected, there were shitloads of poor people at the Wal-Mart.” That’s better. Similarly, the shit ton unit of measurement would also be appropriate. Adding “shit” to the front of the adjective is helpful in conveying the sheer amount of that ton or load which you are describing. Shit heaps wouldn’t work the same. Shit heaps sounds like… well, it sounds like heaps of shit. Piles of shit if I may. And the imagery I get from that is some tragic mafia-style murder scene where the mafia added insult to injury by first covering their pile of victims in manure, or similarly, that performance art installation this time done by hippies where they cover themselves in feces to make a political statement about something that nobody is going to care about or understand.
Would it kill the Aussies to spice it up every now and again? Using the same one adjective over and over again is getting heaps boring… oh no… I just said it.