Article 5— Watch out for the Drop Bear
Title: Beware the Drop Bear
Author: Oxford Australia
Date of publication: March 3, 2017
Place of publication: The Oxford Australia Blog
The article discusses the history of the “Drop Bear”, which has recently been added to the Oxford Dictionary’s online edition. The “Drop Bear” is a mythical creature resembling a koala, which is believed to live in the trees. The mythical creature was first recorded in 1980, by Nancy Keesing who first mentioned it. The premise is that it was created by Australian soldiers in World War Two, to trick American Soldiers. Since then it has been an Australian legend, with state governments in Australia warning tourists of them, and the National Geographic conducing false studies on it.
The article discusses a word related to a country specific discourse, in regards to the fact that typically only Australian’s understand the phrase “Drop Bear”, and they are generally aware that it is a made up creature intended to fool non Australians. The fact that it was added to the online dictionary is an attempt to embrace such an legend, which has become apart of Australian history. As such, by offering it formal recognition, it is only affirming the legend in Australia’s place of history.
It was the use of this mythical creature, that was used back in World War Two, to build rapport between the soldiers on the fronts, as stated in the article, between the Australians and the Americans. As such, we see how the informal nature and connotation of the phrase, can assist conversation.
It is clear that this is a light hearted way of affirming an Australian legend, and as such is worth while. Due to it’s historical context, from WW2, I believe that it has well deserved it’s place in the dictionary. In similar circumstances, I am well aware of the story in which my Mum’s side of her family travelled to live in Canada for a few years. During so, my Grandpa would educate the Canadian masses about “Seahorse racing”. In which jockeys rode special seahorses underwater. It was because of the timeframe, that this form of misinformation was simply absorbed, due to the fact that things could not be readily fact checked. As such, the entry of “Drop Bear” into the online dictionary, is simply a way of solidifying it’s place in Australian history.
“It is large and predatory, ambushing its prey from above. It targets tourists and finds Vegemite repellent.”
“…drop bear as, “A mythical marsupial resembling a koala, said to live in trees and attack people by dropping on to their heads from above.”
“new entry in OxfordDictionaries.com reveals, the legend is showing no signs of fading.“
“…suggested the term emerged in the Second World War period for the benefit of gullible American servicemen.“