I’ve always been intrigued by Cathy using the term “arvo” for afternoon, so I enjoyed this article, How Australian Nicknaming Conventions Turn an Afternoon Into an ‘Arvo’:
Hypocoristics are a change in a name used to convey something else: informality, affiliation, friendliness, association with an in-group. They are a personalized version of calling someone “buddy.” But in Australia, they are unusually common, and take totally different forms than anywhere else.
Australian English began to veer most dramatically away from U.K. English around World War II. Before that time, says Kidd, U.K. English was so pervasive in Australia that even some Australian personalities—newscasters, actors—would use a version of Received Pronunciation, the very proper dialect of English taught in upper-class England, in their home country. After the war, Australia began to look more inward and to codify its own identity, separate from the U.K. A greater cultural pride emerged, and a better understanding of what makes Australia unique. Australian linguists began studying the way Australians actually speak. The concept of “mateship,” an essential Australian virtue of connection, friendship, and equality, emerged.
Apparently there are rules for how these nicknames are made, including how afternoon turned into “arvo”. And presumably the rules also apply to New Zealand.
I thought the article was interesting because of that, but even more so because it describes what happened to Andy. He was born Andrew and that was his name until he went to graduate school in California. Californians are (were? that was over 50 years ago) informal like the Australians, so his name suddenly became Andy, and that’s the way he was introduced to me. So to me he has always been Andy and to his family he is Andrew. It also explains why to Kaitlin he is Father while I, born in California, am Mom. Fun stuff.