“You can find the Doonas in Manchester”

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Now this might sound a bit random 🤨 but this is something you’ll hear all the time, in all places… in department stores in Australia 🇦🇺. How come? 🧐

In most English language-dominant countries, “Doona” will be in reference to the popular Israeli-invented baby car seat that converts into a stroller/pushchair/pram 🚼

“Manchester” would be taken for either the city in northern England 🇬🇧 or the numerous Manchesters in the USA 🇺🇸 (the largest being in New Hampshire).

But in Australia 🦘, this means…

“You can find the duvets in the bed linen section”

🤔 Now I wonder if AI would pick this up?

“Manchester” has been the generic term for “bed linen” 🛏️ and, more specifically, “bed linen sections” in department stores, in Australia and New Zealand since the 19th century when Manchester, England, was the worldwide centre for linen production 🧵

True story: when my sister moved to London, while shopping for bed linen at a department store she asked a staff member where she can find Manchester, to which the reply was “it’s in the north” 😂

The term “Doona” started off as the name of a popular range of duvets made by a Melbourne-based company, but soon after became the generic Aussie term for “duvet” replacing “continental quilt”.

™ Terms such as “Doona” are called “generic trademarks”.
Commonly used English ones include:
🔹 Kleenex
… and many, many more.

Another Australian-specific generic trademark is the word for a felt-tip pen, “texta” ✎, however that’s being replaced with a US-imported generic trademark, “Sharpie”. However, the first thing many Aussies over 40 think when they hear “Sharpie” is a person from the uniquely Australian youth subculture of the 1960s to 1980s, the Sharpies 🗡.

🔹 What generic trademarks are in use in your country?

🤷🏽 Confused by all this? There’s no need to be! I’m here to wade you through this crazy thing called Australian English 🇦🇺

As the rest of the world sees a Doona