I was reminded, this evening, as I was washing dishes, and the TV was on in the background, that there is one oddity of Australian English I have never quite understood. That is, when you hear it in normal conversation, it usually passes unnoticed, but *if* you happen to notice it, you then become increasingly puzzled over its meaning. Or, if it even has any meaning. I speak of the phrase “…turned around and…”.
Tonight… a woman was describing how her child had benefited from swim lessons because when she fell in the pool “she turned around and got herself out”. Why not “She got herself out” or “she was able to get herself out”. What does “turning around” have to do with anything in this sentence? I notice that it is often inserted between the subject and the verb and to be honest, in most cases, does not seem to carry any meaning at all. I often imagine people spinning on the spot whilst attempting various activities.
I don’t understand where it came from or why its so prevalent in standard English (in Australia, at least).