Skip to Content

South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Use this forum for general postings not related to any specific park or special interest, but RELATED to Conservation in South(ern) Africa

Moderator: Crested Val

User avatar
Bush Baptist
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 9928
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain

South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:02 pm

I thought this thread might be helpful to our overseas forumites in understanding South African English (SAE).

There is a thread elsewhere explaining Afrikaans words, but we (ab)use some English words and phrases in our lovely land, and some explanation might be necessary.

Like the word 'quickly' that is often said, mainly by younger people. It is a synonym for the defunct 'please'.

'Hang on quickly'
"Do this for me quickly"

Another is 'whatever' learnt from the cultured Jerry Springer show, which I have worked out to mean 'You are correct, but I hate to admit it'.

Another local favourite is 'Eezurt' which is an expression of mild surprise or agreement, and could follow every sentence you say.

The Kruger Park is often referred to by older people as the 'Game Reserve'. They have not moved on from when it was just about the only one around.

I hope this is helpful, and if the mods don't give me a yellow card - sorry I have been watching a lot of soccer (football) lately - I will continue with further insights into SAE
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

User avatar
Jazil
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 14847
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: Swaziland. The smallest country of the S. Hemisphere

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby Jazil » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:26 pm

How about "Just Now"?

That could mean anything from 1 minute to a day.

And

"A couple" - certainly not necessarily 2, could be anything from 2 upwards
Don't forget to PM any Mod your Kudu nominations for the month.

If you want to list your Park Dates in the YR Thread then please PM me.

User avatar
PNF
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3223
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby PNF » Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:03 pm

Now, did that have its origin in Swaziland or Cape Town?
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin


Mokala (Motswedi Camp) 13 - 17 May
Karoo National 17 - 24 May
Addo 24 - 28 May
Then home - maybe!

User avatar
Snow Zee
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2515
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:02 pm
Location: Over the rainbow

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby Snow Zee » Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:10 pm

Good thread BB..

Neither of these are found on the threads but here are two of my pet hates!

Many Saffies throw the word 'basically' around like salt on a packet of slap chips. Its 'Basically' we want to...', or 'Basically what happened', or 'Basically its too....'..and Im sure what they really mean is 'Im trying to sound like I know what Im talking about and I will, as soon as Ive managed to gather my thoughts'(Now where were they? )

Then there is 'y'know?' at the beginning or end of very sentence. 'Y'know I was just going to go shopping, but y'know there was no parking outside the shops so, I turned around and went home y'know?

He he..maybe a bit of an exageration and Im sure no one on this forum speaks like that.
'“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” The Peace Pilgrim.

User avatar
annapangolin
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 746
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:46 pm

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby annapangolin » Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:34 pm

Eish, y'know some of us do y'know?

Shame, there were a lot of South African expressions that confused the life out of me when I got here a few years ago. I can't verbalize any of them myself, because I have an American accent and people would look at me strangely.

Y'know, I now know that 'izzit' isn't actually very rude (or izzit?), and 'okes' aren't trees y'know.

Ag, and 'now now' means 'never'.

Y'know i'm really going to miss this place, hey..

User avatar
Jazil
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 14847
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: Swaziland. The smallest country of the S. Hemisphere

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby Jazil » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:02 pm

Bascially, y'know, PNF, "Just now" must have originated somewhere inbetween Cape Town and Swaziland. Anyways I am "going to go" "now now", well in a "couple" of minutes anyways. ok?
Don't forget to PM any Mod your Kudu nominations for the month.

If you want to list your Park Dates in the YR Thread then please PM me.

User avatar
Bush Baptist
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 9928
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:31 pm

Basically, SZ, is a noise word thrown out to give the speaker time to think about what to say. It has no meaning.

'Freezing' btw, is about 8-15 degrees C, and 'boiling' is anything above about 30.

Moose, izzit is pronounced eezurt here in CT.

Like I said, it is a mild form of surprise. A more urgent one is 'You lie!!!', or the less offensive 'you're joking', which are not meant as a sleight on you or your information, but the hearer is quite taken aback.

Some for our sexist police, 'chicks' & 'birds' are not necessarily those, but pet names for our angels, as is 'cherry' up the west coast.

I have sent an American forumite a phonetic list of Kruger name places, I think I should start a sticky for it. Could be interesting depending on your homeland & language.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

User avatar
annapangolin
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 746
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:46 pm

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby annapangolin » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:40 pm

I consider myself more a Joburger than a Cape Towner. Izzit?

Your idea about phonetic place names is BRILLIANT! You should most certainly start a sticky. Can you include KTP ones too? I still can't prononce 'Kgalagadi', although I own a National Geographic DVD, where it's pronounced like, 'Kuh-Gala-Gadi'. I can do that

User avatar
Dotty
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 19661
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:09 pm
Location: another national park.. in England

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby Dotty » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:47 pm

Here sa-english is a site that give a few explanations. I am not sure how accurate they are.
KUDU's mean Well done and Thank you

Gemma T
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:10 pm
Location: Cumbria UK

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby Gemma T » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:42 pm

The 2 that really struck me the first time I visited...
Firstly "a helluva" as "This road's a helluva dead" meaning it's very quiet! And the other is what seems to be Saffies other favourite phrase.."Let's make a plan..."

Gemma
When I'm not in the Park, I'm thinking of it...
Bittersweet Return to Paradise TR - Aug 2011

User avatar
Snow Zee
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2515
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:02 pm
Location: Over the rainbow

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby Snow Zee » Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:01 pm

Ag, all in all I tune you, the Saffie okes are basically seriously cool Chinas once you check whats potting with them y'know.

Just dont check them out skeef because some of them will just mos loose their cool immediately or slightly sooner. Then, I tune you, you best make like Donald and Duck basically.

(Forsooth, I exaggerate again! My humble apologies)

A Dutch Engish-ism which has me all atwitter..vetcool..means 'very nice'!!!
'“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” The Peace Pilgrim.

User avatar
Micetta
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 9542
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: CH - Lugano

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby Micetta » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:12 pm

My question probably has little to do with South Africa english, but I would like to know why so few posters use the plural, especially noted in TRs. You see a pic of a herd of any animal and the description goes; 'we saw lots of giraffe, elephant, waterbuck, mongoose, rhino, hippo' etc.'

User avatar
Bush Baptist
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 9928
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:59 pm

Maybe because it is a collective nou type, dunno.

Dotty, that is a very good site, but it does not capture some gems, like "that side" or "the other side" which mean anywhere you are not. It could be across the room or across the world. The speaker knows exactly what they are talking about, but the listener is clueless.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

User avatar
annapangolin
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 746
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:46 pm

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby annapangolin » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:54 pm

Haha, 'let's make a plan'

User avatar
forestgump
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:54 pm
Location: Sabie

Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

Unread postby forestgump » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:21 pm

I think I need to make tracks..
No to speeding in Sanparks.


Return to “Chit-Chat”