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South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:02 pm Unread post
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
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Re: South Africa English - a guide for other mother tongues

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:26 pm Unread post
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


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

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:03 pm Unread post
Now, did that have its origin in Swaziland or Cape Town?


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Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:10 pm Unread post
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.


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

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:34 pm Unread post
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..


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

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:02 pm Unread post
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?


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

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:31 pm Unread post
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.


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

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:40 pm Unread post
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


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

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:47 pm Unread post
Here sa-english is a site that give a few explanations. I am not sure how accurate they are.


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

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:42 pm Unread post
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


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

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Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:01 pm Unread post
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'!!!


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

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Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:12 pm Unread post
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.'


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

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Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:59 pm Unread post
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.


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

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Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:54 pm Unread post
Haha, 'let's make a plan'


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

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Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:21 pm Unread post
I think I need to make tracks..
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