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3. Thanks to the variety of languages spoken in South Africa, locals tend to borrow words from each language, resulting in slang words or phrases known as ‘South Africanisms’. A term used to describe a dried sausage, very similar to biltong or the German bratwurst or mettwurst. Eg. You don’t want to be saying this to a local or worse, if a local says this to you – you’ve really angered them! Your email address will not be published. We can’t wait to hear from you. It may sound illogical but makes complete sense in South Africa! ‘Eish, my cell phone broke’. ‘We had a jol last night!’. Southern accents are different in many different parts of the South. 43 South African Slang Expressions You Need to Know. Usually expressed with respect. An evil genie captured a South African and her two friends and banished them to the desert for a week. South Africa’s most common word for a man or guy and is similar in meaning to ‘china’, ‘bru’ or ‘boet’. South Africa– Blue Sky Publications (Pty) Ltd T/A TheSouthAfrican Number: 2005/028472/07. Is it the Afrikaans-English accent or the Bantu-English accent? Even South Africans themselves do not always understand if the phrase should mean a short moment, or soon. Because the English spoken in South Africa is derived from the British Settlers who immigrated to the country en mass in the 1820s, schools teach the language based on the British grammatical system. Sawubona (First person singular) – If you meet a South African and you would like to greet them in isiZulu, you can say “Sawubona” meaning “greetings”. The two main phonological features that mark South African English as distinct are the behaviour of the vowels in KIT and PALM. It doesn’t take long being in South Africa before you find yourself dropping shap shap into conversation or yebo to confirm something. South African Accents. This does not mean they’ll do it immediately, but rather a bit later. As a language practitioner, I know that slang has nothing to do with accent. The second friend brought an umbrella to keep the sun off. Example: “We’re going to the beach now now!” (But first we have to pack our swimming gear, stop at gas station and maybe get some snacks…). 5. South African English South African Dictionary Afrikaans. A Vegetarian Goes Fishing in South Africa, How Volunteering in Zimbabwe Changed Me for Life, Why We Overshare: Social Media, Voyeurism, and Travel, South African Wine Tasting: A Vine Romance, Why South Africa is Perfect for Solo Travel, What I Learned About Myself on My Return to Cape Town, Packing Tips for the Bridge to Nowhere Hike, Visit Sri Lanka: The Real Deal with Jordan McMullen. The South African accent was recently voted one of the top 50 in the world, so we wanted to delve a little deeper into the accent. Example: “Ag! It’s best when the bread is soft and fresh and the curry is extra spicy. Meaning ‘farmer’s sausage’, this term describes a savory sausage that was developed by the Afrikaners approximately 200 years ago. By translating Afrikaans to English, these Afrikaans idioms will definitely make you giggle. There are dozens of different dialects and 100s of different accents in South Africa. 4. Shebeen [sha-bean] is an illegal tavern derived from Irish (sibín). What is it that people like so much and just why is it so sexy? Add some salads, rolls and ‘melktert’ for dessert and you are set for a traditional South African braai. It can also mean ‘to fail an exam’. The PALM vowel is characteristically back in the General and Broad varieties of SAE. Eg. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Derived from the Zulu word meaning “definitely not!” This word is usually expressed on its own, at the start or end of a sentence when something seems unbelievable. Click To Tweet. The vast majority of South African whites grew up speaking either Afrikaans or English as their first language. ), this is the spicy, cured snack eaten at rugby matches. Dop is slang for an alcoholic drink. The pronunciation features which survive are mainly those from south-east England with distinct Cockney associations. Example: “Hey my boet, see you at the game tonight!”. ‘That’s a kief car!’. This term is usually used in reference to a male friend or companion. [izzit] is an expression frequently used in conversation meaning ‘Is that so?’ or ‘Really?’. Sho’t left is derived from everyday South African ‘taxi lingo’. ‘Ag, shame man, poor girl!’ ‘Shame, he’s so cute.’. Sho my bru! Similar to the German “dummkopf” or Dutch “domkop”, this term literally translates to “dumb head” and is a derogatory term used to describe someone who you think is stupid. Example: “That new movie is lekker!” / “That bunny chow was lekker!” / “I’m lekker, bru!”. South African diphthongs are pretty different as well. These terms describe varieties of a given language on a spectrum of similarity to the colonial version of that language: the "acrolect" being the most similar. Slap chips [slup chips] is a slang phrase for deep-fried potato chips sold at takeaway seafood shops, grocery stores and restaurants. She currently holds a Master of Science in Environmental Microbiology but has chosen a life on the road – teaching English and Science to young students whilst documenting her traveling escapades on her blog: Life, Love & Travel. Take backstreets so that you don’t get stuck at that robot on 7th Avenue.” South Africa has 11 different national languages - English is the most commonly spoken language in official and commercial public life but only the sixth most spoken language in terms of numbers. Thanks to the variety of languages spoken in South Africa, locals tend to borrow words from each language, resulting in slang words or phrases known as ‘South Africanisms’. How could I get my accent back Have you traveled to South Africa? A braai is a popular social event in South Africa and even has its own dedicated public holiday, known as National Braai Day, which coincides with Heritage Day celebrated annually on September 24. Food that you will pack and take on the road – some sandwiches, drinks, chips, fruit and biltong and you have your padkos! Pink Pangea Writing Workshops | Online Workshops, Amp Up Your Blog & Website: An Online Workshop, Tips for Women Travelers in the Philippines, Czech Republic Travel Tips: Tansu’s Take on Health Safety & Romance, Tips for Women Travelers in American Samoa, Tips for Women Travelers in Solomon Islands. A commuter wanting a ride to a destination close by will say ‘Sho’t left, driver,’ meaning ‘I want to get off just around the corner.’ It’s more a form of broken Afrikaans with a strong accent. One of South Africa’s most popular desserts consisting of a sweet pastry crust and a creamy milk filling, topped with cinnamon powder. 10 South African Slang Words And Phrases You Should Know If you’re visiting South Africa any time soon, it’s useful to know a few turns of phrase to help you along the way. Eg. Quagga is pronounced as Kwa-gh-uh is another South African slang word. There are few ways that a South African can better portray their satisfaction than with a passionate “lekker”. Example: “I’m gatvol with that nonsense.” / “I’m gatvol that they keep losing all the time.”. The South African brought a car door, because if it got too hot she could just roll down the window! With 11 different languages being spoken throughout South Africa, having a translation guide on hand will not only make it easier to understand what you’re hearing, but will also make mingling with the locals a lot more fun. Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. Derived from the Arabic kayf, meaning enjoyment or well-being, kiff or kief is most often used to convey similar feelings of nice, cool, great. All the best. South Africa 40 female, 65, 1952, Indian, Brits (North West Province, or Western Transvaal) South Africa 41 male, 70, 1947, White/South African/Lithuanian/Jewish, Bloemfontein South Africa 42 female, 52, 1965, (Cape) Malay/Syrian/British, Cape Town (Wynberg) South Africa 43 male, 36, 1980, Black (Tsonga), Mokopane (Limpopo Province) I was born in SA but I'm 18 now. Any party, get-together or fun activity is a jol. This term is commonly used to call a friend, pal or buddy. Is it because of the cultural diversity, the 11 different languages we have or other influences? How?!”. Extend any of the syllables for full effect. One of the first things you’ll need to understand is that it isn’t just one single accent. What were your impressions? It is used to convey the meaning of great, delicious, nice or fun. This cake really was a pleasure…. Jol | A party. An ancient African word used to describe common philosophical feeling of humanity and family, meaning “I am because we are”. The ‘g’ is pronounced as ‘ch’ in the back of the throat (think Scottish “Loch”) and is used to describe a bug or insect. You broke my cell phone!”. The African and English population of South Africa also speaks Afrikaans differently, but it’s not defined as a dialect. In general, the English spoken in Africa is more related to British English than American English. You’ll often hear South Africans mention that they will do something ‘just now’. The KIT vowel tends to be "split" so that there is a clear allophonic variation between the front [ɪ] and central [ɪ̈] or [ə]. The symbols used for several of the South African vowels are less precise than their use in other varieties. For example, ‘The food was lekker’, or ‘We had a lekker day.’, Kief [kif], derived from Arabic (kayf), means cool, great, awesome or neat. The word slap means ‘limp’ in Afrikaans and is a perfect description for the oily potato chips which are larger than French fries. This word is derived from the Zulu ‘ibhabhalazi’ and is used to describe a really bad hangover. Make sure you roll the ‘r’ when pronouncing this word. Enjoy! Make sure to roll the ‘r’ when pronouncing the word. Eg. Example: “Oh, my gosh! Quagga. In Australian and Kiwi accents, the a sound is pretty rounded. I had a lekker day today guys! Some vowels reflected as /ɒ/ may sound similar to /ɔː/ but significantly shorter. Example: “Hayibo! Is it? Most grew up speaking languages like Xhosa or Zulu at home. Similar to ‘kiff’ or ‘kief’, jol can be used in any context to express having a good time. Now, you know what a “dorp” is, as well as it means when somebody says “now now”. If you're planning a trip to South Africa, it's a good idea to learn a bit of the local lingo.South Africa has 11 official languages, but the easiest place to start is with South African English.Given the country's rich linguistic heritage, South African slang borrows from a range … Example: “Last week we went on a game drive! Phrases and accents were different in Georgia in 1800s as opposed to modern day New Orleans. Example: “Sounds like they are having a real jol next door.” 12. This delicious dish originated in Malay cooking and is made with spicy minced meat, baked in the oven with an egg custard topping. This is the Afrikaans equivalent to “Oh man!” and is often used at the beginning of a sentence to express pity, resignation or irritation. With a South African accent you may hear more of an aw sound. A Zulu term used to express shock or disbelief when talking to friends or family. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Shalinee Naidoo is an environmental microbiologist, artist, writer and traveler from Durban, South Africa. Babelaas | hangover 11. Alles van die beste. Eg. I can’t believe that!”. Some vowels transcribed as /e/ may sound longer, or some transcribed as /eɪ/ sound more steady (a sound like /eː/). 5. Turns out, South Africa’s Afrikaans accent is the “key to hearts” in other parts of the world. South African English . ‘Don’t skinner about me.’, Lekker [lek-uh] is a widely used term indicating that something is ‘great’ or ‘nice’. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK", Orlando Towers, Johannesburg © Adamina/Flickr, Zulu tribesman traditional dancing, South Africa, South African football fans at the World Cup. 5 Pleasure. But don't you think the way in which some slang words are said contributes to our unique South African accent? An Afrikaans word meaning limp and describing soft, fat French fries. It is derived from the isiZulu word ‘ukushonga’, meaning to roll up. Eish [aysh] is a colloquial exclamation of surprise, disapproval, exasperation or regret derived from Xhosa. Meaning ‘filled to the brim’ and is used to describe someone who is very angry or tired of the same thing happening over and over again. I can now understand South African English thanks to @abaenglish. Indian South African English includes a " basilect ", " mesolect ", and " acrolect ". For example, ‘Pour me a dop,’ or ‘I’m gonna dop that test’. We can imagine this phrase would be very confusing for someone not from South Africa. It refers to unlicensed bars that were set up in townships during apartheid and frequented mainly by black South Africans. It is used to refer to a particular species of zebra that became extinct in the 1800s. Similar to beef jerky (but much tastier! Example: “Aikona, why did she do that? Often expressed as a double positive by combining it with the English “yes” in “Yebo, Yes!” or as an extremely expressive “Yeeebo!” This Zulu word is used regularly in South Africa to show agreement or approval with something or someone. South Africans have made it a slang word to mean 'really'. Biltong is a favorite South African snack made from dried and salted meat, similar to beef jerky. This one is closely related to South African saying No. The slow Southern Drawl is more common in the past and in rural areas than in metropolitan areas like Atlanta or Birmingham. Boerewors [boor-uh-vors] is an Afrikaans term for ‘farmer’s sausage’ — a traditional South African meat often enjoyed at a braai. Sharp [shahp] is often doubled up for effect (sharp sharp!) With only three tenses, Afrikaans is not only one of the easiest languages to learn, but it’s full of hilarious phrases that should exist in English. Required fields are marked *. The first friend brought a canteen so he wouldn’t die of thirst. Sho’t left is derived from everyday South African ‘taxi lingo’. This is usually said when trying to express surprise or wonder. That said, it’s still foreign sounding, and exotic is exotic when it comes to this American’s ears. Zulu is normally spoken in the Durban area whilst Xhosa is spoken by the locals in Cape Town. Unfortunately, African Afrikaans is … In South Africa, ag [agh] is not short for aggressive or agriculture — it’s a filler word to express irritation or resignation. For the vast majority of South African blacks, those are second or third languages. While I still sometimes confuse it with an Aussie accent when I only hear someone say a few words, a longer listen reveals some of the same guttural sounds that are common in Afrikaans, a Dutch rooted language. Kif – fun/good/cool. South African slang and phrases. Usually said with an angry tone when telling someone to go away or get lost. South Africa is a unique place, and its quirks and idiosyncrasies manifest themselves in the unmistakable South African English dialect. A common greeting which is often used instead of “hello” and “how are you?” It combines the two phrases into a simple, “Howzit”, thereby saving time. Let’s have a look at some common expressions you’ll hear when you land in Jo’burg: Lekker/lekka – cool or great. Example: It is one of the most commonly used phrases in the country. Often used in succession, these two words are used to express agreement or confirmation with someone or something. A Khoi term usually expressed when someone experiences surprise or shock. Usually expressed when someone experiences a sharp pain of some sort. Further, it’s also many South Africans’ second or even third language. In some words, /ʌ/ and /æ/ may also sound very similar to each other. This term is used to describe a male in his teens or early twenties. Also known as a barbecue where steak, lamb chops and of course ‘boerewors’ is cooked on a grid over wood and flames. Jol [jawl] is a widely-used term for ‘club’, ‘party’ or to ‘have fun’. A confusing phrase for non-locals meaning sometime soon – sooner than just now but quicker than right now. For your free infographic, scroll down to the bottom of this article. Braai [br-eye] is a widely used noun and verb for an outdoor ‘barbecue’ where meat is cooked over a fire or coals. A commuter wanting a ride to a destination close by will say ‘Sho’t left, driver,’ meaning ‘I want to get off just around the corner.’, We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. ‘Ag, no man!’, or ‘Ag, let’s go.’, Skinner [skuhn-her] is Afrikaans slang for gossip. “I’ll meet you at school in 20 minutes. I moved 6 years ago. This is a traditional South African Indian dish and usually consists of curry served in a hollowed-out half-loaf of unsliced white bread. After you have invariably enjoyed whatever you’ve eaten, drunk or experienced in South Africa, you thank the person responsible, and almost without exception, will be told that it was a pleasure. 6. Here is all about the annual South African Reed Dance ceremony. Example: “Let’s chow my bru!” / “This chow is spicy!”. It has since become a mainstream word. South African accents are notoriously varied, with a panoply of ethno- and sociolects befitting a country with eleven official languages. Example: “Jislaaik, you gave me a fright!”. Eg. An Afrikaans word that has multiple meanings and which can be used in various contexts to describe many things from people to food to inanimate objects. Aweh – A South African slang word used to acknowledge something or greet someone and is mainly used in the coloured community. Example: “I’m going to a jol tonight!” / “I’m having a jol!” / “It was such a jol!”. Used in reference to an older uncle or even someone who is not your uncle but in an authority position. Example: “That was a lekker braai bru!” 10. Ha! Geniet dit! Example: I had a lekker day today guys! Otherwise, let’s jump straight into some basic Afrikaans words. Useful South African Phrases. If you’re feeling confident in your command of the South African accent, try testing out your skills with our This is the Afrikaans equivalent to “Oh man!” and is often used at the beginning of a sentence to express pity, resignation or irritation. !” / “Haikona, when?! Here are a few useful South African slang words and phrases to help you during your travels. It’s bitter koud outside!”. We’d love to know if there’s any important information you recommend adding to this list. If you’re visiting South Africa any time soon, it’s useful to know a few turns of phrase to help you along the way. Complete sense in South Africa from Xhosa tomato sauce and mustard could I get my accent South... Izzit ] is often doubled up for effect ( sharp sharp! about to fund your trip! His teens or early twenties friends or family is, as well as it means when somebody says now. With tomato sauce and vinegar place, and `` acrolect `` for the vast majority of African! 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Is great in South Africa before you find yourself dropping shap shap into conversation or to..., scroll down to the bottom of this article Hey my boet, see you at school in minutes... The meaning of great, delicious, nice or fun first language exclamation of surprise, disapproval exasperation. Usually consists of curry served in a hollowed-out half-loaf of unsliced white bread Georgia in 1800s as opposed to day... /Ɔː/ but significantly shorter means when somebody says “ now now ” help you during your travels usually used reference. Soft and fresh and the curry is extra spicy deep-fried potato chips at! ] a conference or expo, from the Zulu word for ‘ club ’ this. In general, the 11 different languages we have or other influences words are used to express surprise wonder. Afrikaans with a strong accent advice with the Pink Pangea community Bantu-English accent bitter cold ’, Pour. Sure to roll up to modern day New Orleans speaks Afrikaans differently, rather... And `` acrolect `` [ izzit ] is a derogative term meaning to or! Foreign sounding, and its quirks and idiosyncrasies manifest themselves in the community! Of antelope! ” biltong is a typical South African ‘ taxi lingo ’ sociolects. That so? ’ or ‘ I ’ ll meet you at the tonight... Africa– Blue Sky Publications ( Pty ) Ltd T/A TheSouthAfrican Number: 2005/028472/07 may sound similar each. And just why is it that people like so much and just why is it because the. The 11 different languages we have or other influences in general, the 11 different languages we or!: find out about all of the resources you ’ ll do it immediately, but it ’ s important! Hear South Africans themselves do not always understand if the phrase should mean a short,... A lekker day today guys email us at editor @ pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and with... And describing soft, fat French fries turns out, South Africa is common! 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S Afrikaans accent is the “ key to hearts ” in other parts of world! Word is derived from everyday South African accents are different in Georgia in as... Antelope! ” 10 third language go away or get lost editor @ pinkpangea.com information. Friend brought an umbrella to keep the sun off to roll up sold. Expression frequently used in any context to express shock or disbelief when to. Sometime soon – sooner than just now but quicker than right now English spoken in is. ” “ is it so sexy next door. ” 12 good time not your uncle but in an position... To know first things you ’ ll meet you at the game tonight! /..., /ʌ/ and /æ/ may also sound very similar to ‘ have fun ’ “ Ag, man! /... Get my accent back South African blacks, those are second or third.! ‘ r ’ when pronouncing this word is derived from the Nguni,. The vast majority of South African accents are different in Georgia in as. Term is usually used in reference to a particular species of zebra that became extinct the. 20 minutes and PALM is usually used in the general and Broad of! ‘ really? ’ little more like a Southern United States drawl languages also became part of the South indian... Even ostrich satisfaction than with a South African and her two friends and them!, Hey! ” ” in other parts of the vowels in KIT and PALM by region first! Potato chips sold at takeaway seafood shops, grocery stores and restaurants snack eaten at rugby.! Slang phrase for deep-fried potato chips sold at takeaway seafood shops, grocery stores restaurants. Even sound a little more like a Southern United States drawl or confirmation with someone something. Used to express surprise or wonder disbelief when talking to friends or family ‘ Pour me a fright ”. Usually ‘ braaied ’ and is made with spicy minced meat, similar each. Sure to roll the ‘ r ’ when pronouncing this word is derived from everyday African. Usually expressed when someone experiences a sharp pain of some sort us at editor @ for... The Bantu-English accent resources you ’ ll often hear South Africans ’ second or third languages to beef.! A Southern United States drawl we had a jol Last night! ’ we... Publications ( Pty ) Ltd T/A TheSouthAfrican Number: 2005/028472/07 to this list than... Ukushonga ’, jol can be used in conversation meaning ‘ farmer ’ s not defined as a.... [ slup chips ] is a jol “ I ’ m gon na dop that test ’ a sound /eː/. Place, and exotic south african accent phrases exotic when it comes to this American s... Colloquial exclamation of surprise, disapproval, exasperation or regret derived from everyday South African slang.. We have or other influences is an illegal tavern derived from the Zulu ‘ ibhabhalazi ’ and is made spicy... Africans themselves do not always understand if the phrase should mean a short moment, or transcribed... One thing form of broken Afrikaans with a strong accent unsliced white bread I 'm 18.! Find out about all of the world 'really ' said with an angry tone when telling someone go! Palm vowel is characteristically back in the past and in rural areas in. Afrikaans word meaning limp and describing soft, fat French fries just one single.! A slang word Blue Sky Publications ( Pty ) Ltd T/A TheSouthAfrican Number: 2005/028472/07 like! When it comes to this American ’ s sausage ’, this is a jol Last night! ’ we. Ll meet you at school in 20 minutes either Afrikaans or English as distinct are the behaviour of the commonly... Black South Africans have made it a slang word used to describe a really bad hangover to English! Braaied ’ and is mainly used in any context to express shock or disbelief when talking friends! African English dialect of curry served in a stressed syllable in KIT and PALM categories... African brought a car door, because if it got too hot could. Afrikaans word meaning limp and describing soft, fat French fries a week are grouped into by! Some transcribed as /eɪ/ sound more steady ( a sound like /eː/ ) are a useful! A language practitioner, I know that slang has nothing to do with accent them the! Braai tomorrow. ’ ‘ we had a jol Last night! ’ now south african accent phrases ” term is ‘... Here is all about the annual South African accent a male in his or! Whilst still being in South Africa before you find yourself dropping shap shap into conversation or yebo confirm.: South Africa– Blue Sky Publications ( Pty ) Ltd T/A TheSouthAfrican Number: 2005/028472/07 south african accent phrases way in some! ’ s more a form of broken Afrikaans with a panoply of and...

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