One of the things I find incredibly interesting about South Africa is that they have 12 official languages and many other languages that are spoken. I only speak one of the official languages, which is English. However, it is still interesting that I can have a conversation with someone in english and still be confused about what they are saying. For a funny example check out Trevor Noah’s video about English vs. American. I am adding to some of the items on his list. Some of the differences I have collected and eventually started using without thinking about it are listed below. Enjoy.
jorl= party/ to have fun
oke= male, dude
just now= sometime in the future
now now= in a minute, now
robots= traffic lights
shops= grocery store
gymming= going to the gym
biltong= beef jerky (South Africans claim theirs is better)
bru= friend, pal
chow= lets eat
hoezit- how is it?
toastie= grilled sandwich
chips= french fries
shame= sympathy or admiration
eish= colloquial exclamation of surprise, disapproval, exasperation or regret
sharp= good-bye (pronounced shap)
boerewors= ‘farmers sausage’ in Afrikaans, popular for SA braai.
There are others but these are the ones that I can currently remember. Pronunciations are also different as well. I’ll leave those up to your imagination. If I had to foresee what it would be like to go home, to one language for the most part, where I can understand everyones conversations, it will be very strange. All the languages and different cultures seem to add so many other layers. However, I do believe when I return home I will see other layers and many differences that will be strange, but things I have never notices before.
Other observations are that many traffic rules mean suggestions, such as, yellow means speed up to make sure you go, red means that two more cars can go before the other directions light goes green and stop signs are more like yields. The cars here are also manuals, and I can only drive an automatic. All these differences are not out of the ordinary but just interesting still how things are similar but not the same.