My home country made it into the Oxford dictionary, at least some commonly used words did! It is a well known fact that languages evolve and English is no exception. People use language to communicate and sometimes new meanings are attached to old words, pronunciation changes, new words develop and this keeps a language from becoming stagnant.
I am going to write about a couple of words that were added to the dictionary at the end of last year, these all originated from my homeland.
The South Africans are friendly people and we always greet each other in a very friendly manner. We love talking but sometimes are a bit lazy, so we will use the word «howzit». Short and efficient, this word says «hello, how are things going with you?» all in one, the other person would respond with their own «howzit» and we would know exactly how he/she is by the tone of their voice.
We are a food loving people, we particularly love bread, and every South African will know exactly what you are eating if you say that you are having a «sarmie». It is pronounced like [sa: mi], the «r» sometimes present but mostly not. So, what do you think this delicious treat could be? If you said a sandwich, you would be absolutely correct! We love bread and we love making great sandwiches... It was only a matter of time before this little treat known across the world, would get the S. A. treatment!
«Ja well no fine»... Let me explain! Such a strange expression, the way it is pronounced is almost one word («Ja» will sound almost exactly the the Russian «Я») and can replace quite a few English words. It is a very resigned reaction to a story someone tells you, or a reaction to a situation. Typical English words you could use in this situation would be «whatever», «that’s life», «alright» or «whatever you say».
I have said before that we are a country which produces great wines, some of the best in the world. In my travels I have only encountered a few places who could hold a candle to our wine makers in South Africa. We started using the expression «Wine of Origin» or «W. O.». This simply means that the wine is guaranteed to be from a specific vintage or grape variety and that it came from a specific region or estate in the country.
I think this is where I will leave it for now, folks. There are some more uniquely South African words, maybe in a future article I will chat about them.
Have a great week!
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