#OnlyInSA: Language unique to South Africa

#OnlyInSA: Language unique to South Africa

South Africans are a very special breed. Our heritage is very rich and diverse; especially the way we speak. 


Many people may not be aware of this, but over and above our beautiful 11 official languages, we, South Africans, also speak 'South African' - a colloquial language that only South Africans understand. 

This heritage month, we have taken the time to honour our South African lingo by putting together a number of words and phrases that are only used within our boarders.

1. Just now/now now

We don't mind the redundancy in "now now" - we know it's there. This is just our way of emphasizing that something will happen or we will arrive, without a time attached to it to avoid falling into the trap of 'African time'.

2. Robot

When the rest of the world went right, we went left. While the word 'robot' has one definition in other countries,  in SA it has two. Telling us about a traffic light will confuse most of us, because where is the traffic? It's a robot in these streets... don't ask if it's robotic. 

3. Shame

Part of our heritage, where language is concerned, is taking a word that already exists and has a definition and giving it one more definition or maybe two - for the fun of it. While "shame' can be used to show sadness or negativity, in SA, saying "ag shame/ shame man" is used to express sympathy or as a term of endearment.

"Ag shame, the rest of the world doesn't understand us".

5. Shot bru

We admit it, we understand how this phrase can be very confusing. But if you’re South African, “shot” is pretty much a hybrid between “thank you” and “it’s all good”.

6. Howzit

This one basically means "how is it going?" but that's too long... ain't nobody got time for that. And besides, "howzit" just rolls of the tongue. 

7. Eish

This one is a favourite and is used by pretty much every language speaker in SA. While Americans may say "jeez" when startled, we say "eish" - it can also express excitement, disbelief or anger.

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