As the other members of the first world, we give Americans a kak load of flak for the kind of presidents they’ve put in office in the past, the flaws of their justice system (cough cough, Trayvon Martin’s murder, cough…), their accents which we find annoying, their obsession for reality shows, and much more.
We especially crack down on them for how their English is so different from ours. The absence of some letters in their spelling, the weird words and portmanteau words they create, the absence of letters in their speech and a lot of other stuff.
Word differences (Americans say – South Africans say)
- Traffic lights – Robots
Trashcan – Rubbish bin
Pick-up truck – Bakkie
Sausage – Wors (pronounced vorrz)
Minivan – Taxi
Taxi – Cab/Taxi [yes, indeed confusing]
Recess – Break
Plastic bag – Checkers
Chewing gum – Chappies
Converse shoes/Chuck Taylors – All Stars
Big spenders – Skhotanes (pronounced skoh-tah-nehs)
Right? – Neh?
Geez/damn – Tjerr/Jislaaik
Ghetto/hood – Township/loxion (pronounced lock-shin)
Stroller – pram [maybe it's the other way around, not sure...]
Shopping cart – Trolley
Bourgeois (bougie) – BEE (Black and Economically Empowered)
Posh – Model-C
Oreo – Coconut [referring to middle and upper class black people who behave like Europeans, or all 'uppity' as some people say]
White-out – Tippex [I've gone to - respectively - one American school, two international schools, two British schools, one Canadian school, and three South African schools, so having to switch between asking for 'white-out' or 'tippex' has become a skill]
Barbeque/cue – Braai
Right now – Now now
Later – Just now
Hangover – Babbelas
Bro (as in ‘cool story bro’) – Boet/Bru
Soda – Cooldrink
Do-rag – Doek (pronounced dook like ‘book)
Pacifier – Dummy
Nana/granny/gran – Gogo
Sharpie pen – Koki pen
Idiot – Mampara
Badonkadonk – Pakistan [this is township slang, and it has managed to elude me...]
Sandwich – Sarmie
Alright/See ya – Sharp
Pub/Tavern – Shebeen
Sneakers – Takkies
Thug – Tsotsi
Cookie – Biscuit
KFC – Kentucky [especially in Venda, where there are about 3 outlets in a 4 square kilometre area]
How we spell and pronounce our stuff (The American way vs The SA/rest of the world way)
- Aluminum vs. Aluminium
Sulfur vs. Sulphur
And here is a little segment of the post that I like call ‘Where the f… is the “u”?’. You Americans love to leave the ‘u’ out of some words, though. For me and millions of others, this really causes a problem, pronounciation wise. If there’s no ‘u’ in there, how is it supposed to sound? To me, glamor is said like glah-more, not glah-mur.
- Favorite vs. Favourite
Color vs. Colour (this one boils my blood!)
Neighbor vs. Neighbour
Route. Americans say ‘raowt’, and the rest of the world say ‘root’. This applies to the word ‘router’ as well.
Vitamin. Americans say ‘vy-ta-min’ and the rest of us say ‘vit-ah-min’. Goodness gracious, why do they think they’re so special that they can deviate from world standard?
Geyser. ‘guy-zerr’ for ‘em and ‘geezer’ for us Safricans.
Not only does the word have different pronounciations in the US and SA, but also different meanings.
- US – a hot spring of water that occasionally just shoots out of the earth
SA – a huge cylinder of awesomeness that we install in our homes to heat up the water
Other things that separate us besides our accents…
Americans shower a lot of ‘likes’ in their sentences.
- “Yeah, like, oh my God, like totally!” – the words of many American teenagers
South Africans are all about the heys.
- “Shit hey bru!”
“I love you, yeah I really love you hey!” – got told this by my boyfriend, as if adding ‘hey’ was gonna seal the deal.
The idea of ‘coloured people’ in the US and ‘coloured people’ in South Africa are not necessarily the same.
In America, coloured people are black, just black. As far as I know.
In South Africa, coloureds are people of Cape Malay origin, some of who are descendants of the Khoisan people, and other are Javanese (of Indonesia). They are basically of incredibly mixed descent.
Oh, and you Americans can insert ‘r’s anywhere and no one gets bothered. When we South Africans with our African/White English/Afrikaner accents come, bearing virtually unheard ‘r’s, you cannot understand what we say. Wawterrr…wawtur… come on, I know the pronounciations are worlds apart, but that shouldn’t be a thing.
On a serious note to end off here…
Americans, please stop touching down in our country and showing off your accent, to let people know you’re not from here. Or even proclaim that you’re so happy to be in the motherland.
Motherland. For real, I’m starting to dislike that word. You do know there is the rest of the African continent above us, right?
The American accent, when overdrawn and thrown around, has not been known to make the panties of smart and savvy ladies drop. We just smirk at it.
That’s all. Goodnight Southern hemisphere folks, and good afternoon to the Northerners.
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