Purveyors of Fine Biltong

As we traveled through South Africa, we came across a handful of vocabulary terms, pronunciations and meanings unique to the country. Here they are for your viewing pleasure, and as an excuse for our potentially altered speech upon return!

  • 2010: How South Africans refer to this year’s World Cup (that’s soccer, the real football) which will be hosted by said country.
  • Aach: An expression of exasperation, similar to, “hrmph”
  • Alien: South African for invasive species. It takes awhile to get used to hearing about alien removal, though… District 9 comes to mind.
  • Aubergine: Eggplant
  • Biltong: Jerky, often made from game meats rather than beef. There are biltong stands everywhere, a very popular snack.
  • Chips: Refers to both potato chips and French fries. Figure that one out.
  • Courgette: Zucchini
  • Earbud: Q-tips; our hosts were very much amused to hear about our use of the term.
  • Hooter: A horn or alarm. At Table Mountain we were warned that the hooter would sound if dangerous weather conditions existed.
  • Hyrax: The closest living relative to the elephant, this furry groundhog-like creature lives in the rocky areas of the Cape.
  • Ja: Pronounced, “Yaaawwww,” this expression is used similarly to, “yeah”, “uh-huh”, and “uhhhh”.
  • Jacket potato: Baked potato
  • Kloof: Cliff
  • Pickle: Fresh cucumber, or pickled… clear as mud.
  • Pleasure: Rather than, “you’re welcome” or, “it’s my pleasure”, many South Africans simply say, “pleasure”.
  • Robot: A traffic light
  • Still water: What you must request if you don’t want carbonated mineral water
  • To let: Meaning, “to lease”. Often mistaken for the following term when seen along the highway.
  • Toilet: Restroom
  • Waitron: Synonymous with waiter. Kate enjoyed employing this term as much as possible.
  • Y’ello: Hello, often inscribed on 2010 banners at airports.
  • Zehbra: After all this time, we discovered that we had been pronouncing, “zeebra” incorrectly.
  • 2010

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