Saturday, 14 April 2012
This is a funny email my Mom sent me.
How do you explain South African words to an Australian? (Or to anyone Else, for that matter). It's not only a foreign word, it's a foreign Concept.
Perhaps the English never do anything "just sommer". Although there's no Australian equivalent either, they take to the idea of it.
"Why are you laughing? Just sommer."
"Bakkie" is another one of those useful "portmanteau" words. It's a car or pick-up truck, also used for what they call "utes" in OZ, and very useful to describe all shapes and sizes of containers around the house.
We all know "voetstoots" of course. There's no concise, one-word equivalent in English. "As is" just doesn't hack it.
There's no good English word for "dwaal". It doesn't mean dream, or Daze. It's close to absent-mindedness, but that's not quite it.
I think "gogga" is the most delightful word for insect I've ever heard. "Insect" just doesn't stand a chance.
And then there's "gatvol". "Fed up" doesn't have half the impact. It's like Blancmange in comparison. "Gatvol" is a word used more frequently than ever in the workplace these days, with increasing intensity.
While we're on the subject, another phrase which outstrips any English attempt is "Hy sal sy gat sien", or "He'll see his arse". "He'll get his come-uppance" is like milque toast in comparison. It definitely lacks the relish.
"Donder" is another very useful word, used as an all-purpose swearword, used as a verb, it can express any degree of roughing up. As a noun, it is a pejorative, as they politely say in dictionaries, to mean whatever you want it to mean. Lets be honest, there's no good translation for "Skop-Skiet-en-Donder" either.
It says something about the English that they have no word for "jol" or "Going out on the town, kicking up your heels, enjoying yourself..."
I've yet to meet a South African over the age of two who doesn't use the word "muti". Between "muti" and the pedantic "medication", there's simply no contest.
And of course, my personal favourite "Kak en betaal" , which just says it all, doesn't it?
A bland and effete English translation would be "Cough and pay", or "Breathe and pay".
But it just doesn't cut it, does it? Not by a long drop.
POST SCRIPT These are wonderful.
Other words that come to mind: jou bliksem, wag 'n bietjie, nie so haastig nie, just now, sakkie-sakkie music ou swaer, Ya, nee How are you?
No, I'm fine thanks?
How do you explain the passion of "LEKKER!"? Wow last night was a "lekker jol"
Dudu or doeks. Telling your infant to go to bed is just not the same as:"Go dudu now my baby!"
HOW MANY OTHERS ARE THERE? Add some and send on.
How about 'bliksem" - I'm going to bliksem you or ek gaan jou donder! Both wonderful
Afrikaans expressions with nothing to compare in the English language, at least nothing that gives the same satisfaction.
Trapsuutjies………..the way certain maids and others work. .
Slowcoach just doesn't do it, hey
So first - Mielies!
Pap - there is no word like pap, here... they have porridge, and when they say porridge, they mean oats.
There's no Maltabela, no Tasty Wheat, No Creemy Meal... In other words, there's no pap!
Mislik - such a 'lekker' word, and one that my kids are familiar with. 'Why are you so mislik, you little skelm?
Do you want a snot-klap?'
Which brings us to skelm - here you just get 'baddies', but that doesn't have the same sneaky connotation of a proper skelm, does it?!
And snot-klap... fabulous word! How would you say that in English? 'I'll slap you so hard the snot will fly?' Yuk!
Just not the same.
Loskop is another favourite.
The English just don't understand when I say 'Sorry, I forgot - I'm such a loskop!' ha ha