It’s Friday and time for a bit more forrin! I’ve been having fun gathering ideas from friends and thinking of new things that we Saffas say funny, and things that I hear here that make me laugh, frown, or nod in ignorant bliss!
My husband saw a status update on his Facebook page this morning from a university colleague. It said, “… is feeling so baffed!” We have yet to discover whether this is a good or a bad thing, but where I come from, that word is more likely to be used like this: “Have you just baffed?” you might ask a family member (usually male), usually with your nose crinkled, waving your hand back and forth in front of your nose.
As soon as I know the meaning of the word in the UK, I’ll let you know. I must say, we both looked at each other and laughed when we saw that this morning. Then I said to my husband, “Have you just ….?” (Not really!)
So here goes:
- Chuffed: I think this is common to SA and the UK, but I’m not so sure my friends across the pond know this word – it means pleased, self-satisfied. “I am really chuffed that you are reading my blog.”
- Round the houses: this is something I’ve heard quite often here. It means to take a circuitous route, to take a while to get to the point. A bit like my blog.
- Mine/yours: here, you might receive an invitation like this: “Would you like to come round to mine for coffee, or would you rather I came to yours?” I am used to saying “my place” or “my house”, so this takes a bit of getting used to.
- It does what it says on the tin: I heard this often at my temporary job earlier this year, and also on the news here. It means “say what you mean” and “as simply as possible”.
- Yobbo: I realise I’ve used this word quite often in my blogs, and again, I’m not sure that my US and Canadian friends are familiar with the word. It is in common use in the UK, and quite a bit in SA, and, according to Wikipedia (who knows EVERYTHING!) it means “uncouth or thuggish working-class person”. Apparently it is derived from the back slang of the word “boy” = “yob”. Now I didn’t know that part either!
- For crying in a bucket: This is something my mom says regularly, and I just love it! (And her.) It means, “Oh, for goodness sake.” Or “Good grief!”
- Oh my sack: an SA version of OMG, or Oh my word! Don’t ask me its origins, I don’t want to know!
- Larney: this SA word means posh, smart, rich. Depending on where you come from in SA, and your accent, it might also be laahney.
- Make a plan: this is a fabulously SA expression. I don’t know if it reflects the SA laid-back way of life (read: slackness) but it means, “I’d love you to come and have a meal with us some time. But I have no idea when we will do that. But it will happen. Some time. Just don’t hold your breath.” An example of this would be two people bumping into each other at the shopping mall (or, as some people in SA say, two people who got each other by the mall) and, after exchanging small talk, one saying, “Lovely to see you. We must get together soon. Let’s have a braai!” (pronounced bry and it means barbecue) And the other will say, “Ja, that sounds good. Let’s make a plan.” And that, usually, is that.
- Make a turn/pull in: this is very SA, and not everyone uses these expressions, especially not those who are larney. For example: “Where you going now?”
“No, man, I’m just on my way home.”
“Why don’t you make a turn/pull in by us?” (that means come and visit us on your way).
- By us: this means at our home, at our place. Or, if you’re British, ours.
- Now/now now/just now: this is Saffa at its enigmatic best. These words can be used interchangeably; all of them mean “now” but “now” can mean ANY time, like: this very minute, in five minutes time, tomorrow, next week, or it could even mean five minutes ago. I’m now there is something my sons say, which means “I’m on my way.”
Saffas also say no when they mean yes. If you ask a Saffa how he is, he might reply: “No, I’m fine thanks. Can’t complain.” Or you might say, “So, will you be able to do that, do you think?” and the reply might be, “No, that should be fine. No problem. I can’t see why not.”
A few months ago we were invited to have lunch with some friends of ours from church. They had other guests there that day, and one young woman was particularly fascinated by our accents. She had known other Saffas and she giggled when she heard us say certain words. After lunch our host offered us coffee and asked if we had our coffee black or white. We both responded, “White,” which to other ears probably sounds like whart. Our new young friend couldn’t contain herself, and asked me if I would say that into her phone so she could record it and send it to her friend. I had to say, “Would you like your coffee black or white.” and I overdid the accent. She duly sent it off, and was well chuffed with herself!
I could well have said to her, as my mom says, “I’m not a performing flea.” But being an obliging Saffa, I said to her, “Sure, no problem. I can’t see why not.” You see, we Saffas always make a plan.
Sunshine signing off for the weekend! See you next week, friends!