I’ll be there now now

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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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”.
  5. 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!
  6. 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!”
  7. Oh my sack: an SA version of OMG, or Oh my word! Don’t ask me its origins, I don’t want to know!
  8. Larney: this SA word means posh, smart, rich. Depending on where you come from in SA, and your accent, it might also be laahney.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. By us: this means at our home, at our place. Or, if you’re British, ours.
  12. 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!


17 thoughts on “I’ll be there now now

  1. Hi Sunshine:
    The Canadian version of #5 is “yahoo.” For #6, we say “For crying out loud!”

    Your lessons in “furrin” are always educational and fun!


      1. I agree. This is a great feature!

        We say “yahoo” in the South, too, but my father-in-law, who’s from North Dakota, likes “buckshot.” For example, “I was driving home, and this buckshot cut me off.” (I don’t know how universal that phrase is, but it means to change lanes abruptly, forcing you to brake or at least slow down a little.)

        Also, “idjit,” which is pronounced “ih-jit” and means “idiot” and is an insult that is usually used by itself and rarely in a complete sentence. For example, if someone does something really dumb, you’d mutter, “Idjit.”

      2. Thank you, Todd! Much appreciated.
        I love “yahoo”, and “buckshot” is a hoot! The Irish version of “idjit” is “eejit” and it’s a fabulous word to use! Don’t you love it? Thanks for the contributions!

  2. Always a good read. Normally from my phone with my morning coffee.
    Prehaps “I’m baffed” means I’m exhausted. Kinda equivalent to poop tired and exhausted. Just a thought.
    Have a fab weekend x

  3. My brother (who has been living in Europe for many years and is a “Language Professional”) is always very amused when he comes out to South Africa for a visit. He speaks a more British English now, although he quickly picks up our accent if he’s out here for a while.

    He’s commented on how South Africans often start their sentences with “Basically, . . .” (with the syllables drawn out) or “Anyway, . . . “

  4. “Oh my sack!” That’s great, and so much better than OMG, which I heartily detest.

    This is such a cool regular feature, Sunshine. It’s a great window into the Saffa vernacular. I love it. If you’re feeling chuffed, you sould be!

    1. Thank you so much! It’s a fun feature to write – and I’m glad it’s fun to read!
      Comments from such a brilliant writer as you mean loads to me – thank you!
      Sunshine xx

  5. Fun post! Reading this I was reminded of a major faux pas I made while visiting a friend in New Zealand. We were at dinner with a huge group of people from the world of Christian Music: artists, producers, musicians (the company is important for context).

    My first mistake was asking for “ice-water.” The whole table turned to look at me. I guess that’s an American thing or it was back then. No biggie.

    It was my second mistake that left the crowd stunned in silence for far too long. Someone asked me how I enjoyed my trek around Auckland and asked if I’d kept my passport close, because I practically had a flashing neon “American” sign on my head, which apparently made me a target for pick-pockets and such. I told them that I kept it in a “fanny pack.” My best friend kicked me under the table and whispered in my ear that “fanny” is a crude euphemism for vagina in New Zealand.


    And in such wonderful Christian company too. 🙂

    Later, in reference to my stellar performance at dinner, my friend told me I was a “dag.” The insult didn’t translate. She informed me it’s the poo stuck to a sheep’s rear end. Lovely. Also perfect.


    1. Thanks for the visit to my blog! These are hilarious – it’s so weird talking forrin when our common language is English! Thanks so much for sharing – I need to find an excuse to use those words soon!
      Sunshine xx

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