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Hi Tertia! I didn't have anything to say, I just wanted to be the first commenter!!
You rock baby yeah! Lol

I think it is so cool that your children will be exposed to a language like Xhosa. It sounds like that wouldn't have been an option for them just a short time ago. How lucky they will be to have such opportunities.

Language is so powerful. My family was pressured into dropping their native language when they came to America, and it's too bad that none of my family can understand or speak the language of our ancestors. Language is such a powerful tool of connection among people, whether people of our own culture [like our ancestors] or people with whom we share our community [like Xhosa will probably be for the babes.]

Very interesting, thanks for sharing! :)

Now that you have your cool new link, perhaps you could say a few of the words that I can only "think" I know how to say - what do you think? Like Xhosa, and some of the Afrikaans words. And Afrikaans for that matter. I've heard lots of these said over the years, but not recently, so it would be cool, oops I mean lekker.

Understanding, of course that your accent may suck.

And, if gatvol = butt/hole full, does that mean that gat = asshole?

Because I may need to use that, and that's all I'll say.

Absolutely fascinating! You were even a topic of conversation last night in my hottub (just conversation, you pervs). My dh knew someone from South Africa, apparently of the English version, but he knows way more about your culture than I do because of it. So we had a nice chat about it. I'm really happy to see this post this morning, almost a summary of what we talked about, only much more enlightening than ours. :)

Thank you, Tertia! You have explained the Penelope Keith thing nicely. ::g:: Who says you can't learn anything useful from the internet, eh?

"Daar is niks verkeed met die Afrikaaners, hulle kan vol kak wees, maar daar is een ding wat hulle goed kan doen – hulle kan lekker vry" - then it's all good!

I GOT IT!!! Thank God for GErman. You'll also be happy to know I've been saying LEKKER since 1989, was an exchange student in Germany and my friend in the Netherlands, she taught me it's all-encompassing. We'd use it for denouncing HOT chaps in he clubs but sadly, the word in German is "lecker", so it was hardly as secret as we thought it was. Daft teens.

I met ONLY fucked up Afrikaaners on the kibbutz, and can't wait to meet normal ones. They would insist upon speaking Afrikaans with EVERYONE at first. I ask you. Usiong Afrikaans in a kibbutz in Israel, that will work. They were also rude and vulgar, and were drunk by 3pm. They went on and on abt the "Blacks", how we were all against the Apartheid without really "understanding the problem".

Am all for meeting normal, polite, lovely Afrikaaners, yes. Vol kak

My husband is Flemish (which is a person from the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, as opposed to the French speaking part). His family lived in the Netherlands for most of his life, so he speaks Dutch and Flemish (Flemish is just Dutch with a few funny words and a very different accent).

My in-laws went to SA to visit and they said they had to restrain themselves from laughing at Afrikaans, because it sounded to them like "baby Dutch". I didn't get all the jokes, because my Dutch stinks, but they were saying something like that in Dutch, you use one expression to mean "get out of a bus", whereas in Afrikaans, you LITERALLY say "climb out of the bus" in a way that, to them, sounded like climbing out of the windows or the top of the bus.

Somethings must be the same, though, because my relatives use lekker all the time to mean "tasty, yummy", "pleasing to the senses", "comfortable", "cool/hip", "relaxing", "beautiful"..... I guess like
Americans use "nice".

Very cool post, to get a glimpse of culture over there.

(and I understood your last sentence, BTW) :)

Thanks for an interesting post Tertia!

I live in Australia, but I have Dutch heritage. My g'parents came from the Netherlands to Aus in the 1950s as many european migrants did in that era, so my childhood included learning a lot of dutch.

My Australian friends look at me strangely when I say something is lekker.

in elk geval, goodnight moeder, hoop ik u goed slaapt

Very interesting post. FYI, we have rednecks in the U.S., but the term is usually used in a negative way.

thanks, tertia! this is great, i love reading about your culture and the cultures of south africa. and by the way, i think you have the poshest-ever voice. your accent is divine. hearing you speak has leant a whole new dimension to reading your writing.

Fascinating post... I have two dear SA friends, and love to hear them speak.

I'm surprised at how much of the Afrikaans I understood. I speak Danish and a good bit of German and most of the words you wrote, while spelled differently, are very similar. I.did.not.know.that.

Thanks for explaining your country's culture a little bit to us. Very interesting.

Interesting to see Afrikaans. I am of Dutch descent (first generation). Lekker is indeed a beautiful word! So I was wondering -- in Afrikaans do you also use the wonderful Dutch word "gezellig". No English translation gets the meaning right, but it means something like cozy, happy, especially as related to a gathering of friends. as in "it's so nice to be sitting here having a glass of wine with you all. How gezellig!"

It is interesting that you say there is no stereotype or "typical" English speaker profile. Often we do not think there are stereotypes of what is the "norm" to us. This is especially true if we are the "majority" culture (I am not sure English speakers are the majority culture there, but they may be in the sense of you and other English speakers viewing yourselves as the norm). It is rare that any culture or ethnicity would escape being stereotyped by those of other cultures or ethnicities. Even if you do not view English speakers as a culture, it is clear from your post that they are an identifiable group.

As an example, I never realized that there was a stereotype of being white here in the U.S. until I started doing anti-bias/prejudice work and heard black people in my groups describe stereotypes of us.

It would be interesting to ask Marko, maybe there is a stereotype of English speakers that he learned growing up.

Your father in law, being from an earlier generation might also know of stereotypes. You suggested this might be the case when he refers to you (and other English speakers) as "rednecks." I bet there are other stereotypes associated with that.

Interesting post. Thanks.

My Belgian father always thought it was "lekker," that my ex-SA-born and raised (German nationality, though) boyfriend could understand his Flemish. I haven't thought about this stuff in years. Thanks for the brush-up. I'm babysitting ex's kids for 3 weeks in August. (I'm sick, I tell 'ya) it should be fun to try out some of the old vocabulary with them. BTW, I hear your clinic has a good DE program? I might be in SA sooner than later...

I loved hearing you speak. I was thinking it would be really neat to hear your husband speak Afrikaans, I love hearing the sounds of different languages.
Thanks for writing your blog and providing me with daily entertainment.

well I could aswell write my comments in Dutch as half of your readers seem to understand it! Too funny this.. En Marieke, mooie naam zo heet ik ook!

Mijk (who thinks this is quite gezellig!)

That was really fascinatining!

I second the suggestion of having Marko speak Africaans, I would love to hear how it sounds!

Here in the US, the term "redneck" refers to people who tend to have what some would consider "backwards," non-cosmopolitan points of view--or conservative anyway. Tends to be derogatory, as someone else mentioned. What I thought was interesting is that rednecks might ALSO be more likely to be "meat and potatoes" eaters who overcook their veggies, etc., at least compared to the more urban, cosmopolitan folk who are open to all kinds of ethnic food etc (though they may STILL like their meat and potatoes). Anyway, I just thought it was funny that the redneck term is used to describe almost the opposite stereotype here! (And here the name comes more from the fact that traditionally, rednecks were farmers or others making their living outdoors, gettin sunburned in the same spot!)

You might want to google Jeff Foxworthy and "you might be a redneck if"--a series of statements that describe the stereotype pretty well.

First, let me say that I lurrrv your discussions on South African culture!

I'm with Malone. When you wrote that there really wasn't an "English" stereotype, I thought..."Perhaps not to you." But if you ask a few other types of people, there probably are a few, in their personal opinions.

Since I'm originally from the Midwest (Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.) I'm used to the idea that white people from Columbus are "normal" and all the rest of the white people in the United States are "ethnic" or "regional," ie: New Yawkwrs, Texans, Southerners, etc. After all, "our" plain, flat Ohio accent used to be considered THE accent to have if you were a U.S. news broadcaster, or you were being taught to speak U.S. English as a second language. But quite frankly, if you watch a lot of American movies-- and you're looking for it-- you'll notice that when screenwriters want to characterize a white person as plain, guileless, not cool, a bit hickish-- but not a "red neck," they'll say that person is from Ohio--- so there really IS a sterotype. (As boring as white bread.)

Now, somehow that same Ohio sterotype doesn't work for us African Americans from Ohio. In my opinion, Halle Berry is a "typical" Black Ohio girl, but we African American's are so stereotyped as "all one thing," that people totally ignore all the regional, cultural and socio-economic differences among us. We can be from 10 generations of Texans,(the term cow "boy," originally referred to Blacks, don't cha know) and people will expect us to speak and act like New York hoodlums from off of a television show.

I swear.....If one more person asks me what country I'm from, just because they are surprised to see that I'm Black and speak Standard American English, I'm gonna go all "Ghetto" on them and slap somebody. (Smile.)


Hey Faith, but only after you call them "beyotches" and do the head/neck thing right? ;)

I really must study...

It's so interesting to learn from your posts, Tertia -- and how times change! My grandfather was from Belfast, SA (and was in a British concentration camp as a toddler during the Boer War -- with his Irish-born mom -- history is crazy). When he was growing up, Afrikaans (his native language) was deemed to be a dialect and looked down upon as not being a "real" language. It wasn't recognized officially. What a switch over 100 years to it being required in school!

Unfortunately, I know less than five words of Afrikaans, since my dad grew up in the US from age 2, speaking English. Back in the '40s and '50s, it was all about assimilation, not the preservation of culture.

Hi Tertia,

I would love to know more about your name. I think it is beautiful. Is it a common name in SA?

I have never heard it until I was reading 'Alice in Wonderland' the other night. Tertia is character in the opening poem. But, I'm sure you know that. Are you named from the book?

Just curious.

Emily, I was wondering the same thing, in regards to Alice in Wonderland. Tertia is a lekker name..:-)

Thank you for the post Tertia. My stepchildren are considered English South Africans (they live in Joburg), so I know more about their side of it.

I worked with a few Afkricaaners in Nigeria and unfortunately my experience was not so positive - they were self-professed racists and generally very difficult to get along with (although I think a lot of it had to do with translation of their language into English - at times they said things that came out different than intended), so I appreciate your point of view and information as a way to round out my thoughts on their culture.

The kids are learning some Africaans in school, but I'm not sure about the other languages.

Do you know any Zulu? Is it popular in your area?

Sorry, I cannot spell today. :(

Fascinating discussion! Thank you so much for sharing this.

My father is South African, English South African, and in the USA, when we were growing up and had relatives come from SA, it was always so confusing for my friends when we would describe relatives as Afrikaaners or British South Africans. In my family in SA, there are many from both groups. I just listened to your voice and I'm sure it sounds weird, but hearing that accent feels to me like "home". We had some many relatives from SA, when I was a child, stay with us for long periods (because of the strength of the Rand at the time) that it is an "accent" that I just know so well and love it when I get the chance to hear it on the street or the tv. Thanks for the great post.

Very interesting! I love your culture posts.

I haven't even had time to read through all the comments, but being from deep East Texas, we are the redneck capital of the US, I believe. It is not a positive image here (at least not to me)...here in TX, rednecks are seen as extremely biased, even prejudicial people, uneducated, rifle toting, toothless, inbred, uneducated...lots of different descriptors associated with the term, and most are not even close to the actual character of the person being labeled as such.

An interesting discussion - thanks for bringing it up!

Gee, amazing how it all comes back! It's been almost thirty years since I heard any Afrikaans yet I could get the gist of that little spiel. :)

I got to do a trip to Tanzania last year, which, yes, I totally realise is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT COUNTRY and that the continent of Africa is a bloody big place, but this is making me "homesick" for it. I love learning about foreign cultures and especially what you can pick up about them from their languages. Unfortunately, my trip was only 8 days and I spent much of that in complete cultureshock. So strange to be identified as a tourist merely by the colour of my skin, to be surrounded by a language I've never heard before, to see real poverty, to see the amazing beauty of the African sun and see so many non-human living things in one place. It boggles my mind hearing your descriptions of SA and of an existence that seems to combine what I could previoulsy only process as two totally separate worlds. I'd love to see SA some day.
How does Marko feel about the babes learning Afikaans? I get awfully sentimental about language myself.

"they will put separate words together to make one word to describe something."

That sometimes happens in Scots too. In the Borders, where I'm from, a conservatory
is a "sitooterie" because you sit oot in it! I've always loved that.

its amazing that even on another continent, people still call other people "red neck."

T, you must have read my mind. I was thinking of asking you for a post like this, on Afrikaans vs. English, as it has always intrigued me [providing, of course, you had time/energy/etc].
Thanks for the brain-poking post! I think you're becoming my Favourite Internet Person ;)

Thanks for that post Tertia. I have 6 friends from SA, one Zulu and 5 Afrikaans but I've never met an English South Afrian. The thing I found stragest is when they introduced themselves they said they were Greek Afrikaans, Portuguese Afrikaans and French Aftikaans to show their heritage. Is that usual over there or are my friends just weird?

It's also good to know that Afrikaans is easy to learn, when we eventually have a child we plan on teaching them (and us) Afrikaans before spending a year or two living in Pretoria. I love my friends there and the country is soo beautiful we really want our child to experience it for themselves. I'd like to think we'd continue to move back and fowards for a few years but my Afrikaans friends keep telling me that education is poor there. I disagree as they are all very intelligent well educated people, but what do you think about it all?


Unlike other people's expectations, you sound exactly like I thought that you would (but then again, I do have a very very good friend from Cape Town who is english).

Great post explaining some of the differences.

Thanks for the very interesting descriptions of like in SA. I knew a few people form SA while I was growing up riding horses and they were a bit on the snobby side but I figured that had more to do with the whole horsy rich thing vs. anything else. More recently I’ve met a few SA surfers and they’ve generally been a nice enough lot, in many ways they reminded me of many Auzzies I know, but then again that had more to do with the whole surf culture vs. any thing else.

What really struck me in your post were your descriptions of a new/younger/more inclusive/blended South African culture that seems to be emerging it reminds me very much of Hawaii. We’ve got much the same thing here it’s described as Local culture and it’s got strong Hawaiian and Asian roots, a very highbred/mixed kind of thing that even has it’s own language; Hawaiian Creole English/Pidgin. I think it a really fabulous thing when you get to expose your kids to such a wonderful mix of cultures, it helps to define yourself regionally but you also get to see the links to the root cultures as well.

Oh and I meant to add that I didn’t think your accent sounded strange at all. A bit more “exotic” than a standard British or Kiwi accent but certainly not strange. But then again I’ve know many different people who all spoke the Queen’s English from all over the world so I’m a bit more use to it.

Tertia, my RE was from South Africa and had a yummy accent. I've known of more than one doctor in the US who was from SA but had a Jewish-sounding name, and Lioness mentions people speaking Afrikaans on the kibbutz. How, historically, have Jews been incorporated into South African society? Grouped with the English, the Afrikaaners, or other? Just curious.

Hi T,
Coming from a dutch background I understood that last paragraph quite well. Love the accent.

I was always under the impression that as a whole (speaking stereotypes/making generalizations here, of course) South Africans of English descent were more educated and indeed less racist while the Afrikaaners were still talking about the Boer War and the good old days. I used to sit in the smoking room in the library in college with two black South Africans and one white (British) one. So this is where I get my very old, unreliable information. But you know how smokers are. We spent 4 years talking and smoking, not studying. How is it when looking for a job these days, for example? Would an Afrikaaner be more like to hire another Afrikaaner? Quite curious.

Hi Tertia -
My Sister-in law sent me to this site because she thought I would get a kick out of it. And I did! My boyfriend of 3 years is an Afrikaaner and he loves his brandy and coke and his rugby. I am learning afrikaans as well, but its a bit difficult for us Americans, as Helen said above, since we can't find the teachers and the boyfriend isn't patient enough to teach. Anyway, I realy enjoyed your summary above and I will use your phrase, 'Ek is gatvol' (we just bought a place and fixing it up has been a great test to the relationship, this phrase will come in handy :). Also the 'Souf Effriken' sounds just like him, he has a hard time with 'th', so that is classic. Thanks!

I so enjoyed this. Of course, I could so relate, living here in Sowf Effrika too. I remember riding a bus to school in primary school, the English and Afrikaans schools were very close together, the high schools too, so we rode the same bus. There used to be some mean fights on the bus between the English and Afrikaans speaking kids, and you know how vicious kids can be. It really is two different cultures… except that sometimes us “rooinekke” dunno exactly which culture is actually ours... Oh, and one of the best Afrikaans words in existence is “lus”, there is absolutely no translation for this word! It means “I need, I want, I crave” all rolled into one. And when I get hurt, like kick my toe or something- I swear in Afrikaans (usually attempting to do it under my breath too- Damien has enough influence at school without hearing it from me) there’s nothing better or more expressive!

AFRIKANERS call the british rednecks because of the fact that when they came 2 SA they wore clothes that covered the whole body except the neck which they got burned red on thus the name REDNECK and over the years it stuck same as the name khakis because of the colour clothes they wore....i could give u a few more reasons why AFRIKANERS dont like the POMS. but thats 4 another time...but the afrikaans word thats the best used in any situation is a word that the AFRIKAANS women wont like.BUT IT CAN BE USED 2 DESCRIBE ANYTHING THAT WORD BEING POES.u can say dit was poes lekker.poes lelik poes mooi.jy's poes slim poes dom. and so forth....sorry 4 those i offended

Amazing how people can stereotype other people. I am an Afrikaner and we do stereotype the English. They are usually quite snobbish people who insists on speaking English with all and sundry and are EXTREMELY appalled when they realise that someone can't speak it. How uneducated! They are colonial in their outlook (wearing the whole safari suit thing when in the bush) and materialistically inclined. Their children are seen as brazen and forward. And some elderly people will never forgive them for the 26 000 women and children who died in South Africa's concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer war.

My kan praat Afrikaans aan my sal beter every dag!

Alhowel, my huistaal is Rusiaan (maar my bly in VSA vir veertien jaare aan my praat Engels meer)

Interesting,that mixed schools were English and Afrikaners,not more ethinicites, and I am glad that people are becoming South Africans,it's what we need!

If I was in your place I would have fought apartheid, but that's a very long activist drawl....

Hi, im a afrikaner as you would call it. That description of afrikaners was brilliant, how i describe us. I speak afrikaans and english very well, in fact when i speak afrikaans im sometimes thought of as a english person lol. just something i wanted to add, im scared of traditional afrikaners. Because i have friends from lots of races i sometimes get seen as outsider by my own group of afrikaans friends, kinda weird but ya. Dating the daughter of afrikaner is scary, you have to conform to their view of afrikaners, which sucks because im very open minded, oh ya, fiorgot to mention, i also speak japanese. If you wanna get funny looks in south africa, speak afrikaans then japanese to afrikaner, its hilarious. Actually got me into fights before. So in ending, thanx for describing us fairly,

Dit was baie interessant om jou artikel oor Afrikaans teenoor Engelse te lees,maar ek dink dat die feite en persepsies van afrikaans in 2004 is baie verskillend van Afrikaans in 2008.Daar was 'n ontploffing van Afrikaanse kultuur en 'n hele nuwe generasie van Afrikaners en Afrikaanse mediums soos Afrikaanse Rock( “fokofpolisiekar” ) saam met musiek kanale en vermaaklikheids kanale en n nuwe begrip van trots het dit cool gemaak om afrikaans te wees.Ek glo dat afrikaans is wel op sy pad en sterker as ooit.

It was very interesting to read your article on Afrikaans versus English ,But I think that the facts and perceptions of Afrikaans 2004 is very different from Afrikaans 2008.There was an explosion of Afrikaans Culture and a whole new Generation of Afrikaners and Afrikaans mediums like Afrikaans Rock(“FOKOFPOLISIEKAR”) along with Music channels and entertainment channels and a new sense of pride, making it cool to be Afrikaans. I believe that Afrikaans is well on its way again and stronger then ever.

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