global English south african English

I’m no fundi, but jislaaik – all those loan words!

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It wasn’t until I recently researched the fascinating details about the lexicon of South African English that I realized just what a fantastic example it is of the linguistic concept of borrowing. There can’t be many language varieties that have the influence of such a broad range of languages – European, Asian and African, often all in the same sentence!

Fetch up at a barbecue in South Africa and you’ll see what I mean: you could well be eating wors (spicy sausage, from Afrikaans) or a sosatie (kebab, from Javanese) and dopping (drinking, from Dutch) so many beers that you have a babbelas (hangover, from Zulu).

For Kerry’s full article about South African English, check out the June edition of MED Magazine.

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Kerry Maxwell

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