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Drie dikgesuipte mans klim in die taxi. Die bestuurder sien hulle is dronk en is nie lus vir moles nie.

Hy skakel die taxi aan, en sommer weer af.

“Ons is hier,” sê hy.

Twee klim uit en sê dankie.

Die derde een gee die drywer ‘n taai klap: “Volgende keer ry jy nie so vinnig nie, ons kon vrek gewees het!”

Some Legendary Afrikaans words

The author of this piece, is that master artist, “Anon.” I took the liberty of removing a few of the crude examples, and added some comments received from friends.

How do you explain the word “sommer” to an Australian or an Engelsman 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”. But when you’ve explained it, it’s been adopted enthusiastically. Although there’s no Australian equivalent either, they sommer take to the idea. “Why are you laughing? Just sommer.”

“Bakkie” is another one of those useful “portmanteau” words (see – English doesn’t have a word for that, either), very useful around the house, for all sizes and shapes of containers and dishes. Also used for what they call “utes” in OZ. I find it an indispensable word.

We all know “voetstoots” of course. It’s been officially adopted into South African English. There’s no concise, one-word equivalent in English. “As is” just doesn’t hack it. And it’s such a humorous word, conjuring up images of pushing that brand new car home.

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. Being in one so often myself, I’m not likely to stop using it.

I think “gogga” is the most delightful word for insect I’ve ever heard. Children all over the world should use it. “Insect” just doesn’t stand a chance.

And then there’s “gatvol”. OK, I know it’s very rude. But it’s so very expressive, né? “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.

It says something about the English that they have no word for “jol”. Probably the dictionary compilers regard it as slang, but it’s widely used for “Going out on the town, kicking up your heels, enjoying yourself…” Although curiously, the word “Yule” in Yuletide is related to “jol” and derived from Old English. So somewhere along the line, the English forgot how to “jol”.

I’ve yet to meet a South African over the age of two who doesn’t use the word “muti”. Translation is impossible – “witches potion” is about the nearest I can get. It needs a long cultural historical explanation. Between “muti” and the pedantic “medication” , there’s simply no contest.

And of course, my personal favourite “K.. 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.

How do you explain the passion of “LEKKER!”? Wow last night was a “lekker jol”.

Trapsuutjies………..the way certain people work. Slowcoach just doesn’t do it, hey.

So first – Mielie 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 Creamy Meal, no Putu pap 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?” Miserable may come close, but does not quite cut it.

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?

Loskop is another favourite. The English just don’t understand when I say ‘Sorry, I forgot – I’m such a loskop!’

A couple of friends that I sent this to, came up with a few more:

Die woord “onderdeur” bestaan ook nie in Engels nie! “Die kat loop onderdeur die tafel.” “The Cat walks under (through?) the table?” “The cat passes under(neath) the table?” is naby – maar dan moet hy “pass” en nie “walk” nie! Die Engelse kat moet om die tafel loop!

And what about “vloermoer?” Tantrum just does say the same.

I am sure many of you also have examples of this colourful language, and would love to hear them.

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