BRAAI: A backyard barbecue and it will take place whatever the weather. So you will have to go even if it's raining like mad and hang of a cold.
BOEREWORS: This is spicy, fatty sausage. Every weekend, it sizzles on countless backyard braais. It is an Afrikaans word for which there is no English translation in use and its literal meaning is "farmer's sausage."
BILTONG: Similar to jerky, it is dried, salted meat and can be made from beef, ostrich, antelope or anything that was once alive and fairly large. It is usual for expatriate South Africans to say: "Man I really miss is my biltong."
PAP: Pap is encountered at a braai and consists of boiled corn meal. Pronounced "pup" it has the consistency of moist Plaster of Paris. South Africans love it.
NAARTJIE: This is the South African name for the tangerine and, according to Eric Rosenthal, it probably comes from the Indian Tamie Nartie, a citron. Not a Citroen - that's a French car. Naartjies are easy to peel and their pips are wonderful for spitting contests during big break in school. We knew someone at school who could spit a naartjie pip 20 meters - a real talent.
PAMPOEN: This is a pumpkin and it is nice fried in little cakes which are called pampoen fritters or pampoenkoekies. But it is also a useful insult. If a rugby player drops the ball when he has an open field in front of him, it is appropriate to shout: "Hey - you stupid pampoen!" Some people throw a naartjie on the field at this point but it is frowned upon and regarded as unsportsmanlike. It is also risky if the targeted player is bigger than you.
HOWZIT: This is a universal South African greeting, and you will hear this word throughout the land. It means, "How is it going with you today?"
JA: Yes, yea. This just rolls out the mouths of South Africans like cars off an assembly line. It's a lazy yes to the English, who adopted it from the Afrikaans. It's quick and easy, rather effortless, compared to yes. Just kinda drop your jaw and say "Ja!". Try it! It doesn't take long for visitors to catch on.
AG: A most useful South African word. Pronounced like the "ach" is the German "achtung", it can be used to start a reply when you are asked a tricky question, as in: "Ag, I don't know." It can stand alone too as a signal of irritation.
EINA: Widely used by all language groups, this word, derived from the Afrikaans, means "ouch." Pronounced "aynah", you can shout it out in sympathy when someone burns his finger on a hot potato at a braai.
ISIT?: This is a great word in conversations. Derived from the two words "is" and "it", it can be used when you have nothing to contribute to a highly intellectual (over your head) comment. It helps you sound intelligent.
JISLAAIK: Pronounced "Yis-like", it is an expression of astonishment. For instance, if someone tells you there are a billion people in China, a suitable comment is: "Jislaaik, that's a hang of a lot of people, hey."
SHAME: Like "No", this word can mean the opposite of its meaning in other parts of the world. If someone shows you a baby, you can say: "Ag, shame." This does not mean the baby is ugly - it means the baby is cute. If the baby is ugly, it is more accurate to say: "Shame, hey." If the baby is truly hideous, it is appropriate to say: "Jislaaik." This may not be appreciated by the baby's parents.
SHOEJ: When someone tells you something interesting or amazing, a popular response would be "Shoej". It's simply an exclamation, an alternative for "Wow!".
SLAP CHIPS: These are French fries, usually bought in brown paper bags at cafes. The "slap" part is pronounced "slup" and is the Afrikaans word for "soft" or "limp." The reason they're limp is because they're (I) bigger than French fries (ii) you don't cook them to death as with the French fry and (iii) you douse them with salt and lots of vinegar. They are delicious - as long as your constitution holds up.
STRUESBOB: Descended to us from the oath "As True as God" and is often used when the speaker anticipates disbelief: "I took her to lunch and she ate five packets of slap chips and wanted more. Struesbob!"
SAWRIGHT: It is alright. It is a lazy way of combining these three words into one, with an accent on the 'R' - you got to roll it on your tongue for a second.
DWAAL: This useful word, pronounced "dwarl", describes the state you may be in after a few too many 'dops' (drinks). To be in a dwaal is to loose concentration, not knowing what's going on.
DINGES: Pronounced "ding-iss", this is a thingy, a whatchama-callit, a wotzit. The word is used frequently in technical circles, as in advising the mechanic at a garage when you take your car in for repairs: "I think this dinges here under this other dinges has 'packed up' (given up the ghost)." He will know what you mean.
LEKKER: An Afrikaans word meaning "nice", this word is used by all language groups to express approval. "We had a lekker time at the party", or "Give me another scoop of that lekker ice-cream".
THISARVIE: The short form of "this afternoon", it is heard all over South Africa: "See you thisarvie" or "The job will be finished by thisarvie." Oddly enough, the same principles of word shortening are not applied to morning, evening or night. You will never hear "thismornie", "thisevie" or "thisnightie", which seems a pity really when you think about it.
SKRIK: If you receive a registered letter from the Receiver of Revenue, you will immediately get a skrik. Another thing that causes a skrik is when you spill hot coffee in your lap while you are overtaking in your car. A skrik is a fright.
CHEEKY: Rude, disrespectful, sassy. A dad would scold his son: "Don't you dare be so cheeky to your mother".
VASBYT: Pronounced "Fusbait!" A direct translation would be "Secure bite". It means 'hold on, through thick and thin'.
TA: South Africans often say "Ta" for thanks. It is a verbal word - not a written one - and it goes back to childhood days when infants are told "Say ta for Mommy!" when offered a rusk (a brick like snack that has to be dunked or you'll break your teeth) or a cream cracker. If you really hungry and want to say a quick grace before you eat, you can say, "Ta Pa!" (thanks Dad).
IT'S A PLEASURE: You're welcome. A statement of joyful willingness to be of service. Sadly this term is sometimes habitually used by insincere people who have a look of displeasure on their faces. It seems their mother never taught them that their face is a reflection of their heart.
FUSSY: Painfully particular, picky. "I don't know what to get the maid to cook for Frankie - he's far to fussy!"
BOYKIE: Literally, little boy, this is what legions of South African parents call their sons. It is a nickname that has stuck to many South Africans into adulthood, undoubtedly among the most popular in a nation which loves nicknames.
BOYS: In South Africa, boys start out as men and then become boys again as soon as they are old enough. For example, the coach of an Under-10 rugby team will tell his players: "Go out and get them, men." On the other hand, the coach of an adult, aging, beer-soaked rugby team will tell his scarred veterans: "Go out and get them, boys".
OKE: A "guy" or "chap" or "bloke". If you quite like someone you can say: "Ag, he is an OK oke or okie". Instead of "oke" you can also say "ou" which is pronounced "Oh."
CHEERS: Bye, see you later. It is also used in the traditional setting for toasting.
TINKLE: If you meet someone who asks you to give them a tinkle, you are not necessarily being sexually harassed. It is a telephone call as in: "Give me a tinkle tonight and we will make a plan."
ROCK UP: To rock up some place is to just sort of arrive. You don't make an appointment or tell anyone you are coming - you just rock up. Friends can do that but you have to be selective about it. You can't just rock up for a job interview or at a five-star restaurant. You give them a tinkle first - then you can rock up.
SHERBET: You get home late. Your spouse is sleeping, so you undress in the dark. You stub your naked toe on a chair leg. The exclamation from your twisted mouth is "Sherbet!" It helps to relieve the pain and provides you with the satisfaction of being civilized, i.e. a civilized exclamation of anger, frustration or pain.
BRAK: Dog, hound, specifically a mongrel. If someone called you a brak, it's definitely an insult, as it would be if they called your pedigree Staffordshire Bullterrier (Staffie - one of South Africa's most popular dogs of late) 'a brak'. He might just let his dog loose on you. In South Africa the dogs are not kept inside the house and taken for a short daily walk (as in most cities in America), but have the rule of a usually large walled in garden (which is necessary for security purposes - in which the dog plays a major role).
COSSIE OR COSTUME: A cossie is a swimsuit, or bathing trunks from "bathing costume".
VOLKSIE: Volkswagen motor cars or VW. Pronounced "forksee".
TACKIES: These are sneakers or running shoes. The word is also used to describe automobile or truck tires. "Fat tackies" are big tires, as in: "Where did you get those lekker fat tackies on your Volksie, hey?"
BAKKIE: This word is pronounced "bucky" and it is a small truck or pick-up. Young men can take their "cherrie" (girlfriend) to the drive-in in a bakkie.
DUMMY: If you find yourself in the company of a couple with a baby and the woman says, "pass me the dummy," she is not necessarily asking that you bring her husband to her. A dummy is a pacifier.
NAPPY: This is a diaper. The editors don't want to go further into this topic because their children are now grown up and the subject is closed for ever.
LAVATORY: If you say you're going to wash your hands and face in a lavatory, South Africans will consider you very odd indeed. A lavatory, also called a "lav", is a toilet bowl, a John, a loo, or the jazz. Wash you hands in the basin.
CAR WORDS: Boots are trunks, bonnets are hoods, hooters are horns, petrol is gasoline, aerials are antennas, windscreens are windshields, cubby holes are glove boxes.
ROBOT: This word charms many visitors. A robot is the familiar red-orange-green traffic light and it is pronounced "roh-bott" or "roh-boh", depending on how much was spent on your education.
FLOG: If a South African says he is going to flog his car it is not as sinister as it sounds. It will only be sinister if it is not his car. To flog something means to sell it. South Africans flog things all the time.
CREASE: Wrinkle. A daughter would ask her mother: "Is this too creased to wear?"
PHOTOSTAT: Photocopy, Xerox.
PLASTER: Band Aid.
QUEUE: Stand in a line. A snooker stick.
SURNAME: Last name.