Learn more about the unique South African accent and join our online casino, Springbok Casino, where everything is lekker!

Our beautiful Rainbow Nation is about as unique and diverse as our online casino! We boast some of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world. We’re the proud homeland of The Springboks and the Big 5… What else sets South Africa apart from other countries? It’s in the way we communicate!

English is the Common Ground When You Have 11 Official Languages

Try as you might, pinning down the exact root of a South African accent is not easy at all. Most countries have distinct accents that make the speakers’ origin instantly recognisable. Think about a Scottish or British accent – we’re referring to the ‘proper’ Queens English, that is.

With our country, it isn’t that simple, as even our accents have accents – by that, we mean ‘sub accents’. What has created such a unique mashup of accents and colloquialisms? It’s all in due to the diversity of our Rainbow Nation – and at our online casino, every South African is welcome!

The first major element that contributes to our diversity is the fact that we have 11 official languages. That means that eleven different languages are spoken – and recognised – as a first language. This is also why most Saffers are at the very least fully bilingual. In order to communicate with each other, we needed to find common ground – and that common ground is, in most places, English.

Secondly, in terms of size, South Africa is slightly less than twice the size of Texas, and five times the size of the UK. Our land mass is 1.2 million square kilometres, and that is divided into nine provinces. Even though the UK is tiny in comparison, think about how many different accents there are… yet they are all still recognizable in that you’d know what country the speaker is from.

We also have people from all walks of life, cultures, creeds, backgrounds and statuses, etc. – something that is not unique to South Africa. At Springbok Online Casino, we, fortunately, couldn’t give a hoot what your status is as we treat all our patrons equally!

Five Main South African English Accents

If you go to official sources, you’ll read that there are five main South African English accents, or SAEs. These are Afrikaans English, Black South African English, Cape Flats English, White South African English and Indian South African English. Although theoretically correct – if you want to narrow it down, that is – it is a bit more complicated than that.

This is where you are from precisely, and where you were raised comes into the mix, as this is what has created so many sub-accents. There is the undeniable Afrikaans, Durban, Joburg and Cape Town accents, but even Joburg itself has a range of accents, differing from the northern to the southern suburbs. That said, with our major centres being a melting pot of languages, you never quite know what you’re going to get!

What Do Saffers Sound Like to Foreigners?

As surprising as this might sound, many surveys have voted the South African accent as the sexiest! In the same breath, we can, apparently, sound very aggressive and intimidating too – especially when we speak Afrikaans. Afrikaans is a harsh language, particularly when you factor in that hard, rolling “g”, which is very difficult for anyone to imitate if it doesn’t form part of their native language.

As for how others describe the South African accent – the answers make it clear… it’s tough to pin down! Some say we flatten our vowels, that our accent is ‘nasal’ with ‘odd pronunciations’, whilst others refer to it as rather British-sounding – with a few phonetic differences. Either way, it’s a melting pot indeed!

How to “Gooi” it Like a Saffer

In addition to our very colourful pronunciation of the English language, South Africans also have unique colloquialisms that might leave you completely lost in conversation if you’re visiting from elsewhere. Unlike our online casino which is ‘foreigner friendly’, sporting straight-up and “proper” Queen’s English, we have some very authentic sayings and phrases that we bet you won’t hear elsewhere.

Add to that the fact that we mix languages – yes, all 11 of them – and you definitely need some guidance! You’d be excused if certain sayings are lost on you entirely, as some simply don’t have a direct English translation. You’d have to be born and bred South African, like Springbok Online Casino, to fully comprehend. Nonetheless, here are some useful South Africanisms to try and understand us better:

“Just Now” or “Now-now” – Here’s a hint – it does not mean ‘now’, in fact, it has no time limit attached to it at all! It could mean some time in the future, or it could never happen at all. As an example, it’s 4pm and your teenager asks, “what time are we having dinner?”. Answer with “just now” or “now-now” and get yourself off the hook for a few hours!

“Shame”, “ag, shame” or “shame man” – there are other variations of how “shame” is used. As for what this means, there is no actual shame in it, at all! Instead, it is used as a term to express compassion or endearment. If a friend narrowly misses out on an online casino jackpot, you could say “shame man” as a consoling and compassionate response.

“Yes no” or “ja nee” – yet another confusing South African phrase! This is not a hard yes or no. It is more an expression that doesn’t mean much at all. You could say, “yes no, tough times indeed”, or “ja nee, Springbok Online Casino is the best!" It has as much actual meaning as ‘uhm’ and ‘ah’.

A Short Guide to South African Slang

  1. “Gooi” – an Afrikaans word meaning ‘throw’ in English. When used as slang, it essentially means, go for it, or to ‘do it’!
  2. “China” – we are not referring to the country, but rather a close friend.
  3. “Robot” – nope, that would not be R2-D2 or a humanoid. This is how South Africans refer to a traffic light.
  4. “Eish” – borrowed from Xhosa, ‘eish’ is an interjection that has a very wide application.
  5. “Dop” – an Afrikaans slang word adopted in other South African languages, meaning an alcoholic ‘drink’
  6. “Jol” – another Afrikaans slang word used widely to describe a party or ‘a good time’
  7. “Wena” – adopted from Zulu, and meaning ‘you’, it is usually used to reprimand someone who got up to no good
  8. “Voetsek” or “Tsek” – with no literal translation, it means ‘go away!’, generally used to chase someone away
  9. “Shot left” – adopted from South African taxi lingo, it indicates that you want to go somewhere nearby
  10. “Is it?” – meaning “really?” or “is that so?”
  11. “Braai” – along with playing at the best online casino, Saffers enjoy a BBQ, except, we call it a ‘braai’!
  12. “Biltong” – this is what Americans would call beef jerky
  13. “Lekker” – an Afrikaans word meaning ‘yummy’ in English, lekker is a lekker word that can be used to describe many things in a pleasant way. “It’s lekker sunny outside!”. Get it?

There are a few others but armed with these, you ought to keep up with conversation between South Africans with relative success. Once the intermingling of languages starts, we’re sorry, but you’ll have to grab onto what you can to make sense of it all! Fortunately, our online casino makes it easy for everyone to keep up.

Springbok Online Casino is Bilingual

Did you know that our online casino is bilingual? Yep, load Springbok Casino and select either English or Afrikaans as your preference – and our entire online casino gaming interface will instantly translate to your choice! This is another way to show how we embrace our cultural diversity. Why wait? Join now, not ‘just now’. Springbok Casino is lekker, after all!