English is spoken all over South Africa. But there are a lot of South African English words that are not the same as American English words. I found this fun South African English dictionary of some of the more commonly used words.
A few that we hear on a regular basis:
So long - In the US, this would mean farewell or goodbye. Here in South Africa it means "in the mean time." For example, when seated in a restaurant the waiter will bring a menu and say "Can I bring you something to drink so long?"
Biscuit - This is the name for a cookie. The word for a typical US biscuit would be "bread roll" or "scone". But the "o" in scone is a short sound, scone here rhymes with the word "gone".
Now Now and Just Now -Both of these mean "not now". As far as I can tell, "now now" is sooner than "just now". For example, I might say to my child "Please find your shoes, we are leaving now now." Now now is another way of saying soon.
"Just now" could mean pretty much anytime in the future. If someone tells me "I will get that to you just now", it means "I will get that to you at a time in the future that is convenient for me." Lincoln learned this the hard way when he went to someone's place of work to pick up some paperwork. The man he went to see told him that he would get the papers to Lincoln just now and then left the office. Lincoln hung around and waited for quite a while, thought the man had forgotten about him and ended up leaving - without the paperwork.
Robot - We actually don't hear this one that often, but it always makes me giggle a little when we do. Traffic lights here are called robots. "Make a right turn at the 3rd robot." Giggle.
Shame - This is an all purpose word used to show understanding, sympathy or to indicate that you think something or someone is really cute, or perhaps really sad. "Oh shame, look at that adorable little baby!"
Or "It was so cold in my house last night that I'm pretty sure I got frostbite" "Oh shame!!!"
Fillet is used instead of the word steak. It took a while to get used to saying "fillet", because here the "t" is pronounced at the end of the word and the word rhymes with skillet.
Crisps - In the US we call them chips. Chips here are what we call french fries.
Is it? -This is like saying "really?" and is very addictive! I find myself saying this all of the time! A friend will say "I went to the store yesterday" and I will answer "Is it?" It kind of drives me a little crazy!
Those are some of the most common words we hear, check out the link above for more!