One of the strangest things I’ve had to get used to is the different lingo in America. The confused faces I’ve seen after I say some words are hilarious, and I’ve quickly had to adjust to using different terms for words that are commonly used in SA.
Bin = trash or garbage. Using rubbish bin makes them even more confused.
Serviette = napkin. Don’t use the word serviette unless you want them to attempt your “English” accent and pretend to be fancy.
Jol = party, good fun kinda thing.This was a hard one to explain. Still haven’t met someone who can even pronounce it the same.
Robot = traffic light
Jersey = sweater
Cool drinks = soda
Sweets = candy
Trolley = wagon
Bill = check
Lift = elevator
Pavement = sidewalk
Chips = dried potato chips like Lays. Hot chips are fries or french fries here. I ordered chips at Burger King once and the next thing they asked me was where I was from. Do not ask for chips they WILL laugh at you.
Cozzie/ costume = bathing suit. A costume here is what you dress up in for Halloween.
Just now = huge confusion to Americans. There is no such thing as just now. To them that means now. But to South Africans just now means in a bit, sometime in the near future or the near past, but not necessarily immediately. Also one of the harder ones to explain.
Now now = right now but not literally now. Trying to type out an explanation for this has made me realize how complicated these expressions actually are.
Chunder = throw up/ vomit/ puke. Using this word only leads to one thing. *Insert a terrible attempt at an Australian accent* “Aaahh I’m gonna chunder mate!”
Dof = dumb/ stupid.
Siff = gross. I’ve only used this one a couple times since being here but each time people think that’s a great word for something disgusting and claim they’re gonna start using it.
Takkies = sneakers/ trainers
Boot = trunk
Petrol = gas
Varsity = college/ university
Autumn = fall
Chune = I literally don’t even know how to explain what this means. Chuning someone means chuning someone. Can be used to say ‘chune when you’re finished’ (let me know when you’re finished) or ‘he was chuning me’ (speaking badly about him/ giving him shit). Very difficult one to explain.
Chop = dumbass. ‘Don’t be a chop’.
Shot = thanks. ‘Shot for coming’
Howzit = hey how’s it going.
What’s worse than having to think of different words that you use all the time is having to pronounce things with an American accent so people actually understand you. For example:
Bathroom. This one is very annoying.
Sprite. Basically pronounced as Spraat with my Durban accent. Literally had a bartender say I was adorable after having to try pronounce SPRIIITEE better so many times.
This list could go on forever.
Another thing I’ve had to get used to is how American’s write their dates wrong. My birthday is the 19/05/93 but here its 05/19/93. Still gotta get used to using pounds, miles and fahrenheit
This all might take awhile.