English spoken by South Africans

Ryan   Friday, May 28, 2004, 07:49 GMT
What about the Zimbabwean accent that the people of English descent in that country have? Is that any different than the South African Anglo-English accent? I'm talking about people like Byron Black the tennis player and Duncan Fletcher the England cricket coach.
Faerie   Friday, May 28, 2004, 12:13 GMT
I'm not sure sbout Zim accents its probably the same story or pretty much the same story as it is in SA. When we talk about the Afrikaaners speaking English with an Anglo accent it's probably because in the old regime people were taught to speak the English standard which was the Queen's English which meant we used the same or similar accent. These days the standard has changed though there doesn't seem to be an actual definition for that standard. I have heard people pushing for the Black South African English to become the standard South African English because it is used by the majority of the country. That's a problem linguisticly because it's a second language level of English and the standard ought to be a first language level in my opinion.
Faerie   Friday, May 28, 2004, 12:18 GMT
Just thought of something else. The classification of the different people in SA is interesting in this forum. The way all of you speak of Dutch SOuth Africans and Anglo South Africans, is that something you're taught in school or something? In SA we talk about the Afrikaaners or the Boers (not so much that one these days it was the term used for those in power during apartheid) and then english South Africans for the Anglos.
Ryan   Friday, May 28, 2004, 16:38 GMT
No, we don't learn about South Africa at all in school in the United States, unless you take a special university course in African history, perhaps.

I'm just making up names based upon the Linguasphere classification of separate dialects. In this list of dialects, we have:

52-ABA-cra Anglo-African English
52-ABA-crc Afrikaans-English

and these Englishes are also listed for South Africa

52-ABA-cqh Bantu-South-African English
52-ABA-cqi Coloured-South-African English
52-ABA-cup South-African-Asian English

Linguasphere is not an exhaustive list of dialects, nor is it completely correct (I find a few of their classifications of American Englishes a bit iffy), but it's good for a general guide to use.

Faerie   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 09:44 GMT
Ryan, do you study this field or work in it, or is it just a hobby to you? You seem to know a lot or have lots of opinions which I like. Thanks for the website, nice help for my project.

Bantu English seems to just have become Black SA Eng and as for the Coloured Eng I suppose we do have that but I've never heard it put into an official category.

I somehow didn't think that Americans learnt about us in school because I haven't met many that even know where SA is, which is kind of scary since the country's name is pretty self explanatory.
Ryan   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 15:11 GMT
No, I'm just a hobbyist. I do something else for a living. I'm not sure how I got into linguistics. It was kind of a slow process overall.

Not many Americans know much about South Africa. And many more educated Americans associate it with apartheid automatically and just assume that whites there are mostly racist. Americans are remarkably self-centered--most concentrate on national news and don't know much on the international front, even about a neighboring country like Canada.
Paul   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 07:00 GMT
As a canadian I can confirm what Ryan said about the American Perception of Canada. Even though, we get good news programming here in the U.S. it is usually only 1/2 hour to cover everything or CNN. The News tends to focus on the Hotspots unless things are very quiet internationally. During an election year, we get even less coverage of the rest of the world.
Some people look at Newsweek or World & USA Magazines, but the Economist, which provides the best overview of world news is almost unknown, to the ordinary person. It was like when I was in London 10 years ago and couldn't find a copy of the London Times or the Manchester Guardian at an average Newstand.
The funny thing is that everybody has access to internet and can find out more about all this stuff. But they don't get any initial urge to look.
Go figure.
Regards, Paul V.
Paul   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 07:11 GMT
I was talking about an Anglo South African Accent.
As I said there is a British rhythm to it but the pronunciation is close enough to Canadian/American English, that I have never had any difficulties. They seem well educated so perhaps they can minimizes their speech differences?
Ryan   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 16:25 GMT
You were in London and couldn't find the Times or Guardian? Are you sure you were looking in the morning and in the right places, Paul? When I was in London in January, those newspapers, and even tiny ones like the Independent, were everywhere I looked. I couldn't believe how newspaper obsessed the UK was, although it seemed the most popular papers were the tabloids like the Daily Mirror. Broadsheets are difficult to read on a train.
Paul   Monday, May 31, 2004, 14:47 GMT
It was Chrstmas season and I was a tourist. I usually didn't go outside until noon. And not having a paper, made it quite difficult to pick which plays to see.

Regards, Paul V.
Damian   Monday, May 31, 2004, 15:24 GMT
Please, please, please give the UK tabloids a wide berth whenever you are over here...they are CRAP! Probably the worst in the western world. Sex obsessed, scurrilous, intrusive into people's private lives in a way no other European country is, right wing, xenophobic, homophobic and any other phobic you can think of. Even SOME of the broadsheets seem to be getting the same way...one in particular. I have to read as much of the British press as part of my uni course so I am qualified in saying what I have, I guess. I'm thinking of going into journalism myself but I think I have standards.

What is the press like in your countries, guys? Paul....I can't understand how it was you couldn't get the Times or Guardian on the newstands! Are you sure there wasn't a newspaper strike or something when you were in London? :-) PS: are you sure it was called "Manchester" Guardian?

To get back to the topic..South Africa. I find the accent intriguing. Strangely enough, I have never personally met a South African so can only go by what I have heard in the media. To me, a South African pronounces the word "ham" as "hem" for "exemple"? :-)

I am now learning to differentiate betwen US and Canadian English! I made an embarrassing mistake with a guy once.

Ryan   Tuesday, June 01, 2004, 05:10 GMT
Good luck. Many Americans can't tell the difference between Canadians and themselves unless they say the words "about" or "sorry."
Ben   Wednesday, June 02, 2004, 18:01 GMT
One very strong exception is the Newfoundland accent, which is a strong brogue that doesn't resemble any other North American Speech. It's a strange mixture of Celtic dialects and Early Modern English.
Clark   Thursday, June 03, 2004, 00:25 GMT
To me, Newfie accents are like Americanised Scottish accents.
Ben   Friday, June 04, 2004, 21:20 GMT
... and similarly difficult to comprehend. Especially in rural NF, Canadian News Programs have to put on subtitles when they're interviewing a Newfie.