Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The English Language (and something free)--

One can't ever assume that the English language is same around the world. Take South Africa, for example. When we first arrived here no one could understand my accent (Was I really the one with the accent?) And in turn, I missed about fifty percent of conversations around me. Not only was the accent differant, but the words were differant. How could this be? Weren't we all speaking the same language?

Well, not exactly.

Yesterday, I rushed through a zebra crossing, barely stepping on the breaks of my bakkie. Craning my eyes to watch for pedestrians, I hurried through the next robot, then up the tarmac toward my friend’s house. I was late and hungry. Of course, time in Africa runs slower from my high-paced American schedule. People actually take time to sit down together for rooibos and scones with jam, or perhaps some homemade rusks. This was exactly what I was looking forward to.

Arriving at my destination, I grabbed a plate of homemade chocolate biscuits out of the boot and hurried into my friend’s house. “Thanks,” she said with a smile as she took the goodies from me that were covered with a serviette. “That looks laaker.”

Get the point?

Another intersting thing is that my children completely lose their American accents at school and become 'South African.' When Mariah started kindergarten, her teacher didn't even know she was American for weeks into the school year and she happened to mentioned she was from Texas.

In my next post you can look forward to finding out exactly what a rusk is, how you can make some, and why you just might want one with some rooibos.

And by the way, the first person to translate the above senerio correctly into American English gets one of my books--free. Now you can't beat that, can you?



1 comment:

  1. Here goes:
    I'm glad I looked up "zebra crossing" because I figured it was probably like a "deer crossing" here in Texas -- a place where deer cross the road. Nah!! It's a black and white striped crosswalk. A "bakkie" is a small pickup truck or van, and the "robot" is a traffic signal. As near as I can figure, the "tarmac" is a paved road. "Rooibos" is a red tea (I should know, right?), and "rusks" appear to be a baked goodie, something like an almond cookie. The chocolate "biscuits" are cookies which were apparently transported in the trunk (boot) of the car. The "serviette" is a napkin. I have to admit, I can't get anywhere with "laaker." I never heard of Micah Laaker, but apparently there are thousands of hits on the internet for him, so maybe there's a connection.