18 oopsies South Africans make

18 oopsies South Africans make when talking to British people

Jurre, we’ve all been on the receiving end of a few blank British stares…

18 oopsies South Africans make

Even though we speak the same language, at times it feels like we South Africans are worlds apart from the Brits.

In going about our daily lives we are forever slipping casual words into conversations without realising they only make sense in ‘South African’.

While at times we are met with confusion or blank stares, sometimes the Brits find us darn hilarious and laugh in our faces at our ‘hilarious version’ of English.

Little do they realise, we find it hilarious too. And we will hold on to our South African words and phrases until they catch on!

The most commonly confused South African/British words

1. Geyser vs Boiler

Don’t try phoning up about a problem with the geyser in your kitchen cupboard… In the UK a geezer is another word for a guy or bloke.

2. Holding thumbs vs Fingers Crossed

Apparently, only South Africans hold thumbs for good luck. The Brits just cross their fingers.

3. Rubber vs Eraser

This one is pretty common, but can be potentially awkward considering a rubber refers to a condom in the UK.

4. Jersey vs Cardigan/Jacket/Fleece/Hoody

In South Africa every warm top is a jersey, it doesn’t even have to be knitted to qualify. Not so much in the UK.

5. Packet vs Carrier Bag

“Could I get a packet for my groceries?” – Not a good idea. And don’t expect anybody to ‘pack it’ in your packet too.

6. Sies/Sif vs Gross/Disgusting

This one is fairly obvious but often slips out without you realising!

7. Eina vs Ouch

Again, another obvious one, but there’s nothing more satisfying than crying out ‘Eina’ when you stub your toe.

8. Passage vs Corridor

This one’s tricky as South Africans tend to refer to everything as a ‘passage’, perhaps not realising the various alternative meanings the word can have.

9. Circle vs Roundabout

You don’t take the first exit at the circle in the UK. You waste an extra breath by adding a syllable and saying roundabout.

10. Pants vs Trousers

“I like your pants” is always an awkward thing to say to a Brit.

11. Tights vs Pantihose

Just call them what they are. Tights.

12. Takkies vs Trainers

There is something so much more fulfilling about the word takkies. Especially when said with a thick South African accent.

13. Couch vs Sofa

Apparently there is a difference between the two?

14. Cell phone vs Mobile phone

It’s just too awkward to call it a mobile….

15. SMS vs Text

And texting just sounds super old-fashioned.

16. Chips vs Crisps

Simba chips. Hot chips. Slap tjips. Lays chips. All types of chips.

17. ‘So long’ vs ‘In the meantime’

Ah, we South Africans love to mess with time schemes (now now, just now and the like) so we say, “I’ll do this so long” instead of “I’ll do it in the meantime”.

18. ‘Same difference’ vs ‘Same thing’

We love to be a bit more colloquial and chuck in a ‘Ag, same diff’ here and there. Probably after making one of the above 17 ‘mistakes’!