What they say vs what they mean: Understanding different English dialects

  • 27 January 2016

While English is spoken in many countries, most have their own unique version of it. The English we speak in South Africa is for the most part the same as the English spoken in the UK - however there are a few, quirky differences between the two dialects.

We’ve compiled a list of common words which change between us in South Africa, the UK and America to avoid confusion between you and your guests.

South African English UK English American English

Bakkie

Pickup Truck Pickup Truck

Bathroom

Toilet/ Loo Restroom
Bottle store Off-license Liquor Store
Chips (Lays, Simba) Crisps Potato Chips
Chips (Wedges) Chips Fries
Delivery Truck Juggernaut, Lorry 18 wheeler
Gumboots Wellingtons Galoshes
Ground Floor   (Level) Ground Floor First Floor
Pavement Footway Sidewalk
Public Holiday Bank Holiday National Holiday
Pharmacy Chemist Drugstore
Sarny Butty Sandwhich
Zebra Crossing Pedestrian Crossing Crosswalk