Examples of South African English

IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

When somebody refers to a connection, it’s a friend or a mate.
//wen ʹsʌmbɒdi rəʹfɜːz tu ə kəʹnekʃən/əts ə frend ɔː ə məɪt//

The pronunciation of refers is /rəʹfɜːz/ and it's is /əts/. Thus RP /ɪ/ is normally realized as /ə/ in South African English (SAE).



IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

When they ask you to stop at the next robot, they mean stop at the next traffic lights.
//wen ðəɪ ɑːsk ju to stɒp ət ðə nekst ʹrəʊbɒt/ðəɪ miːn stɒp ət ðə nekst ʹtræfɪk laɪts//

The pronunciation of ask is long in contrast with Northern British English and Genearl American English.


IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

When someone refers to a Dutchman, it’s a derogatory term for a white Afrikaner.
//wen
ʹsʌmbɒdi rəʹfɜːz tu ə ʹdʌtʃmən/əts ə dəʹrɒgətəri tɜːm fə ə waɪt æfrɪʹkɑːnə//

SAE is non-rhotic as can be seen in the pronunciation of refers and term.


IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

When somebody refers to I need more air time, they actually mean I’m going to put some more credit on my mobile provider.
//wen ʹsʌmbɒdi rəʹfɜːz tu aɪ niːd mɔː ʹkredət taim/ðəɪ ʹæktʃəli miːn aɪm ʹgəʊɪŋ tə pʌt mɔː ʹkredɪt ɒn maɪ ʹməʊbaɪl prəʹvaidə//

You have probably already noticed the pronunciation of the /r/. In RP it is an approximant, that is, almost like a vowel in that there is no friction. In SAE it often has a weak fricative pronunciation, that is, there is audible friction (Wells, 1982: 617). You can hear this in the word credit.


IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

We have a slim chance of winning.
//wi hæv ə slɪm tʃɑːns əv ʹwɪnɪŋ//

The vowel in chance is long as in RP.


IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

A tin of beans.
//əɪ tən əv biːnz/

The /ə/ pronunciation of tin is characteristic of SAE.


IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

When is the bus due?
//wen əz ðə bʌs djuː/

In the word due we have a /j/ like RP and unlike General American English.


IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

Play a tune on the piano.
//pləɪ ə tjuːn ɒn ðə piʹænəʊ//

The pronunciation of  tune with /j/ is  similar to conservative RP. However, most young RP speakers and speakers of other varieities of British English pronounce words like tune with a /tʃ/ phoneme.


IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

Is the milk still in the fridge?
/əz ðə mʌlk stəl ɪn ðə frɪdʒ//

The pronunciaton of milk as something like /mʌlk/ is due to the lowering effect of the /l/ according to Wells (1982: 617).


IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

There’s a goga.
There’s a bug.

//ðeəz ə ʹχɒχə//

The voiceless uvular fricative /χ/ is found in African loanwords like goga (Wells, 182: 619)


IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

The toy train is cracked.
//ðə tɔɪ trəɪn əz krækt//

In the word cracked we have an example of fricative "r" and the  diphthong /əɪ/ which is pronounced /eɪ/ in RP.l


IDevice Icon

Listen carefully and read the comments.

Park your car in the yard.
//pɑːk jɔː kɑː ən ðə jɑːd//

The words park, your, car and yard show the non-rhotic character of SAE.


Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 3.0 License