Eish, but is it English? Celebrating the South African variety

Eish, but is it English? explores the influence of Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa and other languages on English as it is spoken in South Africa.
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Title: Eish, but is it English?
Authors: Rajend Mesthrie; Jeanne Hromnik
Imprint: Zebra Press
Publisher: Random House Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2011
ISBN 9781770221529 / ISBN 978-1-77022-152-9
Hardcover, dustjacket, 14x21 cm, 176 pages


Did you know that there was English in South Africa before the English? Have you ever wondered where the words tsotsi, larney, gogga and chakalaka come from? South Africa is home to several unique varieties of English. This entertaining book traces the evolution of the language in the country, looking at the diverse forms of English spoken here, where they come from and how they fit into the world spectrum of English. Humorous and informative, it outlines the distinctive features of South African English and is packed with examples and explanations of common expressions, slang, pronunciations and typically South African words and phrases, including bunny chow, just now, veldskoen, sundowner and, of course, eish. The text is enriched with up-to-date, often hilarious illustrations of key concepts. Famous Author Alexander McCall Smith named this book a fascinating and immensely readanble, as he found Eish, but is it English? Celebrating the South African variety to be a triumph of both scholarship and wit.


How this book came about
'Coeree home go'
Historical firsts
'He was busy dying'
Grammar with a difference
'Imagin't excusations'
Missionary endeavours
'Who did throw that?'
A question of acceptance
'The robot's not working again'
Making sense of the vocabulary
'There's a gogga in my veldskoens'
Words, words and more words
'Not just a matter of mixing jou tale'
Slang and code switching
' I like my coffee to be black
A recognisable black variety
'A ghetto of mediocrity?'
Finding the middle ground
'He has a headache in his toes'
The English of Indians
'He tried to kill mah daddy'
No laughing matter
In conclusion