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This essay will explore the South African variety of English and will answer if it is a variety or just an accent.

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Introduction

SOUTH AFRICAN ENGLISH This essay will explore the South African variety of English and will answer if it is a variety or just an accent. I have chosen this topic because I have relatives from Johannesburg and Durban. This paper will be organised in five parts. In the first one, I will introduce the subject giving some background on how the English language arrived to the country, following this I will write about the other indigenous languages spoken in South Africa and what impact they have on English. Thirdly, I will expose some differences between the South African variety of English and the Standard British English. I will concentrate on pronunciation, lexis and grammar exposing specific features of the variety. This will explain why South African English is a variety. In the last part I will explain how English interferes with other South African languages and this will be followed bay a conclusion which will answer the formulated question. Britain occupied South Africa in 1820 for the first time. The settlers, around 4000, were mostly from southern England and from working or lower middle class backgrounds. (Gough, D. H.) That had a great effect on the variety of English that emerged in the region, which was characterised by mainly Cockney accent influenced by features from Dutch, the other main language spoken in the region. ...read more.

Middle

Although the phonology of South African English is very close to the Southeast English varieties, the phonetics are closer to the New Zealand English. A main feature of the South African variety is the clipped pronunciation, this means that when speaking some word endings or the last syllables of some words are swallowed. (kashan group web site). The South African English lexis is very wide and comes from various sources. Some of the vocabulary are loan words from African Languages such as "veld" (plain), the Zulu word "yebo" meaning yes, "kopje" (hill). Slang and colloquialisms are as well borrowed from African Languages and from Afrikaans, for example: "Braai" (grill meat) or "howl" (weep). There are also words that come from English but they have a specific meaning in South African, some of these are dirt, which refers to a gravel road, or land, which refers to field. Some words from other varieties of English are as well used in South African English, e.g. "fossick" (to rummage) and "dingus" (what's it). Adverbs and prepositions are used in a different way to British English. A South African English speaker will use in place of meaning instead of and come there meaning arrive. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some of them have gone through a language shift to English to some degree. Coloureds are an example; the educated of this group show a complete language shift to English. The South African of Indian origin show as well how they have replaced their traditional languages and now use English as their own. The influence of English can be noticed in the other African languages and Afrikaans, which have borrowed many English words. Code switching between the native language and English is now a common feature amongst the native languages in South Africa. (Gough, D. H.). To conclude with, this essay has explored widely the differences of the South African English and has proved why it is a variety and not just an accent by showing differences in grammar, lexis and pronunciation. Although the use of the language by the white community is relatively close to the English from the Southeast of England, when the indigenous population uses the language the differences are more remarkable. That is, as well, because it is not the mother tongue for many of them therefore their native languages will influence their use of the English language by introducing vocabulary from their native language when speaking English. This gives the South African English variety a great individual flavour that distinguishes it from the British English and other varieties of the English language. ...read more.

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