Wednesday 19 September 2012

Ah Big Yaws?

Having been in South Africa for all of a few hours, I have, of course, bought myself a dictionary. I can't help it and I admit that I have a problem. In this case I have bought a copy of Ah Big Yaws? A Guard to Sow Theffricun Innglissh by Rawbone Malong, which helpfully renders English phrases into South African pronunciation. For example, the title means "I beg yours", as in pardon.

The idea is that if a Woozer says "Big poured in?", you should and could reply "Ah big yaws."

As the book itself explains "Wyall, uttsa saw-toffa-kine-doffa guard to yow peeble spick."

Just say it aloud and it'll all make sense. In a few months, I'll be fluent.


  1. Translation?

    "Well, its a sort of a kind of a guide to how people speak"

    I must add, I'm not a 'Saffer' myself. I have had to work alongside a few of them though.


    From the '60s, the definitive guide to Australian

  3. First of all, as this is my first comment though I have been following your superb and delightful blog for some time, may I say thank you for all the scrumptious scraps you toss our way.
    Secondly, as Rob Young points out, the definitive guides to Australian - "Let Stalk Strine" and to Received Pronunciation - "Fraffly Well Spoken" were written by Alastair Ardoch Morrison under the name Afferbeck Lauder and published in 1965 and 1968. They were followed by "Nose Tone Unturned" and "Fraffly Suite". I'm sure you know all this but these "exercises de style" enchanted me back then and still do today. It's good to know the tradition is being kept up.

  4. I think Lee Mack says it better than I ever could, even if I am an Aussie working with Saffas in England.

    1. Now it would come in really handi
      If Lee Mack had a locus standi.

  5. Thanks Laura - today I too resolved to say something for the first time after following this great blog for a while AND I was going to share Afferbeck Lauder. Or, in other words, "Egg jelly, aorta dunnit garbler mince oilier"...

  6. To Timpinen: Great minds ...
    or ...
    the oilier boid ... (bit of a mash-up there)

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  8. Rawbone may have been at your launch; I saw him in the foyer of the Fugard during the festival.

    These days, he runs Junkets Publishing and, in between, he edited the best South African poetry anthology for schools ever.