Die Platteland

Of all the accents in the world, this one has my heart–the language of my people. South Africans. As we’ve seen, every country has become a great melting pot in its own right. So what makes my homeland so different? Why is it that people all over the world can’t seem to get our accent and manner right? For some reason the movies (unless there’s a South African actor) just never get our accent right. Why is this? Why is it so hard? For one thing our accent is very flat, some language trainer even called it lazy. We are very similar to the British in our nonrhotic manner. This just means that we pronounce our “r” sound before a vowel, very similar to the British. (We’ll talk about why that is later). I find it easier to take on our accent if you can speak a little Afrikaans. Run this phrase through Google translate and let it pronounce it for you, “Wors is wors.” It’s a phrase my old school teacher used to use. It’s an Afrikaans phrase meaning, “That’s just how it is.” In case you’re wondering why I’m saying that it is easier to take on our accent if you know Afrikaans, it is because of all the 11 official languages in South Africa, the Dutch and British languages had the biggest influence.

Speech

When you try to take on a language you don’t know or an accent you don’t know, the rules are very similar. Immerse yourself in their culture, learn their mannerisms and, most importantly, listen. What am I getting at? Before you try to mimic our accent, listen. I learnt Afrikaans by having Afrikaans friends and, yes, I was raised in South Africa, but my Afrikaans was horrid. If you want some tips on learning how to speak with our accent, remember to listen and learn. I know it seems as though I’m repeating myself, but that is really important.

Letters like “r”, in a nonrhotic manner are pronounced immediately before a vowel, (I know I mentioned this above already), but also in our accent you need to think about an “h” before your “r” sound. In other words, the “r” is pronounced as a neutral vowel. At the end of the word our “t” sound is spat out. Sometimes the “a” sound is pronounced “eh” such as in “m-eh-n” as opposed to “m-a-n”. Here we can see the Dutch influence through our Afrikaans language. Although our accent may have a British tinge to it, it doesn’t mean British slang is similar to our slang or accent. All this is coloured by the 11 official languages and others, not yet, recognized languages.

Slang

So now let’s talk about our slang. I’ve explained our language and how and why we say certain things the way we do. Most of our slang needs to be taken into context. Slang such as “ugh shame” can mean anything from “how cute” to “I feel bad for you”. In most nations it is used in a negative light, not in South Africa. When we say, “Yoh! Yoh! Yoh!” It’s an African phrase that the English and Afrikaans have taken as slang for “My goodness!” or “Wow!”. Other words such as “Eina!” (Khoi-san for ‘ouch!’), “veldt” (Afrikaans for ‘open field’ or ‘prairie’) are very good examples. Our 11 officially recognized languages have a massive impact on our language, by integrating themselves into our dialect especially in areas like Cape Town and Johannesburg where you can plainly see the impact these 11 official languages have on our South African slang and accent. Unfortunately, not all these languages are recognized as official but maybe someday they will be and there’ll be more of them impacting our children in schools as they grow up with greater exposure to them, thus further colouring our culture and speech.

Historical Influence

Remember when I said I’d talk about why we have the same nonrhotic manner as the British? In the year 1822, the English language became an official language. Although…another language had already made its way to the shores of what would later become South Africa, specifically the Cape–the Dutch (now the Afrikaans language). They had settled a colony and lived there since the year 1652, making them the first foreign nation to have made their home in Africa. This all due to the Dutch East Indian Company which had reached its shores in the same year. However the British settlers’ desire to make English the dominant language soon became evident by the introducing of British schoolmasters and Scottish clergymen for the influence of schools and churches. In the 1840s and 1850s more British settlers arrived accompanied by the men and women who would soon settle the area known as Natal. Most of these settlers were either aristocrats or retired military personnel. These people were mostly standard speakers of the English language. Although before the introduction of the ANC in 1994, the two main spoken languages were English and Afrikaans.

Conclusion

Our accent and language have many languages influencing it. This you can see when you hear an Afrikaans or English speaking person mix in one of the African languages and in the same breath throw in some Afrikaans and English in one fluid sentence. We are a diverse nation and no matter where you go, a new and exciting version of English emerges.

God bless/God se├źn/Inkosi ikubusise. Stay safe, my darling avidReaders.

Mermaids of the Klein Karoo

Courtesy of Pinterest

We all know mermaids are fiction, but let us consider something: What if they were real? What if someone somewhere had seen such a creature? In the past sightings of mermaids have always turned out to be fakes. People who used Photoshop or it was discovered that what was actually see was a manatee or dugong. This is such a frequent mistake that these sea creatures have been classified as Sirenia. This has only brought discredit to the belief that such creatures exist. Still some believe they have seen and heard things to make them believe such creatures exist.

The mermaids of the Klein Karoo are said to lure their victims to their watery deaths. This is backed-up by claims that many unmarked graves have been found–the victims of mermaids. Many associate mermaids with Ariel, but these vicious creatures are nothing like the Little Mermaid. They are in fact tricksters doing everything they can to lure their victims to a watery grave. They possess pale skin, long black hair and red eyes.

One particular place among the windy rivers and roads in the canyon Meiringspoort, just outside the town of De Rust are frequent reports about a mermaid residing nearby one of the rock pools. The area is known by locals to be her home and such sightings are nothing new to them. Many locals have claimed to have spotted a mermaid sitting on the edge of a mountain rock pool combing her long black hair.

The Meiringspoort Flood

In the year 1996, a flood occurred in Meiringspoort. This incident caused a revival in the belief of mermaids. Mermaids are believed by some to be a spirit haunting the area and a clairvoyant even claimed to have contacted one of these spirits. The clairvoyant claimed that the spirit’s name was Eporia. This spirit is claimed to either be a sinister spirit associated with the demonic entities of the Eseljagtspoort outside Oudtshoorn or a victim carried away by the waters of the Meiringspoort flood.

The Khoi-San Rock Paintings

In 1875, a Bushman related to a local farmer the tale of the Eseljagtspoort water spirit. This creature took the form of a woman and lured men only to later drown them in the depths. It is here that one still see rock painting drawn by the Khoi-San of what they know to be mermaids. These depictions lead us to believe that tales of these mythological creatures have been around for centuries. When asked about these creatures(also known as the Watermeid) locals were terrified, speaking in hushed whispers. They were fearful of these vicious creatures and feared that they would become the mermaid’s next victim. These stories and drawings can be seen and heard all over the Klein Karoo and the Khoi-San people’s rock paintings are found in Eseljagtspoort, just outside the town of Oudtshoorn.

What is a Mermaid?

Well, we know what a mermaid’s physical features are: face of a beautiful woman, lovely long hair, torso of a woman with her lower abdomen and legs replaced by the tail of a fish. However, there has been much discussion in folklore about these sirens of the sea. As children we all were raised with the story of the Little Mermaid with her lovely singing voice causing a handsome prince to fall in love with her. Now, as adults, we watch Pirates of the Caribbean and the series Siren, causing us to question whether what we know of mermaids are true or not. The Greeks had their priestesses of the Isle of Pleasure. Pirates believed that the siren’s song was to fear as they would drag you to the depths. In the series Grimm, they are depicted as beautiful women who can only have children with human men. Every culture will no doubt have their own take on these mythical beings–all with their own unique names and varying attributes. I have only mentioned a few depictions, but, if one has to go into all the different mythologies concerning these creatures, you will no doubt find many similarities. This is enough to make us wonder if mermaids are real? Are they perhaps manifestations of evil spirits as the Buhsman told the farmer? Or is it just that they are falsely identified? There will always be speculation around them. I, personally am more likely to believe the Bushman’s story and lean towards them being evil spirits. You will notice with my writing that I strongly believe that a lot of what we imagine to be ghosts, dwarves or aliens are demonic manifestations. This is just my opinion on the subject and I am, by no means, a professor of Cryptozoology. Thus I cannot claim to know everything about the field. So, I encourage you to dig deep and draw your own conclusions.

As always, I love hearing what you have to say about my articles and what you believe. So, if you have any opinions on this topic or perhaps have your own story to tell, please put it in the comments. I would love to hear!

Good night all my darling avidReaders. God bless you as you awake to another bright day tomorrow.