20 South African Words Added To the Oxford English Dictionary

20 South African Words Added To the Oxford English Dictionary

The latest update to the Oxford English dictionary constitutes of a section of South African words. These are words already common in the country, relating to geography, political, cultural or social events.

Words included in the OED makes South-African have a sense of belonging according Dr Philip Louw, the dictionary content development manager at Oxford University Press South Africa.

It is really exciting to be involved in the OED’s efforts to document South African English more comprehensively,” he said.

“As a historical dictionary, the OED not only captures the development of our unique variety of English, but also the history of our country as it’s reflected in the language that we use to define our reality.

“The picture is not always a simple one, though, and this latest update is no exception: the included words bear witness to a painful past and attempts at redress, while also casting light on the rich cultural diversity of our nation.

Black economic empowerment, black empowerment, and BEE are among those included in the update. These have been words used to describe government programmes towards curbing unemployment and other economic crisis during apartheid.

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Most of the words included however are more of a social nature.

For example Hok or Hokkie both explains various kind of small or confined spaces: a shack or an enclosure for domestic animals.

A lapa describes a precinct for cooking or socializing which sometimes it may be covered by a roof. A lapa may also mean an enclosed area comprising of several huts belonging to a particular group of people.

Lekgotla is an enclosure where people of a certain community or village gather to discuss important issues. It is also a traditional court of law consisting of village members.

Two words of Zulu origin are also included in the update. Imbizo is a meeting or gathering of the Zulu people called by a traditional leader, while Isicathamiya is a style of unaccompanied singing originating amongst rural Zulu male choirs.

Dof means, dim-witted or uninformed while Joburg and Jozi are nicknames for the city Johannesburg.

Bok is a nickname for the South African national rugby team, and it’s also used to describe an antelope or a goat.

You can see the full list of the added names here. Alternatively, below are the outlined additions.

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