SA English vs. British English

English Culture

This article on English colloquialisms within Britain should be considered a must read for all South Africans relocating to the UK. It’s a preparation guide to a new culture.

Theoretically we both speak English, however our dialect and interpretation differs. Inspired by a social media discussion, we wanted to share some of our top observations.


South African English vs. British English

  1. Bless not shame.
  2. Hiya not howzit.
  3. You alright? not How are you?
  4. Trousers not pants.
  5. Jumper not jersey.
  6. Trainers not tekkies.
  7. Wellies not gumboots.
  8. Tights not stockings.
  9. Nickers not panties.
  10. Crisps not chips.
  11. Pop not juice.
  12. Weet-A-Bix not weetbix.
  13. Bag not packet.
  14. Traffic light not robot.
  15. Roundabout not circle.
  16. Tangerine or clementine not naartjie.
  17. Yeah not ya.
  18. Dayta not dahta.
  19. Top up not airtime.
  20. Mobile not cellphone.
  21. Text not sms.
  22. Quid not bucks.
  23. Bloke not guy.
  24. Lad not boy.
  25. Boiler not geyser.
  26. Receipt not slip.
  27. Dinner not lunch.
  28. Tea not supper.
  29. Offie (Off licence) not liquor store.
  30. Football not soccer.
  31. Barbecue not braai.
  32. Corridor not passage.
  33. Knackered not tired.
  34. Crack on not focus.
  35. To be fair not to be honest.
  36. Sitting room not lounge.
  37. Snog not kissing.
  38. Posh not larney.
  39. Chemist not pharmacy.
  40. Poorly not sick.
  41. Well chuffed not very chuffed.
  42. Biro not pen.
  43. Lip balm not lip ice.
  44. Loo not toilet.
  45. No bother not No problem.
  46. Fit not attractive.
  47. Bank holiday not public holiday.
  48. Stopping over not sleeping over.
  49. Doing my head in not driving me crazy.
  50. Lugholes not ears.


We hope this useful understanding has taken you one step closer to understanding the British culture.

Contact us for more information on getting a Visa to the UK.


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