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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

Wondrous Words Wednesday … June 22nd 2011


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My words this week are a little different …

They come from a book that I have just finished, ‘Thirteen Hours’ by Deon Meyer.

Deon Meyer, is a South African author, whose books are initially published in his native Africaans, then translated into English and many other languages.

The book itself was fantastic, edge-of-the-seat stuff, but did seem to have more words left in their original format, than others of his books that I have read. Whilst it didn’t really spoil my enjoyment too much and  I could pretty much work out some of the meanings of the words, I had to keep stopping to check, just in case ….

I could quite see then, why many of them had not been translated, as several of them were slang words or expletives. I thought that I would share a few of the more conventional words with you.

Bakkie – “Then he would turn into Adderley and wave at the flowr sellers offloading stock from the Bakkies at the Golden Acre …”

Bakkie – A South African noun, meaning a pick-up truck.

Zol – “I went for an audition with his band and afterwards we went to his flat in Park Road and had a Zol and then sex.”

Zol – A South African slang word for a cannabis cigarette.

Oke – “That Oke was at their table last night.”

Oke – A South African informal word for a man.

Jislaaik – “Thanks, guys, jislaaik, I’ve never seen this much money.”

Jislaaik – A South African word for Wow!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.  It is hosted by Kathy, over at BermudaOnion’s Weblog. You can either stop by and leave a link to your own ‘mystery’ words of the week, or just browse the eclectic mix of words that others have discovered, there is always a great selection.


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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Kathy,

      ‘Oke’ and ‘Zol’ don’t sound too bad when said out loud, but add in the South African accent and I wouldn’t even begin to get the pronunciation correct!!!

  • What interesting words! It’s always fun to read books set in unfamiliar countries – then we can learn all sorts of new slang and dialect words. Thanks for sharing. If you get a chance, my words are here.

    • Hi Julie,

      I think that reading books from countries we are unfamiliar with, is a great idea. The whole perspective of a story changes when penned by a hand where English isn’t the first language, with social comment and the local way of life all crystalising into a read which becomes much more exciting and interesting.

      I have thoroughly enjoyed Deon Meyer’s South African books and also Australian author Dean Mayes.

  • Don’t you just love books that take you to places in the world you know you never physically be able to visit? The nice thing about this book is it lets you hear some of the language there, as if you were visiting. I like “oke” and I suspect it came from the British slang word bloke, which also means a man, or a guy as we would say.

    • Hi Margot,

      I think that I may search for an International Book Challenge next year, that sounds as if it could be quite fun.

      ‘Oke’ is definitely listed as deriving from an Afrikaans word, but as that would probably be Dutch in origin, who knows, there may be some English somewhere!!

      I have since discovered that ‘Oke’ is also a unit of weight, equivalent to about 2lb, in Turkey and other countries of the Near East.

Written by Yvonne