Cutting Remarks: The Dialogue Around Colourful Hair

“A strange girl picked up a piece of my hair and put it in her mouth, saying, ‘It looks like bubble gum, I wanna try eat it.’ I was horrified.” – Hairstylist, Gabrielle Oelofsen

If you sit on the University of Cape Town’s famous Jammie steps  – the ultimate place for procrastination, soaking up sunlight, and watching people trip – you’ll see all sorts of humans; amongst them are unicorns, phoenixes, and mermaids. When I started at UCT, the view from Jammie wasn’t as colourful. There were a few, but the growth over the past 4 years has been exponential.

Continue reading “Cutting Remarks: The Dialogue Around Colourful Hair”

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Like It or Not

“And then kind of maybe just go on international news like okay then I’ll just do the flavour of the week and be like Ireali Apartheid week.”

This was my friend discussing their blog ideas with me. (Wow! How meta? Blogging about the language used when discussing our blogs.) Those were their exact words. Notice anything? Like, maybe, like, every validation-seeking Facebook-user’s dream – a lot of ‘likes’.

It seems that older generations scorn ‘the kids these days’ for using like – even Kfm spent my entire drive through Cape Town traffic ranting about how irksome they find it. But like, I really like like.

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From Astrophysics to Linguistics, why I changed my degree

Since I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic and reflective over the past while, today’s post is more personal and less informative than usual. I would like to share some of my personal journey to discovering linguistics with you, along with the process of transferring from BSc to BA.

The other day, at a dinner party I wish I’d avoided, I told my best friend’s extended family that I study Linguistics and English Literature. They looked at me as if “that’s nice”, but their eyes were actually saying, a) I know about 100 other girls who study that, b) shame she’s never going to get a ‘good’ job, and c) well she’s obviously not at bright as him (the BSc Computer Science student). Continue reading “From Astrophysics to Linguistics, why I changed my degree”

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Stop Right Meow!

Picture this: A girl, surrounded by bubbles and dubiously suspending her phone a couple inches from the bathwater as she’s crying about the usual angsty life issues a 20-something faces on the precipice of graduation. She looks to her best friend and confidant, a lanky black cat named Monkey. She sobs, “I know I’m pathetic, but thanks for always listening”. Monkey stares blankly, he appears to just enjoy being near water and staring at naked bodies. Strange, pervy being.

“I don’t think anyone understands me like you do,” she adds, “I love you.” Like Bagheera from The Jungle Book (1967), he becomes more animated, stepping along the edges of the bath like a tight-rope walker. Once he’s close enough, he looks directly into her eyes before making the “prrrp!” sound that all cat-owners will know and love. Boop. He touches his nose against hers.

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Lekker/Lucker South African Speech

South Africans are infamous for giving bad directions, according people who are new to our beautiful country. They claim things like, “I was looking but I didn’t see any robots. I couldn’t find the turn off.” We take it for granted that ‘robot’ is exclusively used in South Africa as interchangeable with traffic light.

This rings true for different English-speaking countries, just look at the differences between American and British English. Cookies or biscuits? Candy or sweets? Jello or jelly? Ok, I’m going to stop listing these since I’m getting hungry. The point is, within the same language, there are many different words used for the same thing, and some of these depend on where you’re from. Linguists call theses regional dialects. Continue reading “Lekker/Lucker South African Speech”