How To Speak With A South African Accent

How To Speak With A South African Accent

Learn How To Speak With A South African Accent ;

Do South African people have an accent?

There is no one, typical South African English accent as there is one overall Australian English accent.

What accent do South African speak?

While South Africans are known to have fairly unique English accents, they also have a range of “sub accents” (well, sort of), such as an Afrikaaner accent, Durban accent, Cape Town accent and so on. Yup; it can get pretty confusing at the end of the day.

Is the South African accent attractive?

The accent voted most attractive in the world is Irish. In several surveys the South African Afrikaans accent has also been voted one of the sexiest accents on the planet.

Key to pronunciation ; South African English

South African EnglishAs in…
fleece
ihappy
ɪkit
edress
ætrap
ɑːbath, start, palm
ɒlot, cloth
ʌcup
ʊfoot
ɜːnurse
ɪəhere
ɛːsquare
ʊəcure
ɔːhawk, force
goose
əalpha, letter
face
pride
mouth
əʊgoat
ɔɪchoice

The symbols used for several of the South African vowels are less precise than their use in other varieties. For example, in some words the /ɪ/ vowel will sound closer to /ə/ whilst still being in a stressed syllable. Some vowels reflected as /ɒ/ may sound similar to /ɔː/ but significantly shorter. Some vowels transcribed as /e/ may sound longer, or some transcribed as /eɪ/ sound more steady (a sound like /eː/). In some words, /ʌ/ and /æ/ may also sound very similar to each other.

Consonants

South African EnglishAs in…
bbig /bɪɡ/
ddig /dɪɡ/
jet /dʒet/
ðthen /ðen/
ffig /fɪɡ/
ɡget /ɡet/
hhead /hed/
jyes /jes/
kkit /kɪt/
lleg /leɡ/
ɬɬeg lekgotla /leˈɡɒtɬə/
mmud /mʌd/
nnet /net/
ŋthing /θɪŋ/
ppit /pɪt/
rred /red/
ssit /sɪt/
ʃship /ʃɪp/
ttip /tɪp/
chip /tʃɪp/
θthin /θɪn/
vvet /vet/
wwin /wɪn/
zzip /zɪp/
ʒvision /ˈvɪʒ(ə)n/
xagterskot /ˈʌxtəskɒt/

The consonants l, m, and n can take on the function of a vowel in some unstressed syllables. It should generally be clear when this interpretation is intended, but in cases of potential ambiguity, the consonant symbol may appear with a diacritic, as in the British and U.S. pronunciations. A bracketed /(ə)/ indicates that some speakers may not pronounce the /ə/; in some cases this means the following consonant would take on the function of the vowel (e.g. U.S. saddle /ˈsæd(ə)l/).

Afrikaans uses a sound similar to /t/ and /k/ but made in the same part of the mouth as /j/, which may appear in some speakers’ pronunciations in English, but the OED reflects their common anglicized forms of /tʃ/ or /k/. Similarly, African click sounds are shown as their common anglicized forms, highly variable but often as /g/, /k/ and/or /h/.

Syllable-final /b/, /d/, /g/, /v/, /ð/, /z/, /ʒ/ and /dʒ/ may be often pronounced as their voiceless counterparts (/p/, /t/, /k/, /f/, /θ/, /s/, /ʃ/ and /tʃ/, respectively) and both options are usually given (e.g. baardman /ˈbɑːdmən, ˈbɑːtmən/, but baartman only /ˈbɑːtmən/).

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