Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pudding That’s Not Pudding

If you ever hear “Bring your costume and some pudding” in South Africa, you’ll know this is a swimming party with a dessert potluck (that is not likely to include actual pudding, as you know it).

Here are a few “must know” terms for your next trip to South Africa…

Costume (or Cozie) = Swimming Suit (as in “swimming costume”)
Context: Bring your cozie!

Commentary: When I first heard someone say “Bring your costume!” I thought, “Costume? Princess? Pirate? Dinosaur? I don’t have a costume!”

Now Now = sooner than Now

Context: I’ll be there now now.

Commentary: People say this all the time. “Now Now.” From what I’ve been able to gather from several different sources – this is the equivalent of “asap” or “right now.” Of course this is Africa – so it’s not lightning quick or anything – it just means “I’m STARTING to head in that direction.”

Pudding = Dessert

Context: Do you want some pudding?

Commentary: Pudding here is the generic term for dessert. Odd. A South African was telling me she had asked an American to bring pudding to a pot luck dinner and she brought with a bowl of chocolate pudding (as I most certainly would have). The confused South African said, “What’s this?” and the American said, “Pudding, of course!” So they served the pudding for pudding!

Force Cup = Plunger

Context: Well…we better go get a force cup.

Commentary: We’ve been in Africa for about a year now – and had to buy our first “force cup” recently. When Karl asked the Pick N Pay (grocery store) employee where to find a plunger – they looked at him like he was crazy – after several hand motions (don’t picture it), they pointed him to the “force cup” section.

Half Past Eleven = 11:30

Context: Meet me for lunch at half past 11.

Commentary: The most exact time gets here is 15 minute increments - “quarter past,” “half past,” or “quarter till”. Saying 11:15 or 11:45 is not common. I asked a friend once, “What if you had an appointment at 9:10 am? How would you say that?” She said, “Why would you have an appointment at 9:10?” Shouldn’t they just make it for quarter past?” Ahh…good point– it seems it’s just us Americans that like to be so precise. How I miss a movie with a show time at 8:25 pm!


  1. In Ireland "togs" mean swimming trunks, "boot" is the trunk of a car, "dummy" is a pacifier, and they say "half-eleven." :)

  2. just had the "now now" conversation this morning. hers's what i got...there is
    "right now" -as in right now.
    "now now" - as in within say, ummm 15minutes.
    "now"- which is ?? now i guess.

    and what a hoot about the 9:10 appt. makes me think we try to squeeze way to much in our day back in the U.S. don't u think?

    haven't needed a force cup yet...good to know for when that fun time arrives:)

    love ya! court

  3. Darling,

    In the tiny village of Newell, South Dakota - where some of my extended family lives- they also say half past. They would TOTALLY get on well in South Africa

  4. And I meant where some of my family live - not lives. Girl I need to be able to get in there an edit! Yes, I'm drinking wine.