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South African English


South African English (SAfrE, SAfrEng, SAE, en-ZA) is the set of English dialects spoken by South Africans. There is considerable social and regional variation within South African English. Three variants (termed "The Great Trichotomy" by Roger Lass) are commonly identified within White South African English (as in Australian English), spoken primarily by White South Africans: "Cultivated", closely approximating England's standard Received Pronunciation and associated with the upper class; "General", a social indicator of the middle class; and "Broad", associated with the working class, and closely approximating the second-language Afrikaner variety called Afrikaans English. At least two sociolinguistic variants have been definitively studied on a post-creole continuum for the second-language Black South African English spoken by most Black South Africans: a high-end, prestigious "acrolect" and a more middle-ranging, mainstream "mesolect". Other varieties of South African English include Cape Flats English, originally associated with inner-city Cape Coloured speakers, and the Indian South African English of Indian South Africans. Further offshoots include the first-language English varieties spoken by Zimbabweans, Zambians, Swazilanders and Namibians.

Like English in southern England, such as London, South African English is non-rhotic (except for some Afrikaans-influenced speakers, see below) and features the trap–bath split.


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