Home » Dictionary » Ja well no fine

Ja well no fine

Ja well no fine
 other.— «Consider the local expression, “Ja, well, no fine.”….Is it one word? Does it have commas? Even the Dictionary of South African English stumbles: “to explain this to a non-South African is a challenge.” A few years ago, the former radio broadcaster RJB Wilson, who coined the expression back in 1978, tried to explain it. “My youngest brother,” he wrote, “was in the habit of saying ‘no fine’ to everything that really required a ‘c’est la vie’ or ‘that’s the way the cookie crumbles.’ It had a nice South African feel to it. I added ‘Ja, well…’ to it to reinforce the South Africanism.”» —“Letter from South Africa: Blend of Languages Hard to Digest” by Kurt Shillinger in Johannesburg, South Africa Boston Globe Oct. 22, 2000. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Further reading

Kenspeckle

In Scotland and Northern England, something that’s kenspeckle is “conspicuous.” This word likely comes from Scandinavian languages and is related to English ken, meaning “range of knowledge.” And it’s not just ken...

At First Blush (episode #1529)

Book recommendations and the art of apology. Martha and Grant share some good reads, including an opinionated romp through English grammar, a Spanish-language adventure novel, an account of 19th-century dictionary wars, and a gorgeously illustrated...