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Learn the Afrikaans Alphabet from A to Z!

Learning to speak a new language is exciting; learning to write a new language is even more exciting! It will open new worlds for you. So, dig into these tips and advice for learning how to master the Afrikaans alphabet easily - at AfrikaansPod101 we make it easy, fun and relevant for you!

Starting anything from scratch can be challenging, especially if you learn how to write in a language completely different from your own. It is really like navigating through a territory that is completely unknown to you.

However, this need not be a big hurdle or a problem! At AfrikaansPod101, we introduce you to Afrikaans writing in simple, easy-to-follow steps, and you can ask for advice or help anywhere along the way. It is important to master the Afrikaans alphabet completely from the start.

Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Afrikaans!

If you want to master the Afrikaans language and become fluent, get this Afrikaans eBook!
You need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Afrikaans learning beginners!

Free Afrikaans eBook

Download your Free Afrikaans practice sheets PDF today and learn the Afrikaans language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Introduction to Afrikaans Writing


The Afrikaans writing systems uses a phonetic alphabet. The oldest example of written Afrikaans is a religious book about Islam. The Cape Malay community were the first people to write in Afrikaans.

In the mid to late nineteenth century, more and more books written in Afrikaans starting appearing. Many people consider the first authoritative text about Afrikaans and written in Afrikaans to be L.H. Meurant’s Zamenspraak tusschen Klaas Waarzegger en Jan Twyfelaar, published in 1861.

Gradually the written language became standardized, and is now regulated by a government organization known as Taal Komissie. Many sounds from Dutch that were obsolete in Afrikaans were replaced, such as ch which became g, and sch which became sk.

Afrikaans is the most published language in South Africa after English, with a strong tradition of literature, much of which is recognized and appreciated worldwide.

Nowadays, the Afrikaans alphabet, which is based on the Latin alphabet, counts twenty-six characters. There are some letter combinations you won’t find in English, such as oe in the word boek, (”book.”) It is pronounced like in English, but sounds a little bit more like “fluke.”

Another combo is y and ei,both of which sound like “y.”

The Afrikaans language has a relatively high proportion of doubled letters, both vowels and consonants, like oo in boom (”tree”) and uu in muur (”wall”) or ee in eet “to eat.”). The word voorraaddoos (”supply box”), for example, contains five consecutive doubled letters.

Afrikaans Alphabet Chart

Alphabet The Afrikaans language uses the Afrikaans alphabet. The alphabet used in South Africa is based on the Latin alphabet. The first written materials in Afrikaans were about Islam. So, actually, the first time Afrikaans was ever written down, it was written in the Arabic alphabet! Then, later, it was written in the Latin alphabet, largely based on how Afrikaans is spoken. Some of the oldest surviving texts written by Afrikaans people in South Africa were actually written in Dutch, as Afrikaans was still considered just a dialect. But as early as the 1700s, Dutch traders were reporting that people in South Africa were speaking what they called verkeerd Nederlands, or “incorrect Dutch”. But by the mid-19th century more and more books started appearing written in Afrikaans itself. Still, it wasn’t until 1925 that Afrikaans was recognized as an official language.Afrikaans spelling is almost completely phonetic, meaning you write it like you hear it. The Afrikaans alphabet consists of twenty-six letters:
six vowels, and twenty consonants add up to 26 letters, just like in English. However, the combinations made and pronunciation can be different. Some sounds that exist in Afrikaans words simply don’t exist in English words.There are also 13 letters with special characters, or diacritics. All of the special characters in Afrikaans are there so it can be read easily, and to show the difference between sounds.The Afrikaans language has a relatively high proportion of doubled letters, both vowels and consonants. Like the oo in boom, meaning “tree” and the uu in muur, meaning “wall,” or ee in eet, meaning “to eat.”The HAT is the most important dictionary of the modern Afrikaans language. Its full name is the Verklarende Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal, but it is commonly called HAT for short.

Letter (Uppercase and Lowercase)

Name of the Letter in Afrikaans

A a aa
B b bee
C c see
D d dee
E e ee
F f ef
G g gee
H h haa
I i ie
J j jee
K k kaa
L l el
M m em
N n en
O o oo
P p pee
Q q kuu
R r er
S s es
T t tee
U u uu
V v vee
W w wee
X x ex
Y y y
Z z set

Why is Learning the Afrikaans Alphabet Important?

AlphabetA language’s alphabet is its building blocks. Trying to learn how to write in Afrikaans without first learning its alphabet is a bit like trying to build a brick house without touching the individual bricks! It is impossible to do a good job that way. So don’t believe language schools and methods that try to teach you otherwise. You will regret it later.

Also, once you start recognizing symbols and words, you will be encouraged by your own progress and motivated to learn even faster. Even just learning the basics of the alphabet will allow you to start recognizing simple Afrikaans words, and it will feel great!

Furthermore, knowing the alphabet even helps with pronunciation, as learning the individual letters of any language will start uncovering nuances and intricacies that are not always apparent when you’re simply listening to the words.

Completely mastering the Afrikaans alphabet, no matter how long it takes, will give you an excellent head start in learning how to write and read the language. It will offer you a solid foundation on which to build the other language skills, so set a goal to learn the alphabet so well that you’re able to recite it in your sleep!

Read on for helpful tips and secrets to learning the Afrikaans alphabet quickly and effectively.

How to Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Afrikaans

Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Afrikaans!

If you want to master the Afrikaans language and become fluent, get this Afrikaans eBook!
You need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Afrikaans learning beginners!

Free Afrikaans eBook

Download your Free Afrikaans practice sheets PDF today and learn the Afrikaans language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Log in with Your Free Lifetime Account and we’ll give you a bundle of PDF cheat sheet including Survival Phrases, Romantic Lines, Learning Tips… — absolutely Free!

3 Reasons to Learn Afrikaans Through PDF Lessons

Let’s now take a closer look at how studying Afrikaans lessons in PDF format can help you reach your dream in up to half the time of normal video or audio lessons!

① Saves Minutes on Your Data Plan

Learning Afrikaans through PDF lessons can dramatically reduce your data use. Once a lesson or tool is downloaded, you can then access it offline via your computer or smartphone any time or place regardless of Internet access. And once you’ve download the Afrikaans lessons in PDF format, you can actually access them faster than logging in and trying to do so via a live site. So not only will learning Afrikaans using PDF lessons save minutes on your data plan—it will save you some significant time as well as the lessons add up!

② Print and Take All Afrikaans Lessons and PDF Tools With You Anywhere

Sometimes, a tiny smartphone screen just isn’t adequate, especially when you are trying to learn something new. The great thing about PDF lessons, tools or files is that they can be quickly printed and taken anywhere after you download them. In fact, printing out Afrikaans lessons in PDF format can actually save you time when compared to going through the material on a smartphone with a small screen—even with the extra printing time!

③ Great Study Tool to Boost Retention and Mastery

Studying video or audio lessons online is a great way to learn a language because students can play and rewind sections as many times as needed until the lesson is mastered. But when you review the same Afrikaans lessons again in PDF format, an incredible thing happens: your retention dramatically improves! Thanks to Time Spaced Repetition, seeing the information again in written format helps reinforce the information in your mind and improves both retention and recall. The benefits of learning Afrikaans using PDF lessons quickly add up to significant time savings for you, your data plan, and your dream of learning a new language!

Why are we giving it away?

Learning to read and write is a must for all beginners. Although you get video lessons on how to write in Afrikaans at AfrikaansPod101, you’ll still need physical worksheets to practice on. That’s why you’re getting this printable tutorial PDFs as a gift.

Secrets to Learning the Afrikaans Alphabet Fast

SecretWith a language, like with anything you have to learn from scratch, having a few mnemonic devices handy are key to learning it fast. A mnemonic device is basically any method or technique that helps you to retain or commit something to memory more easily.

Here are a few mnemonic devices to memorize the Afrikaans alphabet so you can speed up learning how to write in Afrikaans.

① Find and Learn an Alphabet Song or Poem in Afrikaans

Can you still remember your childhood alphabet song in your own language? The best way to commit it to memory so you can recite it is still your mom or first teacher’s way - with music, a song and/or a poem! Find a recording and learn to sing the song, or recite the poem along as best as you can. Ask your AfrikaansPod101 teacher to help you understand exactly what you are singing or saying, and soon you’ll have reciting the alphabet under your belt! Repeat it out loud as often as possible.

However, you still need to learn how to write it.

② Study a Few Letters At a Time

Remember when you were young and learning to write for the first time? You didn’t start with words or sentences; you started with letters, one at a time!

Decide on tackling only a few letters each week, and then don’t move on from these till you are completely familiar with them. Don’t take on too many at once, or you may become discouraged. Also, remember to ask your teacher at AfrikaansPod101 if you have questions!

Learn to incidentally spot the letters in books, road signs (If you’re living in the country), magazines, on TV, anywhere you encounter written Afrikaans. Remember to write them out!

③ Write Out the Letters of the Alphabet By Hand

Make it a goal to write out your week’s letters at least once a day, and commit to this goal. You can also do it every time you have a free moment. Get yourself a special notebook for this purpose that you can carry with you anywhere you go. Sitting on the train or bus? Waiting for someone somewhere? Whip out your notebook and write the Afrikaans alphabet, or the letters you are learning. Aim for about 20 repetitions, while silently saying the letter in your head as you write it out. This way, you will soon be able to form and write words all by yourself! Exciting, isn’t it?

Writing something down with a pen also seems to engrave it in the brain in a way that nothing else does. As an added benefit, it gives you the satisfaction of seeing a new language in your own writing!

Once you’ve mastered the whole alphabet, commit to writing it out in its entirety at least once a day, for at least one month. More repetitions are obviously better.

④ Involve Your Whole Body

Research has shown that the more senses and actions we use to learn something, the quicker the new information sticks in the memory and becomes habitual. To apply this principle while learning the Afrikaans alphabet, write out huge letters by tracing them in the soil, or with chalk on the floor. Now, while saying the letter out loud, walk on the lines you have just traced. In this way, you ‘write’ the letter by moving your whole body!

Having fun just makes it even easier to learn something, so why not ‘write’ the letters out with dance steps while moving to your favorite Afrikaans music!

This is a simple trick that seems silly, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you will commit intricate letters to memory this way. It really works!

⑤ Use Associations To Memorize Letters

This technique would involve saying the Afrikaans letter out loud, and then thinking of a word in your own language that sounds the same as the letter. That would then create a phonic association that should make it easier for you to remember the letter. Better even if the association is something you can draw or picture.

If the script of the new alphabet is very different from your own, look at it closely, and see if you can find an image that the letter reminds you of

⑥ Now Have Fun Trying To Write Words!

Try to write words from your own language in Afrikaans, and ask your friendly AfrikaansPod101 teachers for feedback! Or post them on the forum and see if anyone can read them. You will be so pleased with yourself when you start writing words that are readable and recognizable by native speakers.

Related Lessons

How to Say Hello in Afrikaans
Do you know how to say hello in Afrikaans? It’s the most basic phrase that you’ll need to say and hear in everyday life. If you don’t know yet, learn 15 ways to say hello and greet others in Afrikaans. Why 15? The more variations you know, the more you can speak and the more fluent you become!
How to Introduce Yourself in Afrikaans
Can you introduce yourself in Afrikaans? Don’t worry! Check out the 10 Afrikaans Lines You Need To Introduce Yourself with this free Review Sheet. From “My name is…“ and “I live in…” down to “My hobbies are…” Just review the 10 lines. It will only take you 2 minutes. Then, introduce yourself in the comment section below!
Top Afrikaans Phrases
How good is your Afrikaans? Care to put it to the test? Here’s the deal! We’ve come up with this must-know Afrikaans Phrases List. Learn the top 25 Afrikaans phrases, hear the native pronunciation and put your Afrikaans to the test. Did you know them all? If not, review the list and master these easy phrases!
How to Say Thank You in Afrikaans
Has anyone thanked you today? We will. Thank you for reading this article and learning with us! In fact, today, you’ll learn the many different ways to say “Thank You” in Afrikaans. It’s one of the most important Afrikaans phrases. Check it out and watch the video too to practice your pronunciation.

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