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Easily Master the Most Common Advanced Afrikaans Words

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Wow, congratulations—you’re at an advanced level in your Afrikaans studies! Good for you. 

Hopefully, you won’t stop now, because there’s a lot more to master. To help you, we have compiled some advanced Afrikaans words and phrases in the most pertinent categories for easy access and assimilation. If you want to improve your advanced Afrikaans vocabulary, wordlists like these are among the best tools to use. Also, feel free to ask us in the comments if anything needs clarification.

Remember to keep your learning fun by using fun resources. For instance, take a look at this article about a great online resource that’s completely free!

Woman with Two Flowers in Front of Her Eyes

Onthou om jou studies te geniet. / “Remember to enjoy your studies.”

Great! Let’s get busy with the most common Afrikaans advanced words right away.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. General Advanced Afrikaans Words
  2. Advanced Business Vocabulary (Gevorderde Besigheidswoordeskat)
  3. Advanced Medical Vocabulary (Gevorderde Mediese Woordeskat)
  4. Advanced Legal Vocabulary (Gevorderde Wetswoordeskat)
  5. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Ace Advanced Afrikaans Words?

1. General Advanced Afrikaans Words

1.1 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Verbs (Werkwoorde)

#1. Argumenteer / DebatteerMens kan argumenteer dat hierdie nie altyd van toepassing is nie.

Ons kan ure hieroor debateer.
To argue, reason, or debateOne can argue that this is not always applicable.

We can debate this for hours.
#2. Redeneer / BeredeneerMens kan redeneer oor die toepaslikheid van
gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde in hierdie konteks.
One can debate the appropriateness of advanced Afrikaans words in this context.

Note: Many Afrikaans verbs are popular Anglicisms, meaning that they sound just like their English counterparts. They are used by Afrikaans speakers despite the fact that, for the most part, there are perfectly good Afrikaans equivalents. In a sense, Anglicisms are like alien plant species—they sound fine and “work” in a sentence, but they are not historically native to the language.

#1 is the Anglicism and #2 is purer Afrikaans. Not always, but most often, the words can be used interchangeably.

Bring … bymekaarBring die twee bymekaar.
To bring togetherBring the two together.

BegeleiDie klavier begelei die fluit in hierdie sonata.
To accompanyThe piano is accompanying the flute in this sonata.

Begeef / BegeweEk begeef my in die ysige water.

Waarin het jy jouself nou begewe?
To venture into something despite skepticism and/or fearI venture into the icy water.

What did you get yourself into now?

Man Swimming in Ice-covered Water

VoldoenDie Mount Nelson hotel voldoen aan die hoogste standaarde.
To conformThe Mount Nelson Hotel conforms to the highest standards.

VerskoonVerskoon my, waar is die lys met gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde en frases, asseblief?
To pardonPardon me, where is the list with advanced Afrikaans words and phrases, please?

VergeselVergesel die kliënt na die uitgang toe, asseblief.

Asseblief sal jy my vergesel na die funksie toe?
To escort or accompanyEscort the client to the exit, please.

Will you please accompany me to the function?

WeerhouSy weerhou haarself van koffie-drink tydens Lydenstyd.

Hy weerhou ‘n skerp antwoord.
To abstain from or to hold backShe abstains from drinking coffee during Lent.

He holds back a sharp retort.

Cup of Coffee with Coffee Beans in Saucer

 weerhou haarself van koffie-drink tydens Lydenstyd. / “She abstains from drinking coffee during Lent.”

1.2 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Adjectives (Byvoeglike Naamwoorde)

Learn more about Afrikaans adjectives in this article: The Essential Afrikaans Adjectives List

BepaaldOns gebruik bepaalde en gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde in meeste vakgebiede.
Specific / ParticularWe use specific and advanced Afrikaans words in most fields of study.

BesonderHierdie is ‘n besondere stuk musiek.
Uncommon / ExtraordinaryThis is an extraordinary piece of music.

BillikVliegtuigkaartjies is heel billik deesdae.
ReasonableThe prices of plane tickets are quite reasonable these days.

BrutaalSy memoirs is brutaal eerlik.
Brutal / BrutallyHis memoirs are brutally honest.

Pensive Author in Front of Old Typewriter, Sipping a Drink

Sy memoirs is brutaal eerlik. / “His memoirs are brutally honest.”

GedetailleerdeDie bestuurder verwag ‘n gedetailleerde verslag.
DetailedThe manager is expecting a detailed report.

Gedeeltelik / Ten deleSy was net gedeeltelik verantwoordelik vir die ongeluk.
Partly / In partShe was only partly responsible for the accident.

Genoegsaam / OngenoegsaamDie polisie het wel genoegsame bewyse.
Adequate, Sufficient / Inadequate, InsufficientThe police do have sufficient proof.

GeskikDie uitrusting is nie geskik vir die geleentheid nie.
SuitableThe outfit is unsuitable for the occasion.

Gewone / OngewoonHy het ‘n ongewone benadering tot leierskap.
Usual, Common / Unusual, UncommonHe has an uncommon approach to leadership.

OngeskikDis ongeskik om met jou mond vol kos te praat.

Gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde en frases is ongeskik vir hierdie klas.
Rude / UnsuitableIt’s rude to talk with a mouth full of food.

Advanced Afrikaans words and phrases are unsuitable for this class.

OnvanpasDie groep se gedrag in die vergadering was heeltemal onvanpas.
InappropriateThe group’s behavior in the meeting was completely inappropriate.

Presies/eSielkunde is nie ‘n presiese wetenskap nie.
Precise / ExactPsychology is not an exact science.

SaaiDatavaslegging is gewoonlik ‘n saai werk.

‘n Saai landskap
Cumbersome / Tedious / BleakData capturing is usually a tedious job.

A bleak landscape

Man in Office Gear Sitting at Desk, Looking Bored

Datavaslegging is gewoonlik ‘n saai werk. / “Data capturing is usually a tedious job.”

Aanvaarbaar / OnaanvaarbaarDie terme is aanvaarbaar.
Acceptable / UnacceptableThe terms are acceptable.

UitgeputDie voorraad is uitgeput.
Finished / ExhaustedThe stock is finished.

UitsonderlikeOns doen dit slegs in uitsonderlike gevalle.
ExceptionalWe only do that in exceptional cases.

Van toepassingGewone taalbeginsels is van toepassing hier.
ApplicableOrdinary language principles are applicable here.

VerwarrendHierdie verslag is verwarrend.
Puzzling / ConfusingThis report is confusing.

Voordelig‘n Gesonde dieët is baie voordelig vir jou gesondheid.
Advantageous / BeneficialA healthy diet is very advantageous to your health.

VoldoendeMet voldoende oefening sal jy vinnig gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde en frases baasraak.
SufficientWith sufficient practice, you will quickly master advanced Afrikaans words and phrases.

Waarskynlik / OnwaarskynlikSy se aanstelling is moontlik maar onwaarskynlik.
Probable / ImprobableHis appointment is possible but improbable.

WeergaloosHaar vertolking van die gedig was weergaloos.
Unparalleled, without parallel or comparison/measureHer rendition of the poem was without parallel.

Assortment of Healthy Food Items Such as Fruit, Nuts, Oats, Vegetables, etc.

‘n Gesonde dieët is baie voordelig vir jou gesondheid. / “Eating healthy is very beneficial for your health.”

1.3 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Adverbs (Bywoorde)

The following list also includes adverbial phrases. As you know, adjectives and adverbs are often the same words, but they are used differently in sentences. Also look at this article on Afrikaans adverbs.

BeswaarlikDis beswaarlik die maatskappy se skuld.
HardlyIt’s hardly the company’s fault.

BynaDie kos is byna genoeg vir ‘n skare.
Almost / Nearly / Not quiteThe food is almost enough for a crowd.

DeeglikKry eers die mees algemene gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde deeglik onder die knie voor jy hierdie boek aanpak.
ThoroughlyThoroughly master the most common advanced Afrikaans words before you tackle this book.

GrotendeelsHaar drama klas bestaan grotendeels uit kinders.
MainlyHer acting class comprises mainly children.

Children in Costumes on a Stage with an Adult

Haar dramaklas bestaan grotendeels uit kinders. / “Her acting class comprises mainly children.”

GrootliksDie span in ons kantoor is grootliks verantwoordelik vir die projek se sukses.
LargelyOur office’s team is largely responsible for the project’s success.

LetterlikMoenie dit liewer nie letterlik interpreteer nie.
LiterallyRather don’t interpret it literally.

MatigDit proe matig soet.
ModeratelyIt tastes moderately sweet.

Min-of-meer / OngeveerDie lughawe is min-of-meer dertig kilometer ver van die gastehuis af.
More or less / ApproximatelyThe airport is more or less thirty kilometers away from the guest house.

OngewoonSy hand voel ongewoon warm.
UncommonlyHis hand feels uncommonly warm.

OmtrentTwee teelepels olie is omtrent genoeg.
AboutTwo teaspoons of oil is about enough.

Seker / SekerlikJy is seker nie ernstig nie?!
Certainly / SurelySurely you’re not serious?!

SeldeDie Londen vlugte is selde laat.
Seldom / RarelyThe London flights are seldom late.

Airport Digital Notice Board of Flights

Die Londen vlugte is selde laat. / “The London flights are seldom late.”

SkaarsMens merk dit skaars op.
BarelyOne barely notices it.

TansOns werk tans aan die probleem.
CurrentlyWe’re currently working on the problem.

VanselfsprekendVerandering voel vanselfsprekend moeilik.
ObviouslyChange obviously feels difficult.

VersekerOns sal verseker kontak hou.
DefinitelyWe will definitely keep in contact.

1.4 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Conjunctions (Voegwoorde)

Remember, conjunctions connect sentences and concepts, but this doesn’t mean they always appear between words or sentences. Oftentimes, they appear at the beginning (or even the end) of an expression or sentence.

Dus / DaaromDie trein was vertraag, dus moes ons wag.
Thus / ThereforeThe train was delayed; therefore, we had to wait.

Three Women with Luggage Waiting at a Train Station or Bus Terminal

Die trein was vertraag, dus moes ons wag. / “The train was delayed; therefore, we had to wait.”

Selfs alOns draf elke dag vir oefening, selfs al is dit moeilik in hierdie weer.
Even thoughWe jog every day for exercise, even though it’s difficult in this weather.

TensyTensy dit binnekort reën gaan die boere swaarkry hierdie jaar.
UnlessUnless it rains soon, the farmers will suffer this year.

Maar steeds / Nog steedsHy werk vinnig maar steeds deeglik.
But stillHe works fast but still thoroughly.

Tog / DogDie vrou is baie oorgewig, tog is sy lig op haar voete.
Yet / HoweverThe woman is very overweight, yet she’s light on her feet.

Ten spyte vanTen spyte van sy fisiese gebrek is hy steeds ‘n sukses.
DespiteDespite his physical disability, he is still a success.

HoewelHoewel baie skaars en duur is truffels is ‘n gewilde delikatesse.
AlthoughAlthough very scarce and expensive, truffles are a popular delicacy.

WatookalWatookal hulle nou sê, dit gaan nie die situasie verander nie.
No matter whatNo matter what they say now, it won’t change the situation.

2. Advanced Business Vocabulary (Gevorderde Besigheidswoordeskat)

With the basics covered, it’s time for you to learn advanced Afrikaans words related to the business world. Knowing these key terms will prove useful, whether you’re looking for work in South Africa or negotiating with Afrikaans-speaking associates. 

Aanstelling
n.
Ons vier my aanstelling by die firma.
AppointmentWe’re celebrating my appointment at the firm.

Aanvraag
n.
Daar’s ‘n groot aanvraag vir gekwalifiseerde, ervare rekenmeesters in die land.
DemandThere’s a big demand for qualified, experienced accountants in the country.

Accountant in Suit Working on Laptop and Calculator

Daar’s ‘n groot aanvraag vir gekwalifiseerde, ervare rekenmeesters in die land.
“There’s a big demand for qualified, experienced accountants in the country.”

Aandele
n.
Bitcoin aandele het baie in waarde gestyg.
SharesBitcoin shares have increased a lot in value.

Aandeelhouer
n.
Is sy ‘n aandeelhouer in die maatskappy?
ShareholderIs she a shareholder in the company?

Amalgameer
v.
Dit maak sin vir die twee maatskappye om nou te amalgameer.
AmalgamateIt makes sense for the two companies to amalgamate now.

Bates
n.
Die bates is groter as die laste.
AssetsThe assets are bigger than the liabilities.

Belegging
n.
Daardie was ‘n uitstekende belegging.
InvestmentThat was an excellent investment.

Departement
n.
Ons maak ‘n nuwe departement oop in Zurich.
Department / DivisionWe’re opening a new department in Zurich.

Besigheidsvennoot 
n.
Ons is dekades lank al besigheidsvennote.
Business partnerWe’ve been business partners for decades.

Note: In Afrikaans vernacular, a business partner is often referred to simply as a vennoot.

A Business Meeting in Progress

Ons is dekades lank al besigheidsvennote. / “We’ve been business partners for decades.”

Filiaal
n.
Die beheermaatskappy het slegs 20% aandele in ons filiaal.
SubsidiaryThe holding company only has 20% shares in our subsidiary.

Hoofkantoor
n.
Hulle hoofkantoor is in Brussels geleë.
Head officeTheir head office is located in Brussels.

Kompetisie
n.
Aanvanklik het Nokia min kompetisie gehad in die mark.
CompetitionInitially, Nokia had little competition in the market.

Maatskappy
n.
Die maatskappy het vinnig gegroei.
CompanyThe company grew fast.

Firma
n.
Na 50 jaar doen die firma steeds goed.
FirmAfter 50 years, the firm is still doing well.

Handel
n.
Handel op die eiland het vinnig toegeneem.
CommerceCommerce on the island has increased rapidly.

Handel dryf
v.
Ons is oop om daar handel te dryf.
TradeWe’re open for trade there.

Handelsmerk
n.
Handelsmerkregistrasie kan tot twee jaar duur in Suid Afrika.
TrademarkTrademark registration can take up to two years in South Africa.

Human Resources – HR(Menslike hulpbronne)
n.
Hierdie dokumente is vir HR se aandag.
Human ResourcesThese documents are for HR’s attention.

Note: In Afrikaans business language, the term Menslike Hulpbronne does exist, but it is very seldomly used in the vernacular.

Kompenseer
v.
Die groter mark kompenseer vir die verlieste.
To compensateThe bigger market compensates for the losses.

Mark
n.
Die mark vir hierdie produk lyk belowend.
MarketThe market for this product is looking promising.

Opbrengste
n.
Die maatskappy se opbrengste is verbasend goed hierdie jaar, alles in ag geneem.
ReturnsAll considered, the company’s returns are surprisingly good this year.

Profyt
n.
Ons belegging maak goeie profyt.
ProfitOur investment is making good profit.

Rekening
n.
Daar is niks uitstaande op hierdie rekening nie.
AccountThere is nothing outstanding on this account.

Rentekoers
n.
Die rentekoerse het aansienlik gestyg die afgelope jaar.
Interest rateInterest rates have increased significantly (over) the past year.

Tak
n.
Samsung het ‘n groot tak in Johannesburg.
BranchSamsung has a large branch in Johannesburg.

Uitkontrakteer
v.
Ons sal daardie dienste moet uitkontrakteer.
OutsourceWe will have to outsource those services.

Vennootskap
n.
Dis ‘n standvastige vennootskap.
Business partnershipIt’s a stable business partnership.

Voltydse, permanente betrekking
Full-time, permanent position

Deeltydse, vasgestelde-term kontrak
Part-time, fixed-term contract

3. Advanced Medical Vocabulary (Gevorderde Mediese Woordeskat)

Advance Medical Vocabulary

Advanced Afrikaans learners should also become familiar with words and terms commonly used in medical fields. These are words you’ll need to know should you choose to study medicine in South Africa, enter a health-focused career here, or even find yourself in the emergency room! 

Aansteeklik
adj.
COVID-19 is hoogs aansteeklik.
ContagiousCOVID-19 is highly contagious.

Abdominaal
adj.
Sy abdominale spiere is geaffekteer.
AbdominalHis abdominal muscles are affected.

Abnormaal
adj.
Hierdie reaksie is nie abnormaal nie.
AbnormalThis reaction isn’t abnormal.

Abses
n.
Die verpleegster het die abses reeds gedreineer.
AbscessThe nurse has already drained the abscess.

Akuut
adv.
Simptome kan akuut of chronies wees.
AcuteSymptoms can either be acute or chronic.

Allergies
adj.
Die kind is allergies vir bygif.
AllergicThe child is allergic to bee venom.

Behandeling
n.
Asyn is nie ‘n goeie behandeling vir aknee nie.
TreatmentVinegar is not a good treatment for acne.

Bloedtoetsn.Bloedmonster
n.
‘n Bloedtoets word op die bloedmonsters uitgevoer.
Blood test
Blood samples
A blood test is being done on the blood samples.

Buik
n.
Hy het ‘n steekwond in die buik.
Stomach / Mid-abdomenHe has a puncture wound in the stomach.

Buikwand
n.
Die mes het gelukkig nie die buikwand binnegedring nie.
Abdominal wallFortunately, the knife didn’t penetrate the abdominal wall.

Byniere
n.
Die byniere skei adrenalien en noradrenalien af.
Adrenal glandsThe adrenal glands secrete adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine.

Chronies
adj.
Die dokter het onnodige chroniese medikasie voorgeskryf.
ChronicThe doctor prescribed unnecessary chronic medication.

Fraktuur / Breuk
n.
Die breuk is betyds geset om sy been te red.
FractureThe fracture was set in time to save his leg.

Gipsn.Heg.
v.
Die gips kan maar afkom, want die been het goed geheg.
CastMendThe cast can come off because the leg/bone has mended well.

Geestesgesondheid
n.
Goeie geestesgesondheid is ten dele afhanklik van wat in ‘n mens se gedagtes aangaan.
Mental healthGood mental health is partly dependent on what’s going on in your mind.

Gewas n.Goedaardig
adj.
Gelukkig is die gewas goedaardig.
TumorBenignFortunately, the tumor is benign.

Inwendig/eadj.Besering
n.
Het hy enige inwendige beserings opgedoen?
InternalInjuryHas he sustained any internal injuries?

Koorsn.Koorspen
n.
Verpleegsters meet kinders se koors meestal met ‘n koorspen in die mond of die armoksels.
FeverThermometerNurses usually measure children’s fever with a thermometer in the mouth or the armpits.

Laboratorium
n.
Is die bloedmonsters al laboratorium toe?
LaboratoryHave the blood samples gone to the laboratory yet?

Two Legs and Crutches, One Leg in a Blue Cast

Die gips kan afkom, want die been het goed geheg. / “The cast can come off because the leg/bone has mended well.”


Mangelsn.
My mangels is nooit verwyder nie.
TonsilsMy tonsils have never been removed.

Narkose / Anestesie
n.
Die prosedure vereis nie narkose nie.
AnesthesiaThe procedure doesn’t require anesthesia.

Newe-effek
n.
Die hoofpyn is ‘n newe-effek van jou medikasie.
Side effectThe headache is a side effect of your medication.

Ontsmet / Steriliseer
v.
Is die instrumente al ontsmet?
To disinfect / To sterilizeAre the instruments sterilized yet?

Pandemie
n.
COVID-19 was ‘n erge pandemie wat veroorsaak is deur die Coronavirus.
PandemicCOVID-19 was a severe pandemic caused by the Coronavirus.

Surgical Mask
Prosedure
n.
Om ‘n vrat te verwyder is ‘n kort, eenvoudige prosedure.
ProcedureTo remove a wart is a short, simple procedure.

Sfygmometer
n.
Die sfygmometer word gebruik om ‘n pasiënt se bloeddruk te meet.
SphygmometerThe sphygmometer is used to measure a patient’s blood pressure.

Stetoskoop
n.
Die stetoskoop word gebruik om na ‘n pasiënt se hartklop en asemhaling te luister.
StethoscopeA stethoscope is used to listen to a patient’s heartbeat and breathing.

Male Doctor Using a Stethoscope to Listen to an Unborn Baby's Heartbeat

Die stetoskoop word gebruik om na ‘n pasiënt se hartklop en asemhaling te luister.
“The stethoscope is used to listen to a patient’s heartbeat and breathing.”

Simptoom
n.
Maagpyn nie die ware probleem nie; dis selgs ‘n simptoom.
SymptomStomachache is not the real problem; it’s only a symptom.

Skildklier
n.
Sy het nie nodig om chroniese medikasie te neem vir haar skildklier nie.
ThyroidShe doesn’t need to take chronic medication for her thyroid.

Uitwendig
n.
Sy beserings is meestal uitwendig.
ExternalHis injuries are mostly external.

Verdoof
v.
Hierdie pille sal die pyn verdoof.

Die pasiënt verkies om onder verdowing te wees vir die prosedure.
Sedate / Dull (pain)These pills will dull the pain.

The patient prefers to be sedated for the procedure.

Voorskrif
n.
Jy het ‘n voorskrif nodig vir hierdie skedule pynpille.
PrescriptionYou need a prescription for this schedule of pain tablets.

Algemene Mediese Kondisies / “Common Medical Conditions
AngsAnxiety
BeroerteStroke
Binneoor-onstekingOtitis media; inner-ear infection
Buiteoor-onstekingOtitis externa; outer-ear infection
BlaasontstekingBladder infection
BrongitisBronchitis
BosluiskoorsTick bite fever
Coronavirus siekteCoronavirus disease
DepressieDepression
DiabetesDiabetes
Duitse masels / RubellaGerman measles / Rubella
GalsteneGallstones
GriepInfluenza
GeelsugJaundice
HepatitisHepatitis
Hoë cholesterolHigh cholesterol
Isgemiese beroerteIschemic stroke
HartversakingCardiac arrest
KankerCancer
Hoë bloeddruk / HipertensieHigh blood pressure / Hypertension
Lae bloeddruk / HipotensieLow blood pressure / Hypotension
MangelontstekingTonsillitis
MaselsMeasles
PampoentjiesMumps
PolioPolio
Sinusitis / SinusontstekingSinusitis / Sinus infection
Urineweg infeksieUrine tract infection
‘n VerkoueA cold
Verworwe immuniteitsgebreksindroom (VIGS)Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
VetsugObesity
WaterpokkiesChickenpox
Kinkhoes / PertussisWhooping cough / Pertussis

4. Advanced Legal Vocabulary (Gevorderde Wetswoordeskat)

Courtroom Gavel and Law Book

Die hofsaak is uitgestel. / “The court case was postponed.”

Aantyging
n.
Die aantyging is baie ernstig.
Accusation / ClaimThe accusation is very serious.

Aankla
v.
Die politikus word aangekla van ernstige oortredinge.
AccuseThe politician is being accused of serious violations.

AanvallerDie aanvaller was nie alleen nie.
Assailant / AttackerThe assailant was not alone.

Afpers
v.
Hy het die vrou probeer afpers.
To blackmailHe tried to blackmail the woman.

Appeleer / Appél aanteken
v.
Die prokureer wil appél aanteken.
To appeal / To submit an appealThe lawyer wants to submit an appeal.

Bedrog
n.
Hy is afgedank toe hulle hom vang bedrog pleeg.
FraudHe was fired when they caught him committing fraud.

Beslis
v.
Die saak is vandag buite die hof beslis.
To determine / To settleThe case was settled out of court today.

Note: Beslis also doubles as an adverb: “definitely.” Hy is beslis vroeg. / “He is definitely early.”

Bewys/e
n.
Daar was geen bewyse dat sy die misdaad gepleeg het nie.
ProofThere was no proof that she’d committed the crime.

Deurdagte
adj.
Goed-deurdagte argument
ConsideredWell-considered argument

Dispuut
n.
Die dispuut is gelukkig vinnig opgeklaar.
DisputeFortunately, the dispute was quickly resolved.

Gesag
n.
Die konstitusionele hof hou die hoogste wetsgesag in die land.
AuthorityThe constitutional court holds the highest legal authority in the country.

Getuie
n.
Sy’s ‘n sterk getuie.
WitnessShe’s a strong witness.

Getuig
v.
Die man wou nie teen sy suster getuig nie.
TestifyThe man didn’t want to testify against his sister.

Hofdatum
n.
Wanneer is die hofdatum?
Court dateWhen is the court date?

Hofsaak
n.
Die hofsaak is uitgestel.
Court caseThe court case was postponed.

Jurisdiksie
n.
Finansiëele bedrog val buite hierdie hof se jurisdiksie.
JurisdictionFinancial fraud falls outside this court’s jurisdiction.

Korrupsie
n.
Ongelukkig is regeringskorrupsie alledaags hier.
CorruptionUnfortunately, government corruption is very common here.

Kriminele rekord
n.
‘n Skoon kriminele rekord is ‘n aansoek vereiste.
Criminal recordA clean criminal record is an application requirement.

Lasbrief
n.
Is die lasbrief al uitgereik?
WarrantHas the warrant been issued yet?

Misdaadn.Moordsaak
n.
Die Kaapstadse Geweldadige Misdaadeenheid het getuig in daardie moordsaak.
Murder caseThe Capetonian Violent Crimes Unit testified in that murder case.

Notaris
n.
Slegs ‘n notaris kan jou verklaring sertifiseer.
NotaryOnly a notary can certify your statement.

Ontbiet
v.
Sy is ontbiet vir verskyning in die hof.
To summonShe was summoned to appear in court.

Openbare / Publieke aanklaer
n.
Daardie publieke aanklaer is onkorrupteerbaar.
Public prosecutorThat public prosecutor is incorruptible.

Ontvoer
v.
Hulle het saam beplan om die kind te ontvoer.
To kidnapThey planned together to kidnap the child.

Omkoop
v.
Niemand kon daardie openbare aanklaer omkoop nie.
BribeNobody could bribe that public prosecutor.

Parafeer
v.
Al die bladsye van hierdie kontrak moet geparafeer word.
To initialAll the pages of this contract must be initialled.

Regsverteenwoordiger
n.
Wie is jou regsverteenwoordiger?
Legal representativeWho is your legal representative?

Regsgeding
n.
Hulle is tans betrokke in ‘n regsgeding oor die saak.
LawsuitThey are currently involved in a lawsuit regarding the matter.

Uitspraak
n.
Die finale uitspraak word vandag gelewer.
VerdictThe final verdict will be delivered today.

Verteenwoordiger
n.
Hulle sal ‘n verteenwoordiger aanstel.
RepresentativeThey will appoint a representative.

Wetsadvies
n.
Dit sal beter wees as jy wetsadvies kry.
Legal counselIt will be better if you get legal counsel.

How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Ace Advanced Afrikaans Words?

We hope you enjoyed our article on the most common advanced Afrikaans words! 

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About the author: Christa Davel is an experienced bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Your Best List of Intermediate Afrikaans Words

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Well done. You’ve mastered The 200+ Best Afrikaans Words for Beginners! Now it’s time to tackle some intermediate Afrikaans words and phrases. In this article, we’ve compiled the most common ones for you and included their classification for easy access. Let us know in the comments if you’re battling to understand anything!

(Wondering whether you’ll be able to learn Afrikaans beginner and intermediate words easily? Check out our blog post Is Afrikaans Hard to Learn?)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Intermediate Afrikaans Words – SELFSTANDIGE NAAMWOORDE / “Nouns”
  2. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – TELWOORDE / “Counting Words”
  3. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – BYVOEGLIKE NAAMWOORDE / “Adjectives”
  4. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – Voornaamwoorde / “Pronouns”
  5. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – WERKWOORDE / “Verbs”
  6. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – KOPPELWERKWOORDE / “Linking Verbs”
  7. Afrikaans Intermediate Words: BYWOORDE / “Adverbs”
  8. Afrikaans Intermediate Words: Voegwoorde / “Conjunctions”
  9. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – VOORSETSELS / “Prepositions”
  10. Learn the Most Common Afrikaans Intermediate Words Easily at AfrikaansPod101.com!

1. Intermediate Afrikaans Words – SELFSTANDIGE NAAMWOORDE / “Nouns”

Nouns are among the most common Afrikaans intermediate words. They are, essentially, the names of all persons, things, and places, including abstract things like qualities, states, thoughts, and ideas

Just like English, the Afrikaans language distinguishes between nouns, proper nouns, and different categories of pronouns, which we’ll discuss in more detail. 

 In phrases or sentences, the main type of noun is recognizable when it’s preceded by:

Consider the nouns, articles, adjectives, verbs, and pronouns in these intermediate Afrikaans sentences:

  1. Ek het katte as troeteldiere. / “I have cats as pets.” [verb and noun]
  2. Hou asseblief my tas vas. / “Please hold my suitcase.” [possessive pronoun and noun]
  3. Geniet jy jou koffie? / “Are you enjoying your coffee?” [possessive pronoun and noun]
  4. Waar is die naaste hotel, asseblief? / “Where is the closest hotel, please?” [article, adjective, and noun]
  5. Daardie wilde perde hardloop besonder vinnig. / “Those wild horses are running remarkably fast.” [demonstrative adjective, adjective, and noun]

Galloping Wild Horses

Daardie wilde perde hardloop besonder vinnig. / “Those wild horses are running remarkably fast.”

Selfstandige Naamwoorde / “Nouns”
AfrikaansEnglish
Mense en Familie / “People and Relatives”
ouers“parents”
vader“father”
moeder

Note: These two terms for parents serve as both formal forms of address and nouns.
“mother”
man / vrou“husband” / “wife”
grootouers / kleinkinders“grandparents” / “grandchildren”
familie / gesin

Note: Familie refers to close and extended family, as well as relatives, while gesin refers to the nuclear family (two parents and their offspring).
“relatives” / “family”
neef OR nefie“cousin” – male
nig OR niggie“cousin” – female
Liggaamsdele / “Body Parts”
ledemate“limbs”
ooghare / wimper(s)“eyebrows” / “eyelash(es)”
wang(e) / neusgat(e) / neusbrug“cheek(s)” / “nostril(s)” / “bridge of the nose”
bo-lip / onder-lip / mondhoek(e)“upper lip” / “lower lip” / “corner(s) of the mouth”
ken / tandvleis / bo-tand(e) / onder-tand(e)

Note: Tandvleis (“gums”) is an irregular noun, as it’s written in the singular but used like an uncountable or mass noun.
“chin” / “gums” / “upper tooth (or teeth)” / “lower tooth (or teeth)”
skouer(s) / elmboog OR elmboë / pols(e)“shoulder(s)” / “elbow(s)” / “wrist(s)”
bors / bors(te) / maag

Note: No, it’s not a mistake! The word bors has a double meaning, as you can see. The context in which it is used will best show which is which. 

Also, when bors is suffixed with an –e, its plural form indicates “chests” (borse). The plural for “breast” (bors) is shown with a different suffix: -te, as in borste (“breasts”).
“chest” / “breast(s)” / “stomach”
heup(e) / knieg OR knieë / enkel(s)“hip(s)” / “knee(s)” / “ankle(s)”
agterkop / skouerblad OR skouerblaaie / rug / boud(e)“back of the head” / “shoulder blade(s)” / “back” / “buttock(s)”
Tyd / “Time”
sekonde“second”
dekade / eeu / millenium“decade” / “century” / “millennium”

A Road Sign Saying Now, Tomorrow, Yesterday

Nou, more, gister. / “Now, tomorrow, yesterday.”

Selfstandige Naamwoorde / “Nouns” (cont.)
AfrikaansEnglish
Alledaagse Items / “Everyday Items”
notaboek / storieboek / vorm / papier

Note: Like in English, vorm (“form”) has several meanings in Afrikaans. As a noun, it can mean
  • the shape or body of a thing (sirkelvormig – “circular”), 
  • a type of thing (vorm van gebed – “form of prayer”), or 
  • a document that you can fill out.
It’s also a verb that means “to shape” or “to make,” as in: Plante vorm blare. / “Plants form leaves.”
“notebook” / “storybook” / “form” / “paper”
skootrekenaar / tafelrekenaar / oorfoon OR oorfone / mikrofoon / televisie / drukker

Note: In Afrikaans, we use oorfone to indicate both earphones and headphones. Also, drukker is seldom used in the vernacular; most often, we just use “printer.”
“laptop (computer)” / “desktop (computer)” / “earphone(s)” / “microphone” / “television” / “printer”
lessenaar / kantoor / studeerkamer / boekrak“desk” / “office” / “study” / “bookcase”
baadjie / onderklere / romp / denims / slaapklere / slaapkamer / wasgoed

Note: Onderklere (“underwear”) and slaapklere (“sleepwear”) are irregular nouns because the plural form can refer to a single item or more.

Also, in Afrikaans, denims (the plural form) indicates the garment, while denim indicates the fabric. “Jeans” is also a popular English loanword in Afrikaans.
“jacket” / “underwear” / “skirt” / “jeans” / “sleepwear” / “bedroom” / “laundry”
langbroek(e) / kortbroek(e) / romp / T-hemp / sweetpak / tekkies

Note: The English terms “long pants” and “shorts” are always used in the plural. However, Afrikaans has singular and plural forms for these words.

‘n Langbroek refers to one pair of long pants, while langbroeke refers to more than one pair of long pants.
“long pants” / “shorts” / “skirt” / “T-shirt” / “tracksuit” / “sneakers”
ketel / stoof / oond / wasbak / kombuis“kettle” / “stove” / “oven” / “sink” / “kitchen”
bad / stort / kraan / wasbak / badkamer“bath” / “shower” / “tap” / “basin” / “bathroom”
Beroep / “Profession”
mediese dokter / pasiënt / spesialis OR internis / chirurg“medical doctor” / “patient” / “specialist” OR “internist” / “surgeon”
apteker / tandarts / oogkundige / pediater / veearts“pharmacist” / “dentist” / “optometrist” / “pediatrician” / “vet”
lykskouer / begrafnisondernemer / lykbesorger / predikant / pastoor“coroner” / “undertaker” / “mortician” / “minister” / “pastor”
werktuigkundige / petroljoggie“car mechanic” / “fuel pump attendant”
bestuurder / assistent / klerk / personeel / ontvangsdame

Note: To specify, one can create compounds with these words by adding other nouns like 
  • bank- (“bank-“), 
  • kantoor- (“office”), 
  • winkel- (“shop”),
  • orbesigheids- (“business-“).
For example: bankbestuurder (“bank manager”). 

This rule excludes ontvangsdame (“receptionist”), which is used as-is in most contexts.

Also, bestuurder has a double meaning in Afrikaans. It means “manager” and also “driver of vehicles”: 

Ek is die bestuurder van die huurmotor. / “I am the driver of the rental car.”
“manager” / “assistant” / “clerk” / “personnel” OR “staff” / “receptionist”
verkoopspersoon / winkelier“salesperson” / “shopkeeper”
skoolhoof / onderhoof / departementshoof / skoolkind / bibliotekaresse – biblioteekaris“school principal OR headmaster” / “deputy principal OR headmaster” / “head of department” / “school student” / “librarian (female – male)”
dekaan / dosent / student“dean” / “lecturer” / “student”
vlieënier / kajuitbeampte / ingenieur“pilot” / “flight attendant” / “engineer”
kelner / kok / sjef / skoonmakers“waiter” / “cook” / “chef” / “cleaners”
Kos en Drank / “Food and Drink”
braaivleis / potjiekos / maalvleis / boerewors

Note: Boerewors is a sausage with a unique recipe created long ago by the Afrikaners. Try it when you’re visiting! Read this article to learn what potjiekos is, and to explore the best South African foods.
“barbeque” / potjiekos / “ground OR minced meat” / literally: “farmer’s sausage”
lamsvleis / skaapvleis / wildsvleis / biefstuk“lamb” / “mutton” / “venison” / “beefsteak”
appel / peer / piesang / mango / tamatie / kool / ui“apple” / “pear” / “banana” / “mango” / “tomato” / “cabbage” / “onion”
macaroni-en-kaas / spaghetti / frikadelle / sousbone“macaroni and cheese” / “spaghetti” / “meatballs” / “baked beans”
roosterbrood / spek / ontbyt“toast” / “bacon” / “breakfast”
peper / sout / spesery(e) / knoffel“pepper” / “salt” / “spice(s)” / “garlic”
wyn / bier / whiskey / drankie / drank“wine” / “beer” / “whiskey” / “a drink” / “alcoholic beverages”

Braaivleis Barbeque Meat, Beefsteak

Braaivleis is ‘n gewilde dis in Suid Afrika. / “Barbequed meat is a popular dish in South Africa.”

Plekke en Geboue / “Places and Buildings”
hospitaal / apteek / kliniek / noodgevalle / ongevalle / lykshuis / begrafnisonderneming“hospital” / “pharmacy” / “clinic” / “emergencies” (as in the ER or “emergency room”) / “casualties” / “mortuary” / “funeral parlor”
biblioteek / supermark / pretpark / restaurant / teetuin“library” / “supermarket” / “amusement park” / “restaurant” / “tea garden”
wassery / haarkapper / skoonheidskundige / herstelwinkel“laundry” / “hairdresser” / “beautician” / “repair shop”
Diere / “Animals”

Also, be sure to take a look at our comprehensive list of animals in Afrikaans!
hoender / haan / hen / kuiken“chicken” / “rooster” OR “cock” / “hen” / “chick”
donkie / ponie / muil“donkey” / “pony” / “mule”
rot / marmot / haas OR konyn

Note: Another Afrikaans translation for “guinea pig” is proefkonyn (literally: “test rabbit”). This term is only used in the context of experimentation.

In the past, proefkonyne were the test subjects in laboratory settings, but over time, scientists started using other animals and the term changed to proefdiere (“test animals”).

In the vernacular, it can now refer to someone who is testing out a brand-new product or who is part of a medical trial, for instance.
“rat” / “guinea pig” / “rabbit”
papegaai / kanarie / duif / mossie / vink“parrot” / “canary” / “pigeon” / “sparrow” / “finch”
goudvis / dolfyn / haai“goldfish” / “dolphin” / “shark”
Abstrakte Naamwoorde / “Abstract Nouns”
liefde / vreugde / vrede / geluk“love” / “joy” / “peace” / “happiness”
woede / hartseer / lyding“anger” / “sadness” / “suffering”
begeerte / wens / besluit / keuse“desire” / “wish” / “decision” / “choice”
gedagte / idee / geheim / belofte / leuen“thought” / “idea” / “secret” / “promise” / “lie”

An Older, Happy Couple Laughing Together

Liefde, vrede, vreudge, geluk / “Love, peace, joy, happiness”

2. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – TELWOORDE / “Counting Words”

These are the words that have to do with numbers, and in the Beginner Words article we mentioned earlier, we looked at the primary counting words (also called cardinal numbers) one through ten. Now, as you approach intermediate-level Afrikaans, it’s time to study the cardinal numbers from elf (“eleven”) onwards. 

We’re also going to take a look at the words for ordinal numbers. For more detailed information on the topic, be sure to read this article about counting in Afrikaans

Kardinale Getalle / “Cardinal Numbers”

In Afrikaans, “cardinal numbers” are also called hooftelwoorde.
AfrikaansEnglish
elf“eleven”
twaalf“twelve”
dertien“thirteen”
veertien“fourteen”
vyftien“fifteen”
sestien“sixteen”
sewentien“seventeen”
agtien“eighteen”
negentien

Note: Up to here, the number words are irregular and need to be memorized. From this point on, though, the number words are formed following the same pattern, as demonstrated below (counting from twenty to thirty).

You’ll see that only the tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. change, and therefore need to be memorized.
“nineteen”
twintig“twenty”
een-en-twintig“twenty-one”
twee-en-twintig“twenty-two”
drie-en-twintig“twenty-three”
vier-en-twintig“twenty-four”
vyf-en-twintig“twenty-five”
ses-en-twintig“twenty-six”
sewe-en-twintig“twenty-seven”
agt-en-twintig“twenty-eight”
nege-en-twintig“twenty-nine”
dertig“thirty”
een-en-dertig, etc.“thirty-one,” etc.
veertig“forty”
vyftig“fifty”
sestig“sixty”
sewentig“seventy”
tagtig“eighty”
negentig“ninety”
honderd“hundred”
duisend“thousand”
miljoen“million”
miljard

Note: A common mistake that even native Afrikaans speakers make is to translate the American English “billion” to biljoen in Afrikaans. That’s understandable, because they sound very similar.

However, they don’t mean the same number at all; if you’re a biljoenêr in Afrikaans, you’re much wealthier than a billionaire in American English!

This is because an Afrikaans biljoen refers to the number ten to the power of twelve (1012, which is 1,000,000,000,000), while the English billion only refers to the number ten to the power of nine (109, which is 1,000,000,000). These numbers are mind-boggling, aren’t they?!

The Afrikaans word for one billion (109) is miljard. If an Afrikaans person is lucky enough to be this wealthy, we call them a multi-miljoenêr (literally: “multi-millionaire,” but meaning “billionaire”). 
billion
biljoen“one-hundred-billion”
biljard“trillion”
triljoen“one-hundred-trillion”
triljard“quadrillion”
kwatriljoen“one-hundred-quadrillion”
kwatriljard
To briefly explain the rules:

A. 11 – 19, 20, 30, 40, etc.: The numbers eleven (elf) through nineteen (negentien), and all the tens (twintig, dertig, veertig ens / “twenty, thirty, forty, etc.”) are irregular number words and should just be memorized.

B. 21 – 29, 31 – 39, etc.: For the numbers between the tens, so to speak, and up to a hundred, use the following formula. (Also note that, in Afrikaans, these numbers start with the lower cardinal number.)

Lower cardinal number + Conjunction en (“and”) + Higher cardinal number

Examples: een-en-twintig, twee-en-twintig, drie-en-twintig (“twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three”).

C. 100+: From a hundred onwards, the formula is similar to that used for English numbers, meaning they start with the higher cardinal number:

Higher cardinal number + Conjunction en (“and”) + Lower cardinal number

Examples: honderd-en-een, honderd-en-twee, honderd-en-drie (“hundred-and-one, hundred-and-two, hundred-and-three”).
    
  • Ek is agt-en-twintig jaar oud. / “I am twenty-eight years old.”
  • Hier is twee fotos vir my paspoort. / “Here are two photos for my passport.”
  • Haar pa is op sewentig oorlede. / “Her dad died at (age) seventy.”

A Color Block Showing Uneven Numbers 1 - 9.

Ongelyke getalle / “Uneven numbers”

Ordinale Getalle / “Ordinal Numbers”

Ordinal numbers indicate the position of an item on a list. In Afrikaans, they’re also called rangtelwoorde
AfrikaansEnglish
eerste“first”
tweede“second”
derde“third”
vierde, etc.“fourth,” etc.
twintigste“twentieth”
een-en-twintigste, etc.“twenty-first,” etc.
honderd-en-eerste, etc.“hundred-and-first,” etc.
duisend-en-eerste, etc.“thousand-and-first,” etc.
To briefly explain the rules:

A. 1st, 3rd: In Afrikaans, the first (eerste) and the third (derde) ordinal number words are irregular.

B. 4th – 19th: The ordinal numbers from vier (“four”) to negentien (“nineteen”) are formed by simply adding the suffix -de to the cardinal numbers. For example: vierde, vyfde agtiende, negentiende (“fourth, fifth … eighteenth, nineteenth”). 

C. 8th, 9th: The two exceptions are “seventh” and “eighth,” which get different suffixes. “Eighth” gets the suffix -ste (agtste) and “ninth” gets the suffix -nde (negende).

D. 20th, 21st, etc: From twintig (“twenty”) onward, the ordinal words are formed by adding the suffix -ste to the normal counting words.

Examples: twintigste, een-en-twintigste … dertigste, een-en-dertigste … honderdste … duisendste (“twentieth, twenty-first … thirtieth, thirty-first … hundredth … thousandth”).

Ordinal Number 1

Ordinale getal / “Ordinal number”

3. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – BYVOEGLIKE NAAMWOORDE / “Adjectives”

As we explained in the Afrikaans Beginner Word article, adjectives are those words that tell us more about nouns

Can you remember the two types of adjectives and how to identify them? Yes, that’s right—their classification depends on where they are placed in a sentence

    Attributive adjectives are called attributiewe byvoeglike naamwoorde in Afrikaans, and they always come in front of a noun:
    Die mooi dag is verby.  / “The lovely day is over.”
    Predicative adjectives are called predikatiewe byvoeglike naamwoorde in Afrikaans, and they always stand after a linking verb:
    Die dag is mooi. / “The day is lovely.”

Attributive adjectives are often modified in Afrikaans. Take a look at these examples and see if you can spot the modifications when compared to predicative adjectives.

    Dit is ‘n lieflike dag. / “It’s a beautiful day.” vs. Die dag is lieflik. / “The day is beautiful.”
    Daardie is ‘n interessante les. / “That’s an interesting lesson.” vs. Daardie les is interessant. / “That lesson is interesting.”
    Die buitenste klaskamer / “The outside classroom” vs. Die klaskamer is buite. / “The classroom is outside.”

Coastal Scene with Natural Beauty

Dis ‘n pragtige dag vandag. / “It’s a beautiful day today.”

Don’t worry too much about the rules governing these modifications right now; they can get pretty complex, as these things go.

Here’s a list of some of the most common intermediate Afrikaans adjectives. 

Byvoeglike Naamwoorde / “Adjectives”
Afrikaans Predicative AdjectivesEnglishAfrikaans Attributive Adjectives
n/a = it remains the same as the predicative
onsuiwer“impure”n/a
lank“long”lang
enorm“enormous”enorme
opgewonde“excited”n/a
vervelig“boring”vervelige
glad“smooth”gladde
grof“rough” OR “gruff”growwe
intelligent“intelligent”intelligente
onduidelik“unclear”onduidelike
suiwer“pure”n/a
dapper“courageous”n/a
braaf“brave”brawe
antiek“ancient” / “antique”antieke
oud“old”ou
kunsmatig“artificial”kunsmatige
gerieflik“convenient”gerieflike
ongerieflik“inconvenient”ongerieflike
ideaal“ideal”ideale
absoluut“absolute”absolute
opwindend“exciting” / “thrilling”opwindende
outyds“old-fashioned”outydse
modern“modern”moderne
buitengewoon“extraordinary”buitengewone
ongewoon“uncommon”ongewone
spesiaal“special”spesiale
gelukkig“happy” / “lucky”gelukkige
walglik“disgusting”walglike
kleurvol“colorful”kleurvolle
bleek“pale”n/a
groen / geel / pers / oranje / wit / swart“green” / “yellow” / “purple” / “orange” / “white” / “black”n/a

A Pretty, Happy Girl in a Red Dress

Die jong meisie het ‘n mooi glimlag. / “The young girl has a pretty smile.”

4. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – Voornaamwoorde / “Pronouns”

We’re still sort of busy dealing with nouns! Can you recall what a pronoun is? 

To refresh your memory—pronouns are words that take the place of nouns in a phrase or sentence, denoting the same gender and number as the nouns they replace. 

Pronouns have a cool function, because their use ensures that sentences don’t become too cluttered or nouns too repetitive. We dealt with the basic personal pronouns in the Beginner Afrikaans article, though you might also want to read our blog post on Afrikaans pronouns for more information. 

In this article, we’re going to get a closer look at the different types of pronouns. For most types, you can determine who or what they refer to from the context.

  1. Persoonlike voornaamwoorde, voorwerp en onderwerp / “Personal pronouns, object and subject”
  2. Besitlike voornaamwoorde / “Possessive pronouns”
  3. Aanwysende voornaamwoorde / “Demonstrative pronouns”
  4. Onbepaalde voornaamwoorde / “Indefinite pronouns”
  5. Vraende voornaamwoorde / “Interrogative  pronouns”

          1. Persoonlike Voornaamwoorde – Voorwerp & Onderwerp / “Personal Pronouns” – Subject & Object

Intermediate students need to add only one more formal personal pronoun to those listed for beginners.

The same pronoun is used for both the subject and the object in sentences with this pronoun, as well as for both singular and plural forms. 

AfrikaansEnglish
u“you”
Subject:
  • U is welkom. / “You are welcome.”
  • U sit by hierdie tafel. / “You’re sitting at this table.”

Object:
  • Hierdie tee is vir u, Meneer. / “This tea is for you, Sir.”
  • Kan ek u help? / “May I help you?”

This formal form of address is still common in Afrikaans, but its use will depend on the context. 

Use it when first addressing someone you don’t know well and who is much older than you, such as your new Afrikaans friend’s grandparents or elderly parents. 

Also use this pronoun when addressing someone greatly senior to you in terms of age and work title, such as your much older CEO at work. 

Always address a VIP or dignitary this way, such as the country’s president or an officer of the law. This is a sure sign of respect. In certain upmarket hospitality settings, the staff is sometimes trained to address patrons this way.

Often, you will be invited to drop this formal way of speaking, but make sure you wait for the invitation to do so! 

For more information, also look at this lesson about Afrikaans greetings.

A Friendly, Elderly Butler in Formal Dress Holding a Smart Silver Tray and Tea Set

Hierdie tee is vir u, Meneer. / “This tea is for you, Sir.”

                                        2. Besitlike Voornaamwoorde / “Possessive Pronouns”

As the name suggests, these pronouns indicate possession. When they’re used with another pronoun in a sentence, the context needs to be clear so that it’s understood what they refer to. 

We looked at the basic possessive pronouns in the beginner article. Here, I’m listing the modified pronouns, which change according to the sentence structure.
AfrikaansEnglish
myne“mine”
joune“yours” (singular)
u s’n“yours”
syne“his”
hare“hers”
julle s’n“yours” (plural)
ons s’n“ours”
hulle s’n“theirs”
  • Die handboek is myne. / “The textbook is mine.”
  • Ek sal u s’n vir u hou. / “I will keep yours for you.”
  • Ons s’n sal more reg wees. / “Ours will be ready tomorrow.”
  • Dis hulle s’n. / “It’s theirs.”

A Pile of Language Textbooks

Die handboek is myne. / “The textbook is mine.”

                    3. Aanwysende Voornaamwoorde / “Demonstrative Pronouns”

In sentences, these pronouns are used to indicate something specific.
AfrikaansEnglish
hierdie

Note: This is a compound of hier (“here”) and die (“this”). It’s used with both singular and plural nouns

Hierdie vrae is maklik.
“this” / “these”





“These questions are easy.”
daardie

Note: This is a compound of daar (“there”) and die (“this”). It’s used with both singular and plural nouns.

Daardie sinne is lank.
Daardie toets is maklik.
“that” / “those”





“Those sentences are long.”
“That test is easy.”
daai

Note: This is a contraction of daar (“there”) and die (“this”). It means “those” and “that.” In other words, it remains the same for singular and plural nouns in sentences.

Daai notas help baie.Daai is ‘n oulike onderwyser.
“that” / “those” [slang]






“Those notes help a lot.”
“That is a nice teacher.”
hierdies (“these”)
daardies (“those”)
daais (slang for “those”)

Note: When these pronouns get the suffix -s, they always indicate a plural or collective noun (or nouns). “Indicate,” because the subject is always implied in the sentence. In other words, unlike the English “these” and “those,” hierdies, daardies, and daais are never used together with a noun in sentences. Therefore, the context of the sentence must be clear.

Hierdies is baie ryp. (Talking about fruit, e.g.)
Daardies is moeilik. (Talking about tests, e.g.)
Daais help baie. (Talking about notes, e.g.)
“these” / “those”












“These are very ripe.”
“Those are difficult.”
“Those help a lot.”
albei / beide

Albei is siek.
“both”

“Both are ill.”

A Pretty Young Woman Pointing at a Cellphone

Hierdie foon / “This phone”

                    4. Onbepaalde Voornaamwoorde / “Indefinite Pronouns”

These are sometimes confused with demonstrative pronouns, but as the name suggests, they point to the general.
AfrikaansEnglish
alles“everything”
almal“everybody”
elke

Note: This is an irregular indefinite pronoun that is only used with singular nouns.
“every”
alle

Note: This is another irregular pronoun that is always used with plural or collective nouns.
“all”
iemand“somebody”
niemand“nobody”
  • Almal studeer nou hard. / “Everybody is studying hard now.”
  • Elke student het ‘n handboek. / “Every student has a textbook.”
  • Nie alle studente werk saans nie. / “Not all students work at night.”
  • Dis ‘n wen-wen situasie waarin niemand verloor nie. / “It’s a win-win situation in which nobody loses.”
  • Alles sal goed uitwerk op die ou end. / “Everything will work out fine in the end.”

A Teacher and His Students in a Classroom

Elke student het ‘n handboek. / “Every student has a textbook.”

                    5. Vraende Voornaamwoorde / “Interrogative Pronouns”

These pronouns are used to ask short, succinct questions. Like in English, they can be used on their own as a simple, interrogative expression if the context is clear.
AfrikaansEnglish
Waarom? / Hoekom?“Why?”
Hoe?“How?”
Waarmee?“With what?”
Waarvoor?“What for?”
Watter?“Which?”
  • Waarvoor word hierdie item gebruik? / “What is this item used for?”
  • Watter vlug gaan julle neem? / “Which flight are you going to take?”
  • Hoe gaan dit met jou studies? / “How are your studies going?”

A Young Woman Gesturing: How? or Why?

Hoekom? / “Why?”

5. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – WERKWOORDE / “Verbs”

Verbs are, simply put, the “doing words” of most languages. Just like in the Beginner Afrikaans article, I’ll only supply independent verbs in the present tense here. To learn more about their conjugations for the past and future tenses, be sure to study this article too.

Hoofwerkwoorde / “Independent Verbs”
AfrikaansEnglish
aankom“arrive”
vertrek“depart”
begin“begin” / “start”
eindig / stop“end” / “stop”
bespreek“book” / “reserve” / “discuss”
skep“create”
vernietig“destroy”
mors“spill” / “make a mess”
glip“slip”
gly“slide”
skud“shake”
spring“jump”
vernietig“destroy”
beskadig“damage”
breek“break”
blameer“blame”
aanvaar“accept”
onderrig“teach”
bied (lesse) aan“give lessons”
verstaan“understand”
skoonmaak“tidy up” / “clean up”
studeer“study”
hersien“revise”
neem notas“take notes”
motiveer“motivate”
verbeter“improve”
verdien“deserve” / “earn”
verminder“reduce”
vermag“achieve”
oorweeg“consider”
vervoer“transport”
stoor“store”
stuur“send”
vervaardig“manufacture”
produseer“produce”
ontwerp“design”
  • Stuur die man na die kantoor toe. / “Send the man to the office.”
  • Oppas om nie te glip op die nat vloer nie. / “Take care not to slip on the wet floor.”
  • Sy studeer buite. / “She’s studying outside.”

A Female Student on Campus Studying Outside with a Laptop and a Book

Sy studeer buite. / “She’s studying outside.”

5.1 MODALE WERKWOORDE / “Modal Verbs”

One helpful definition of a modal verb is that it’s used to express:

  • ability;
  • possibility;
  • permission, or
  • obligation.

Modal verbs are auxiliary verbs that always appear with the main verb in sentences.

That sums it up neatly!

Modale Werkwoorde / “Modal Verbs”
AfrikaansEnglish
kan“can”
moet“must”
sal“will”
wil“want to”
mag“might” / “may”
  • Hy wil leer swem. / “He wants to learn (how to) swim.”
  • Die werk moet klaarkom. / Approximate: “The work must be finished.”
  • Mag ek hier sit, asseblief? / “May I sit here, please?”

A Young Family of Three Wearing Swim Gear in a Swimming Pool

Hy wil leer swem. / “He wants to learn (how to) swim.”

6. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – KOPPELWERKWOORDE / “Linking Verbs”

Can you recall the definition of a linking verb? Great! As its name suggests, it links the subject in a sentence to a word or phrase that describes the subject.

Koppelwerkwoorde / “Linking Verbs”
AfrikaansEnglish
heet

Note: This is a slightly more formal linking verb that’s still used in Afrikaans academic circles and by older Afrikaner folks. 
“is called”
word“become”
was“was”
  • Sy was suksesvol. / “She was successful.”
  • Die kinders word moeg. / “The children are becoming tired.”
  • Hy heet Sarel. / “He is called Sarel.” (Formal) 
  • Sy naam is Sarel. / “His name is Sarel.” (Colloquial)

A Woman in a Red Business Suit, Surrounded by a Group of People in Dark Office Gear

Sy was suksesvol. / “She was successful.”

7. Afrikaans Intermediate Words: BYWOORDE / “Adverbs”

As explained in the Beginner Afrikaans article, adverbs modify verbs. They often double as adjectives too, but adjectives are recognized in a sentence when they qualify the noun and/or by the presence of a linking verb, such as is (“is”) or was (“was”).

We’re going to look at:

    A. Bywoorde van tyd (“Adverbs of time and frequency”)
    B. Bywoorde van graad (“Adverbs of degree”)
    C. Bywoorde van plek (“Adverbs of place”)
    D. Bywoorde van wyse (“Adverbs of manner”)

Bywoorde van Tyd / “Adverbs of Time and Frequency”
AfrikaansEnglish
smiddae“in the afternoon”
saans“in the evening”
smorens“in the morning”
heeldag“all day”
heelnag“all night”
vroeg / vroëer“early” / “earlier”
laat / later“late” / “later”
soms“sometimes”
altyd“always”
gewoonlik“usually”
baiekeer“often”
tans“currently”
laas“last”
  • Ek werk smiddae. / “I work in the afternoons.”
  • Ons gaan laat uit. / “We go out late.”
  • Soms huil die baba. / “Sometimes the baby cries.”
  • Laas Kersfees was ons in Switserland. / “Last Christmas, we were in Switzerland.”

Three Red Christmas Candles with Hollies

Laas Kersfees was ons in Switserland. / “Last Christmas, we were in Switzerland.”

                              Bywoorde van Graad / “Adverbs of Degree”

These adverbs are often used to answer the question “How much?” Just like in English, they indicate the intensity of an action.
AfrikaansEnglish
redelik“pretty” / “fairly”
erg / baie“very”
byna“nearly”
amper“almost”
besonder“exceptionally” / “extraordinarily”
heeltemal“completely”
gladnie“not at all”
totaal“totally”
  • Die werk lyk redelik maklik. / “The work looks fairly easy.”
  • Die wind voel besonder koud. / “The wind feels exceptionally cold.”
  • Hy ry baie vinnig. / “He is driving very fast.”

A Young Boy Wearing a Winter Hoodie in Cold Weather

Die wind voel besonder koud. / “The wind feels exceptionally cold.”

                              Bywoorde van Plek / “Adverbs of Place or Position”

These adverbs are often used to tell you where an action is performed.
AfrikaansEnglish
binnekant“inside”
binnetoe“to the inside”
buitekant“outside”
buitetoe“to the outside”
hierheen“here” / “this way”
daarheen“there” / “that way”
huistoe“home” / “homeward”
werk toeLiterally: “work to” / “to work”
  • Die bal rol buitetoe. / “The ball is rolling to the outside.”
  • Sy gaan huis toe. / “She’s going home.”
  • Dis koud; ons gaan binnekant sit. / “It’s cold; we’re going to sit inside.”

A Vehicle on a Narrow Road in a Mountainous Area

Ons gaan huistoe. / “We are going home.”

                                        Bywoorde van Wyse / “Adverbs of Manner”

Just like in English, almost all adverbs can be used as adjectives too. Unlike in English, though, Afrikaans adverbs usually remain the same.
AfrikaansEnglish
helder“brightly”
moeilik“with difficulty”
maklik“easily”
vrolik“cheerfully”
hartseer“sadly”
gretig“eagerly”
getrou“faithfully”
gelukkig“fortunately”
opgewonde“excitedly”
skaam“shyly”
eerlik“honestly”
oneerlik“dishonestly”
skuldig“guiltily”
onskuldig“innocently”
veilig“safely”
onveilig“unsafely”
warm“warmly”
koud“coldly”
kwaai / kwaad“angrily”
angstig“anxiously”
bang“scared”
gemaklik“comfortably”
lui“lazily”
versigtig“carefully”
lomp“clumsily”
saggies“gently” / “softly”
jaloers“jealously”
vorentoe“forward”
agtertoe“backward”
  • Sit jy gemaklik? / “Are you sitting comfortably?”
  • Hy voel lui. / “He feels lazy.”
  • Katte lyk altyd onskuldig. / “Cats always look innocent.”

Color Block Showing the Abbreviation of Adverb, i.e. adv.

Bywoord / “Adverb”

8. Afrikaans Intermediate Words: Voegwoorde / “Conjunctions”

As their name suggests, conjunctions bring words, sentences, or different parts of sentences together. Voeg is a verb in Afrikaans that means “to join” or “to put together.” 

To learn more, be sure to read this article on Afrikaans conjunctions.

Afrikaanse Voegwoorde / “Afrikaans Conjunctions”
AfrikaansEnglish
daarom“therefore”
anders“otherwise”
nogtans“nevertheless” / “still”
al“although” / “even if”
sodat“so that”
voor“before”
terwyl“while”
tot / totdat“until” / “till”
na / nadat“after”
  • Dis koud, daarom dra ek ‘n baadjie. / “It’s cold; therefore, I’m wearing a jacket.”
  • Ek sal studeer tot die son sak. / “I will study till the sun sets.” 
  • Borsel jou tande nadat jy geëet het. / “Brush your teeth after you’ve eaten.”

A Young Child Brushing Her Teeth in the Bathroom

Borsel jou tande nadat jy geëet het. / “Brush your teeth after you’ve eaten.”

9. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – VOORSETSELS / “Prepositions

If you can remember from the Beginner Afrikaans article, prepositions indicate the “relative position or relationship between two separately expressed concepts.”

And remember not to confuse them with adverbs of position or place!

VOORSETSELS / “Prepositions”
AfrikaansEnglish
van“of”
langs“next to”
in“in”
aan“to”
  • Ons bly in Kaapstad. / “We are living in Cape Town.”
  • Sit langs my. / “Sit next to me.”
  • Die handvatsel van die tas is stukkend. / “The handle of the suitcase is broken.”

Cute Twin Girls Sitting Together on a Bench

Sit langs my. / “Sit next to me.”

Learn the Most Common Afrikaans Intermediate Words Easily at AfrikaansPod101.com!

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About the author: Christa Davel is a bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and journalist, and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s been writing for InnovativeLanguage.com since 2017.

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250+ Names of Common Animals in Afrikaans

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Did you know that one of the oldest animals in the world was discovered in South Africa over two decades ago? Scientists named the skeleton, which was distinctly ape-like, “Little Foot.” So aap (“ape”) would be an appropriate first word on our list of animals in Afrikaans!

Little Foot is touted to be the evolutionary predecessor of humans. It was found by accident in 1998 among fossilized bones already obtained from a well-known excavation site called the “Cradle of Humankind” near Johannesburg. The skeleton is thought to be over three million years old.

Whether you believe this ape is our ancestor or not, animals have been part of our lives since time immemorial. So naturally, any language study would include these nouns, which is why I have compiled this comprehensive list of over 250 animal names in Afrikaans for you. To further expand your vocabulary, also make sure to take a look at our list of the most common Afrikaans nouns.

An African Vervet Monkey in a Tree.

Blouape kom baie algemeen in Suid Afrika voor. / “African vervet monkeys are very common in South Africa.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Domestic Animals
  2. Wild Animals
  3. Animal Body Parts
  4. Common Afrikaans Animal Expressions, Idioms, and Sayings
  5. Why not learn about animals in Afrikaans with AfrikaansPod101?!

1. Domestic Animals

1.1 Pets vs. Domestic Animals

There’s a distinction to be made between “pets” and “domesticated animals.” Pets are usually kept at a person’s home for the purpose of companionship, protection, and/or special assistance. On the other hand, domesticated animals are also kept by people, but usually not in their homes and not for company. Think farms and livestock. On farms, you’ll find livestock such as sheep, chickens, and cattle; there may also be animals classified as “wild” by law, which are still kept by humans.

In this article, there are places where certain domestic animals and wild animals will overlap because all animals were once wild. Over time, the wild dog became the lapdog and wild cats were tamed to the point where they could no longer survive in the wild. 

Some wild animals are tamed and kept as pets, but this is not common and not really advisable unless you’re a wildlife expert. Cats and dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years now. Yet most owners will testify that their kitties can still administer a mean scratch, and that their dogs can still give a nasty nip in a moment of excitement or fear. These wild impulses will never completely leave our pets.

Therefore, most wild animal pets (or domesticated wild animals) should be considered dangerous to a degree—even if they were born in captivity or were rescued at a young age. If they pose a risk to humans in the wild, chances are they will eventually pose the same risk in captivity. That’s just their nature.

A Blue-and-Yellow Macaw

Aras maak goeie troeteldiere. / “Macaws make good pets.”

1.2 Pets in Afrikaans

Pets have been and still are our companions, and greatly beloved ones at that. Let’s start with the most common Afrikaans animal words for those who live at home with us.

Note: In Afrikaans, we do have specific names for the offspring of many animals and we do distinguish their gender. However, we most often refer to them in the following terms.

  1. mannetjie / literally: “little male”
  2. wyfie / literally: “little female”
  3. kleintjies / literally: “little ones” 

AfrikaansEnglish
1. aramacaw
2. budgiebudgerigar
3. kokketielcockatiel
4. duifpigeon / dove
5. vinkfinch
6. kanariecanary
7. poupeacock
8. papegaaiparrot
9. parkietparakeet
10. kaketoecockatoo
Example Sentences:
  • Die vink vlieg. / “The finch is flying.”
  • Slaap die ara? / “Is the macaw sleeping?”
  • Hoor hoe praat die papegaai! / Approx: “Listen, the parrot talks!”
  • Gee die duif kos, kyk hoe maer is dit. / “Give the pigeon food; see how thin it is.”
  • Hy neem sy parkiet na die veearts toe want dis siek. / “He’s taking his parakeet to the vet because it’s sick.”
Note: The babies of all bird pets are normally called kuikens (“chicks”).

Fun Fact! Did you know that in South Africa, 89% of house pets are dogs, followed by cats, birds, and fish? This is perhaps because interaction with dogs has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in their owners. Studies have also shown that dogs have increased levels of feel-good hormones (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) in their brains after interacting with their humans!

A Young Woman Holding a Box with Cute Kittens

Ek is lief vir al my troeteldiere maar my katte is die naaste aan my hart. / “I love all my pets, but my cats are the closest to my heart.”

11. katcat
12. Siamese katSiamese cat
13. huiskathouse cat
14. honddog
15. bulhondbulldog
16. boerboelboer bull
17. mopshondpug
18. poedelpoodle
19. teeffemale dog / bitch
20. reunmale dog
21. hamsterhamster
22. rotrat
23. muismouse
24. marmotguinea pig
25. haas & konynhare & rabbit
Example Sentences:
  • My marmot is mooi. / “My guinea pig is pretty.”
  • Dit is ‘n bruin muis. / “It is a brown mouse.”
  • Is daar water in die konyn se hok? / “Is there water in the rabbit’s cage?”
  • Haar opregte Duitse Herdershond het al baie pryse gewen op skoue. / “Her pure-bred German Shepherd has won many prizes at shows.”
  • Ek is lief vir al my troeteldiere maar my katte is die naaste aan my hart. / “I love all my pets, but my cats are the closest to my heart.”

Fun Fact! Did you know that photos of odd-looking or very photogenic pets can earn insane amounts of money? Thank social media for this, because at the time of writing, a million hits on Instagram could earn up to ZAR 250 000 (approximately $16,500) per animal post, which is double what a human influencer could make. This is according to Bronwyn Williams, a marketing specialist from Flux Trends.

During a photoshoot, always take care to act humanely towards your furry subjects and keep only their best interests at heart.

A Gorgeous Cat and Dog Lying Together

Sommige troeteldiere is baie fotogenies. / “Some pets are very photogenic.”

26. goudvisgoldfish
27. koi viskoi fish
28. slangsnake
29. skilpadtortoise
30. sywurmssilkworms
Example Sentences:
  • My goudvis swem. / “My goldfish is swimming.”
  • Die slang seil weg. / “The snake is slithering away.”
  • My broer het ‘n skilpad vir ‘n troeteldier. / “My brother has a tortoise as a pet.”
  • Sywurms eet net moerbeiblare en het ‘n kort lewensspan. / “Silkworms eat only mulberry leaves and have a short lifespan.”
  • Troeteldiere kan baie fotogenies wees. / “Pets can be very photogenic.”

Fun Fact! Did you know that cat lovers are known as ailurophiles and dog lovers are cynophiles? According to one online study conducted by the research company GfK in 2014, Russia, France, and the U.S.A. are the countries with the most ailurophiles; Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil have the most cynophiles. 

More people keep dogs as pets than cats, but women are more likely than men to own either or both. The study also indicated that more men keep fish than women.

In China, fish are the most popular pets, while Turkish people prefer birds. Respondents from South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan recorded the highest number of non-pet owners.

In Europe, the British, French, and Swiss are the biggest spenders on their pets. But globally, Americans spend the most on theirs—a staggering $50 billion annually. This is unsurprising, as nine in 10 Americans are reported to see their pets as family members!

1.3 Farm Animals in Afrikaans

Farming is in Afrikaners’ blood. Most of our ancestors made their living keeping livestock, and the white Afrikaans-speaking South African population are colloquially referred to as the Boere (“Farmers”). Below, we’ll show you the names of farm animals in Afrikaans and bring a few key facts to light.

An Ostrich Running in the Veld

Volstruise kan baie verbasend vinnig hardloop. / “Ostriches can run remarkably fast.”

1.3.a Livestock / Domestic Farm Animals

As mentioned before, farm animals are not as tame as pets living in a house with people, but they’re still considered domesticated because people take care of them. We farm animals commercially for their meat and other products like eggs, milk, feathers, wool, hides, etc. Here is a list of the most popular farm animals in Afrikaans.

AfrikaansEnglish
31. hoenderchicken
32. eendduck
33. gansgoose
34. kalkoenturkey
35. tarentaalguinea fowl
36. beeste / beescattle / cow / bull / ox
37. koeicow
38. bulbull
39. kalfcalf
40. skaapsheep
41. ooiewe
42. ramram
43. lam / lammetjielamb / little lamb
44. varkpig
45. varksogsow
46. beerboar
47. varkiepiglet
48. bokgoat
49. donkie / eseldonkey
50. muilmule
51. perdhorse
52. merriemare
53. hingsstallion
54. vulletjiefilly
55. poniepony
56. alpakkaalpaca
57. kameelcamel
58. lamallama
Example Sentences:
  • Die muil loop stadig. / “The mule walks slowly.”
  • Hier is die vark. / “Here is the pig.”
  • Daardie is ‘n baie mooi skouponie. / “That is a very pretty show pony.”
  • Ons ry elke vakansie perd op die plaas. / “We ride horses on the farm every holiday.”
  • ‘n Kameel kan tot 75 liter water op ‘n slag drink. / “A camel can drink up to 20 gallons of water at a time.”

A Collection of Insects, an Arachnid, a Snail, and an Arthropod

Insekte word bestudeer as ‘n bron van voedsel en medikasie. / “Insects are being researched as a source of food and medicine.”

1.3.b Creepy-Crawlies, Reptiles & Amphibians

Of course, a number of other creatures abound in the wild too. The ones listed below occur abundantly where people live or in urban areas, and many of the insects are farmed as well.

AfrikaansEnglish
59. heuningbyhoney bee
60. vliegfly
61. brommerbluebottle fly / blow fly / moped
62. mierant
63. kewer / besiebeetle
64. kakkerlakcockroach
65. liewenheersbesieladybird / ladybug
66. skoenlapperbutterfly
67. motmoth
68. uislouse
69. weeluisbed bug
70. kopluishead louse
71. flooiflea
72. muskietmosquito
73. muggiegnat / midge
74. erdwurmearthworm
75. mopaniewurmmopani worm
76. meelwurmmealworm
77. duisendpootmillipede
78. honderdpootcentipede
79. kriekcricket
80. koringkriekcorn cricket
81. sprinkaangrasshopper
82. slaksnail
83. paddafrog
84. paddavistadpole
85. verkleurmannetjiechameleon
86. akkedislizard
Example Sentences:
  • Die erdwurm eet. / “The earthworm is eating.”
  • Die slak loop stadig. / “The snail crawls slowly.”
  • Daar is ‘n kriek in ons huis. / “There is a cricket in our house.”
  • Ek gaan nie daardie mopaniewurm eet nie, dis grillerig! / “I am not going to eat that mopani worm; it’s yucky!”
  • Sprinkane kan ‘n pes wees in die tuin. / “Grasshoppers can be a pest in the garden.”

Fun Fact! Did you know that antimicrobial peptides (AMP) found in insects are being studied for their potential to fight infection in humans? The same peptides play a crucial role in the immune system of humans too, making AMPs an important subject of study. Insects are very resilient against infection by most microbials, and AMPs found in the likes of bees, flies, and beetles can even fight multiple types of drug-resistant bacteria. In fact, some scientists believe that AMPs may even replace antibiotics in the future!

A Flock of Cape Buffalo Standing in the Veld

Die Kaapse Buffel is die grootste van die sogenaamde grasland buffels. / “The Cape Buffalo is the largest of the so-called savannah buffalo.”

1.3.c Wildlife Ranching

Wildlife ranching is called “game farming” in South Africa. Animals are kept and taken care of on what is commonly referred to as a “game farm” or wildsplaas. Game farms are kept for conservation, tourism, and breeding purposes. Farmers also (unfortunately) sell these animals as they’re popular for their meat, horns, hides, and canned hunting.

AfrikaansEnglish
87. wildsbokkeantelope
88. blouwildebeesblue wildebeest
89. buffelbuffalo
90. waterbuffelwater buffalo
91. rooibokimpala
92. duikerduiker
93. springbokspringbuck
94. gemsbokgemsbok / oryx
95. swartwitpensboksable antelope
96. kameelperdgiraffe
97. koedoekudu
98. zebrazebra
99. bergzebramountain zebra
100. Burchell zebraBurchell’s zebra
101. waterbokwaterbuck
102. vlakvarkwarthog
103. volstruisostrich
104. renosterrhinoceros
105. Afrika renosterAfrican rhino
106. olifantelephant
107. Afrika bosolifantAfrican bush elephant
108. seekoeihippopotamus
Example Sentences:
  • Dit is ‘n zebra. / “It is a zebra.”
  • Die vlakvark is wild. / “The warthog is wild.”
  • ‘n Volstruis kan baie hard skop, so wees versigtig. / “An ostrich can kick very hard, so be careful.”
  • Ongelukkig is renosterhoring ‘n gewilde item vir onwettige uitvoere. / “Unfortunately, rhino horn is a popular item for illegal export.”
  • ‘n Olifant se gehoor is uiters goed. / “An elephant’s hearing is extremely good.”

Three Springbuck in Their Natural Environment

Groot getalle springbokke kom steeds wild voor in Suid Afrika. / “Large numbers of springbuck still occur in the wild in South Africa.”

Not-So-Fun Fact… In May 2019, the South African government surreptitiously passed an amendment to the (surely wrongly-named) Animal Improvement Act, which reclassified 33 wild species as farm animals. The list included endangered species such as black rhinos, cheetahs, water buffalo, and more. This is sad news, seeing that the wildlife ranching-and-breeding industry in South Africa is still underregulated and has experienced some heartbreaking exposés of malpractice in the past.

Without tight regulation, this permissive law may just cause more criminal cockroaches to crawl out of the woodwork.

Fortunately, a proposed amendment of the Meat Safety Act to approve the commercial sale of threatened-and-protected-species (TOPS) and lion meat, was minister-vetoed in late 2020. Captive lion breeding is also in the crosshairs of wildlife conservationists and advocates worldwide, and they are unrelenting in their pressure on the South African government to ban this horrendous practice.

That said—not all game farms are terrible places, and not all game farmers are greedy exploiters of their livestock. In fact, most of them adhere to prescribed regulations and follow good, lawful practices. They assist in protecting endangered wildlife and the environment, and their treatment of the animals is humane.

A Snarling Male Lion in the Bush

Leeus is steeds die konings van die woud. / “Lions are still the kings of the jungle.”

109. leeulion
110. wolfwolf
111. tiertiger
112. gorillagorilla
113. sjimpanseechimpanzee / chimp
Example Sentences:
  • Die buffel is sterk. / “The buffalo is strong.”
  • Die leeu slaap vanaand. / “The lion sleeps tonight.”
  • Sjimpansees is baie interessante diere. / “Chimpanzees are very interesting animals.”
  • Gorillas is van die aapfamilie wat in woudagtige gebiede woon. / “Gorillas are (members) of the ape family which live in the woods.”

2. Wild Animals

You’ll see that I excluded some wild animals from the following list. Gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers, and wolves are not indigenous to South Africa and live only in captivity on special game resorts or in zoos. Chimps and gorillas can be found elsewhere in Africa, most notably in mid to western African countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The only wolf that we do have roaming our savannas is a tiny fellow called the aardwolf (literally: “earth wolf”). Strictly speaking, it is not a wolf and is closer in resemblance to a hyena. It’s not even predatorial, such as its namesake, but lives on a diet of termites.

A Large Gray Wolf Howling in the Pine Woods

Gryswolwe kom nie natuurlik voor in Suid Afrika nie. / “Gray wolves don’t occur naturally in South Africa.”

Also, the only wild “tiger” occurring in the country is very cute-looking and somewhat resembles a tiny tiger. Called the miershooptier (literally: “anthill tiger”), it often makes its home in abandoned termite nests or anthills. In English, the miershooptier is called a black-footed cat or a small spotted cat. It’s the second-smallest type of cat in the world, weighing only 2.5 kilos (about 5.5 pounds) in adulthood.

Furthermore, of the approximately 12,000 lions left in South Africa, the majority currently live either on breeding farms (in cages or camps) or on wild farms and game reserves. The latter are aimed at their preservation and conservation, as well as the promotion of responsible hunting (though some critics dispute this claim). The former keep these majestic animals solely for breeding and canned hunting purposes.

2.1 On the Land

South Africa is a country with lots of uninhabited space, where plenty of wildlife can still be found—and where the animals prefer to stay. We don’t have any lions roaming the streets of our towns and cities. Below, you’ll find a list of common wild animals in Afrikaans belonging to the mammalian world and otherwise. 

2.1.a Mammals

AfrikaansEnglish
114. jagluiperdcheetah
115. hiënahyena
116. strandwolfbrown hyena
117. gevlekte hiënaspotted hyena
118. jakkalsjackal / fox
119. Kaapse jakkalsCape fox
120. rooijakkalsblack-backed jackal
121. bakoorjakkalsbat-eared fox
122. luiperdleopard
123. wildehondwild dog
124. wilde kat / vaalboskatwild cat / desert cat
125. siwetkatcivet
126. tierboskatAfrican serval cat
127. muskeljaatkatgenet
128. meerkatsuricate / meerkat
129. eekhoringsquirrel
130. waaistert-grondeekhoringCape ground squirrel
131. aapmonkey
132. blouaapvervet monkey
133. nagapiebushbaby
134. bobbejaanbaboon
135. molmole
136. vlermuisbat
137. dassiedassie
138. klipdassierock dassie
139. weselweasel
140. Afrikaanse weselAfrican weasel
141. muishondmongoose 
142. stinkmuishondstriped polecat / skunk
143. vlakhaasCape hare
144. ystervarkporcupine
145. Kaapse ystervarkCape porcupine
146. krimpvarkiehedgehog
147. aardvarkaardvark
148. bosvarkbush pig
149. otterotter
150. Kaapse otterCape otter
151. ratelhoney badger
152. ietermagogpangolin
153. skeerbekmuisforest shrew

A Skunk Running in the Veld

Die muishond kom ook voor in Suid Afrika. / “The skunk can also be found in South Africa.”

2.1.b Creepy-Crawlies & Reptiles

All the creepy-crawlies and reptiles found in domestic areas can also be found in the wild. Here, they’re found in much greater numbers alongside plenty of other species.

154. skerpioenscorpion
155. gloeiwurm glowworm
156. vuurvliegfirefly
157. renosterkewerrhino beetle
158. reuse kewergiant beetle
159. stinkgogga / stinkbesiestink bug
160. oorkruiperearwig
161. luislangpython
162. boaboa
163. boomslangtree snake / boomslang
164. adderadder
165. pofadderpuff adder
166. kobracobra
167. Mosambiekse spoegkobraMozambican spitting cobra
168. rinkhalsring-necked spitting cobra
169. molslangmole snake
170. mambamamba
171. groenmambagreen mamba
Example Sentences:
  • Dié kewer stink. / “This beetle stinks.”
  • Daar is ‘n boomslang. / “There is a tree snake / boomslang.”
  • Die rinkhals kom slegs voor in Suiderlike Afrika. / “The ring-necked spitting cobra can only be found in Southern Africa.”
  • Molslange is onskadelik en kan goeie troeteldiere maak. / “Mole snakes are harmless and can make good pets.”
  • Die grootste verskil tussen boas en luislange is dat boas lewendig geboorte skenk, terwyl luislange eiers lê. / “The main difference between boas and pythons is that boas give live birth while pythons lay eggs.”

Fun Fact! Did you know that the Southern African luislang (“python”), also called the rock python, can grow up to five meters (16 feet) long? They’re not fond of being in excessive heat for long periods of time, so during the extremely hot summer months, they like to slip into cool, deep pools and stay there with only their heads above the surface. These pools and ponds are also their preferred hunting areas.

Fortunately for us, this particular species rarely grows big enough to swallow humans. (But I still wouldn’t advise allowing any adult pet python to sleep in the same bed as a child!) The snakes prefer to feed on small antelope, birds, rodents, small pigs, apes, and dassies because eating large prey would mean having to lie still for a very long time so the food could digest. Remaining inert makes the snakes vulnerable to their natural enemies, which include mongooses, hyenas, other snakes, crocodiles, and wild dogs. Southern African pythons are helpful in controlling rodent and ape populations where they live.

A Large Python Laying Coiled among Foliage

Die Suid-Afrikaanse luislang kan tot vyf meter (16 voet) lank word. / “The South African python can grow up to five meters (16 feet) long.”

2.2. In the Water

Both inland bodies of fresh water and the oceans hugging our coasts teem with their unique selection of wildlife. Keep reading to learn the names of various fish and sea animals in Afrikaans. 

2.2.a Ocean Life

South Africa is flanked by two different oceans: the Atlantic Ocean on the western side and the Indian Ocean on the eastern side.

AfrikaansEnglish
172. walviswhale
173. Southern Right walvisSouthern Right whale
174. dolfyndolphin
175. stompneus dolfynbottlenose dolphin
176. snoeksnoek
177. haaishark
178. grootwithaai / witdoodshaaigreat white shark
179. swaardvisswordfish
180. tunatuna
181. bloumarlynblue marlin
182. stokvisshallow water hake
183. diepwater stokvisdeep water hake
184. skelvishaddock
185. koningklipkingklip
186. sardynsardine
187. robseal 
188. Kaapse pelsrobCape fur seal
189. seeleeusealion
190. seekatoctopus
191. inkvissquid
192. jellievisjellyfish
193. bloublasiebluebottle / Portuguese man o’ war
194. krapcrab
195. kreeflobster
196. seeslaksea slug
197. oesteroyster
198. mosselmussel
199. seeskilpadturtle
200. seeslangsea snake
201. seesterstarfish
202. see egelsea urchin
203. seekomkommersea cucumber
204. see-anemoonsea anemone
Example Sentences:
  • Dit is ‘n dolfyn. / “That is a dolphin.”
  • Seeslange is gevaarlik. / “Sea snakes are dangerous.”
  • Die krap loop skeef-skeef. / Literally: “The crab walks skew-skew.”
  • Die Southern Right walvis kom voor aan die suidelike kus van Suid Afrika. / “The Southern Right whale occurs along the southern coast of South Africa.”
  • Die Groot Vier in die Suid Afrikaanse oseane is die Afrika pikkewyn, die Kaapse pelsrob, die Southern Right walvis, en die Groot Wit Haai. / “The Big Four in the South African oceans are the African penguin, the Cape fur seal, the Southern Right whale, and the great white shark.”

Fun Fact! Did you know that it’s rather easy to treat a bluebottle sting? These aquatic animals have long tentacles with barbs that inject venom on contact. Their stings look like whiplashes across the skin lined with small red dots, and they’re exceptionally painful. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the stings are harmless and easily treatable.

An online search for the correct treatment of a bluebottle sting proved confusing, as contradictory advice abounds even among official, non-commercial sites. For instance, many sources insist that sting victims are never to pour vinegar on bluebottle wounds, as it will exacerbate the pain. However, some recent, well-designed scientific studies contradict this.

A Beached Bluebottle Jellyfish

Jy wil nie op ‘n bloublasie trap nie! / “You don’t want to step on a bluebottle!”

First, let’s look at how to avoid getting stung in the first place. Then, we’ll discuss how to decrease pain and suffering in the event of a sting. There are a few things you shouldn’t do:

Don’t…

  • …swim in water you know is likely bluebottle-infested.
  • …go to the beach unprepared, especially if you know you might encounter bluebottles. Pack clear vinegar, a bottle of fresh water (not for drinking), and a long item with which to remove tentacles (think chopsticks or a grill tong).
  • …touch or pop the bladder of a beached bluebottle. (Dead bluebottles can still sting.)
  • …rub the sting wound with sand or apply any pressure before taking step 2 under the next heading below. (At this point, even light pressure will instantly increase the venom load, which means more pain.)
  • …rinse the wound with alcohol, shaving cream, baking soda, or urine, as these can also increase the venom load in some bluebottle species.

Now let’s look at sting treatments, as advised by the researchers of a recent, excellent study conducted at the School of Medicine, Hawaii University. The researchers studied and tested the efficacy of first-aid measures for bluebottle stings, and their advice was echoed in a South African review article that was recently published in the Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology journal.

A Glass Bottle Containing Clear Vinegar

Gebruik onverdunde asyn op ‘n bloublasiesteek. / “Use undiluted vinegar on a bluebottle sting.”

Immediately After a Sting:

  1. There may not be any, but rinse off adhering bluebottle tentacles with seawater or undiluted vinegar. Ideally, avoid using freshwater for this step, as it could result in more venom cells releasing their toxins into the skin.
  2. If some tentacles don’t rinse off, they’ll need to be removed manually. If you’ve used vinegar to douse the tentacles, it will inhibit their ability to continue stinging and protect the helper too, but this has not been proven in vivo, it seems. Some sources claim that it’s safe for adults to remove tentacles with their bare fingers, while other sources caution against this, as one could get stung oneself. To be safe, consider using an item like chopsticks, a dry stick, or even grilling tongs for this step.
  3. With the tentacles gone, it’s time to remove the tiny barbs. First, douse the wound again with undiluted vinegar. The Hawaiian study has found that vinegar completely inhibits the embedded cells from discharging their venom, even when pressure is applied. Common, shop-bought vinegar is fine for this purpose.
  4. Now, scrape off any tiny barbs still adhering to the skin with the edge of something like a knife, a razor blade, or even a credit card. You could use tweezers for this, as well. Removing the barbs will help the victim avoid secondary stinging and further injury.

As Soon as Possible After a Sting: 

Submerge or douse the wound with hot water (as hot as can be tolerated), for as long as possible. This will reduce pain, as heat breaks down the pain-causing venom in the body. In fact, this step is helpful in virtually all aquatic sting wounds. Take a large bottle of water to the beach and let it sit in the sun to heat, so you can have hot water ready in the event of a sting.

Seek Medical Help If:

    the sting is severe and covers a large area of the person’s body (especially in children);
    the pain persists; or 
    other symptoms develop after taking the aforementioned first-aid measures.

Side-effects and allergic reactions are extremely rare, but individual physiology differs, and a large venom load could cause problems in some cases.

A Bottlenose Dolphin Jumping Out of the Water

Bottelneus dolfyne is sierlike diere. / “Bottlenose dolphins are graceful animals.”

2.2.b Freshwater

The inland bodies of water have an equally impressive list of inhabitants. 

AfrikaansEnglish
205. waterskilpadturtle
206. seekoeihippopotamus
207. krokodilcrocodile
208. NylkrokodilNile crocodile
209. rivierpalingriver eel
210. waterslangwater snake
211. salmsalmon
212. katviscatfish
213. foreltrout
214. reënboog forelrainbow trout
215. karpcarp
216. basbass
217. geelvisyellowfish
218. rooiborskurpertilapia
219. kabeljoucod
220. moddervislabeo
221. Oranjerivier moddervisOrange River mudfish
222. makrielmackerel
223. naaldekokerdragonfly
224. waterhondjiewater walker
225. waterjufferdamselfly
226. hottentotsgotpraying mantis
Example Sentences:
  • Die makriel swem. / “The mackerel are swimming.”
  • Ons eet kabeljou. / “We are eating cod.”
  • Naaldekokers is baie mooi vir my. / “Dragonflies are very pretty to me.”
  • Die hottentotsgod se voorpote is wapens waarmee hy sy prooi gryp. / “The front legs of the praying mantis are weapons with which it grabs its prey.”
  • Daardie rivier is gevaarlik om in te swem want daar kom krokkodille voor. / “That river is dangerous for swimming because crocodiles are found there.”

A Dragonfly

Al het hulle ses lang bene, kan naaldekokers nie goed loop nie. / “Even though they have six long legs, dragonflies can’t walk well.”

2.3 In the Sky

South African birds are a paradise for ornithologists. Especially for a walk in the veld or the mountains, remember to bring good binoculars or a camera, a bird guide, and a notebook.

AfrikaansEnglish
227. houtkapperwoodpecker
228. arendeagle
229. visarendfish eagle
230. visvangerblack cormorant
231. valkfalcon / hawk
232. uilowl
233. aasvoëlvulture
234. kraanvoëlcrane
235. bloukraanvoëlblue crane
236. ooievaarstork
237. pelikaanpelican
238. kiewietplover / lark
239. tarentaalguineafowl
240. mossieCape sparrow
241. spreeusparrow
242. fisantpheasant
243. flaminkflamingo
244. reierheron / egret
245. hadedahadeda ibis
246. gompoukori bustard
247. gonsvoëlbuzzard
248. horingbekvoëlhornbill
249. suikerbekkiesunbird / sugarbird
250. bontvisvangerskingfishers
251. sekretarisvoëlsecretary bird
252. seemeeuseagull
253. albatrosalbatross
254. pikkewynpenguin
255. Afrika pikkewynAfrican penguin
256. vinkfinch
257. kraaicrow
258. koekoekcuckoo
259. lysterthrush
260. swaanswan
261. kwartelquail
Example Sentences:
  • Die koekoek sing. / “The cuckoo is singing.”
  • Daar sit ‘n seemeeu. / “There sits a seagull.”
  • Op die water gly ‘n swaan rustig. / “On the water, a swan is drifting peacefully.”
  • Hoor hoe die lysters sing in die tuin. / “Listen to the thrushes singing in the garden.”
  • Kwarteleiers is ‘n gewilde dis aan ons tafel. / “Quail eggs are a favorite dish at our table.”

A Colony of African Penguins on Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Boulders Beach in Simonstad, Kaapstad, huisves groot kolonies Afrika pikkwyne. / “Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, Cape Town, is home to large colonies of African penguins.”

3. Animal Body Parts

Just like the human body, the bodies of animals, insects, and reptiles have different parts.

AfrikaansEnglish
kophead
horing/shorn(s)
oogeye
eyes
oreears
snoetsnout
snorbaard/ewhisker(s)
voeler/sfeeler(s)
bekthe mouth of any animal, except a bird’s
snawelbill / beak
tandeteeth
slagtand/eincisor(s) OR fang(s)
tentakel/stentacle(s)
nekneck
lyf / liggaambody
borschest 
voorlyfupper body / torso
tiet/eteat(s) / breast(s)
tepel/snipple(s)
agterlyfrump
sterttail
been / beneleg(s)
voorbeen / voorbenefront leg(s)
agterbeen / agterbenehind leg(s)
poot / potepaw(s)
voorpoot / voorpotefront paw(s)
agterpoot / agterpotehind paw(s)
klou/eclaw(s)
nael/snail(s)
flipper / vinflipper / fin
kieugill
kiewegills
veer / verefeather(s)
stertveer / stertveretail feather(s)
dons / donsveredown (feathers)
pelscoat
haar / harehair 
skub / skubbescale(s)
Example Sentences:
  • Visse het skubbe. / “Fish have scales.”
  • Donsvere is sag. / “Down feathers are soft.”
  • Voels het nie tande nie. / “Birds don’t have teeth.”
  • ‘n Blink pels dui gewoonlik op ‘n gesonde dier. / “A shiny coat usually shows that an animal is healthy.”
  • Presies waar sit ‘n baber se tentakels? / “Exactly where are a catfish’s tentacles situated?”

4. Common Afrikaans Animal Expressions, Idioms, and Sayings

  1.  Hy lyk of die kat sy kos gesteel het.
    “He looks like the cat stole his food.”

    This describes someone who looks disappointed, discouraged, or dejected.
  1. Jy kerm soos ‘n kat oor ‘n derm!
    “You complain like a cat over a piece of intestine!”

    Use this comment when someone complains and moans about trivialities and nonsense, or when they don’t want to stop complaining. The rhyme in Afrikaans gives it a humorous effect.
  1. Al dra ‘n aap ‘n goue ring bly dit maar ‘n lelike ding.
    “Even when a monkey wears a golden ring, it remains an ugly thing.”

    This saying means that no matter how much an unattractive, uncouth person or object is spruced up or presented, they remain ugly.

    Note: Be cautious how you use this idiom, though. Some might find it offensive.

A Female Monkey Sitting with Her Baby in a Tree

Al dra ‘n aap ‘n goue ring bly dit maar ‘n lelike ding.
“Even when a monkey wears a golden ring, it remains an ugly thing.”

  1. Addergebroedsel
    “Offspring of adders”

    This strong, colorful term that sounds like it belongs in a Greek drama is used to describe sly, unreliable, or even dangerous people. In a sentence, you would say:

    Moet nie daardie politikusse glo nie; hulle is addergebroedsel.
    “Don’t believe those politicians; they’re the offspring of adders.”
  1. Dis ‘n bees van ‘n pampoen!
    “That is a bull of a pumpkin!”

    This expression is used to describe anything exceptionally large or impressive. One can replace pampoen with many other nouns to indicate its extraordinary size or extent.
  1. Selfs bobbejane het daar ‘n kierie nodig.
    “(To walk) there, even baboons need a walking stick.”

    This saying is used to describe a road or place that is practically impassable.
  1. Susan en Pieter gaan bokke bymekaar jaag.
    “Susan and Peter are going to herd their goats.”

    This is an old way of saying that a couple is getting married.
  1. Donkie skel vir Langoor uit.
    “Donkey scolds Langoor.”

    This idiom is similar to the English, “The pot is calling the kettle black.” Langoor (literally: “long ears”) is a popular name for a donkey, especially in Afrikaans children’s fiction. So, the idiom is used to describe someone who criticizes another for something they’re guilty of themselves.
  1. ‘n Gebraaide duif / eend / gans vlieg niemand in die mond nie.
    “A fried pigeon / duck / goose won’t fly into anyone’s mouth.”

    With this idiom, we say that nothing is accomplished without effort. Interestingly, a similar-sounding saying is used in reference to someone who’s effortlessly lucky:

    Gebraaide ganse vlieg sommer in haar mond.
    “Fried geese simply fly into her mouth.”

A Rooster Sitting on a Fence and Crowing

Die winkel is net ‘n hanetree van ons huis af. / “The shop is only a rooster’s step from our house.”

  1. ‘n Hanetree
    “A rooster’s step”

    This expression is used when we want to say that one thing is a very short distance from another. It sounds like this in a sentence:

    Die winkel is ‘n hanetree van ons huis af.
    “The shop is a rooster’s step away from our home.”
  1. Wanneer die hoenders tande kry
    “When chickens grow teeth”

    When someone uses this ironic idiom, it means that something is very unlikely to happen. It can be used as-is in a comment, or in a sentence like this:

    Hy sal eers verander wanneer die hoenders tande kry.
    “He will change only when chickens grow teeth.”

    Another saying with the same meaning is:

    Wanneer die perde horings kry.
    “When horses grow horns.”

A Beautiful Fox Standing in the Snow

Jakkals prys sy eie stert! / “Fox praises his own tail!”

  1. Die hond se gedagtes kry
    “To get the dog’s thoughts”

    This odd expression is used in reference to one’s thoughts of suspicion. Like this:

    Hy was aanvanklik optimisties oor die projek, maar die kontrak het hom die hond se gedagtes gegee.
    “He was optimistic about the project at first, but the contract made him suspicious.”
  1. As ‘n mens ‘n hond wil slaan kry jy maklik ‘n stok.
    “If you want to beat a dog, you’ll easily find a cane.”

    This means that if you really feel like harming or hurting someone, you’ll easily find a way to do so.
  1. Jakkals prys sy eie stert.
    “Fox praises his own tail.”

    This vivid saying is used to comment when someone boasts excessively about their own accomplishments or attributes.
  1. Die kalf is in die put.
    “The calf is in the well.”

    In the olden days, when Afrikaans Christian folks were forced to work on a Sunday (such as when there was an emergency on the farm), they would use this saying. These days, we use it to indicate that doing something that’s (strictly speaking) disallowed or unplanned is inevitable due to an emergency. You could use it in the following context, for instance:

    Ons word nie eintlik in die kantoorgebou toegelaat oor naweke nie, maar die kalf is in die put. Die versoek vir hierdie uiters dringende verslag het onverwags vroeg gekom.

    “We are not really allowed to enter the office building over weekends, but it is inevitable. The request for this very urgent report came unexpectedly early.”
  1. Nie ‘n kat se kans nie
    “Not a cat’s chance”

    This saying is used to convey that the chances of something happening are very limited or non-existent.

    Hy het nie ‘n kat se kans met daardie meisie nie.
    “He doesn’t have any chance with that girl.”

The Naked Torso of a Very Skinny Guy

Hy is so maer soos ‘n kraai. / “He is as thin as a crow.”

  1. So maer soos ‘n kraai
    “As thin as a crow”

    If you want to say that someone is physically very thin, this is the idiom you’d use.
  1. Mossie, maar man
    “(Only a) sparrow, but (a real) man”

    When a boy or a man of small stature distinguishes himself as courageous, intelligent, and persistent in the face of a challenge, this saying would describe them well. Also, think of a cheeky chihuahua furiously barking at (and often scaring off) a much larger dog—tiny but impressively courageous! Mossie (“sparrow”) is used interchangeably with muggie (“gnat”).
  1. Dis net die oortjies van die seekoei.
    “Those are only the ears of the hippo.”

    The hippopotamus’ natural habitat is close to water, in which it often swims to keep cool and feeds on vegetation. When the animal rests, it lies just under the surface with only a small part of its head visible above water. We use this metaphor when only a small part of something is known or observable, meaning that the largest part is unknown or hidden—just like the large hippo’s body under the water.
  1. Slaan twee vlieë met een klap
    “Hits two flies with one smack”

    If you’re in town to have coffee with a friend, but you also make use of the opportunity to run an errand, then you’ve “hit two flies with one smack,” so to speak. This is a comment on using time and opportunity economically. Consider this sentence:

    Slaan sommer twee vlieë met een klap; kom kuier wanneer jy weer in hierdie omgewing is vir werk.
    “Why not be economical with time; pay me a visit when you come this way again for work.”

5. Why not learn about animals in Afrikaans with AfrikaansPod101?!

I hope you learned something interesting from this article. What’s your favorite animal? Name it in Afrikaans in the comments!

With AfrikaansPod101, you’ll not only learn the names of animals in Afrikaans—we have so much more to offer. Get to know the language and Afrikaans culture by starting with these blog posts:

  1. How Hard is it to Learn Afrikaans?
  2. The Best Afrikaans Verbs List at Your Fingertips!
  3. Best List of Must-Know Afrikaans Pronouns
  4. Top Compliments in Afrikaans for All Occasions!
  5. Names and Terms for Families in Afrikaans
  6. The South African Weather Experience — What You Need to Know

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About the Author: Christa Davel is an experienced, bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and copy editor, who’s currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s been writing for InnovativeLanguage.com since 2017.

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Your Guide to the Best Basic Afrikaans Phone Phrases!

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The very first telephone in South Africa entered Cape Town around 1878. Apparently, a watchmaker named Adolph Boettger imported it from Germany, and it was first used in the post office. That phone was even more primitive than the model in this image, which was called a “candlestick telephone.”

An Old Candlestick Telephone.

Kandelaar telefone is vervaardig in die vroeë negentiende eeu. / “Candlestick telephones were manufactured in the early nineteenth century.”

Like the rest of the world, South Africa hasn’t looked back since. Cell phones arrived on the scene in 1994, and just like in most other countries, these devices basically took over the telecommunication industry. But while there has never been a more critical time to pick up Afrikaans phone phrases, you might be doubtful as to their relevance. 

In fact, many members of the previous generation wouldn’t even be able to tell you what the item in the photo above is, let alone what it was used for! Since the advent of smartphones, terms like “push button telephone” have become basically obsolete, while “iOS” and “Android” are commonplace. Well, that’s technological progress for you.

A Woman Talking on a Smartphone.

Goeie foonetiket is belangrik. / “Good phone etiquette is important.”

That said, dial-button phones are still in use (though mainly for business purposes). And one thing that has not disappeared or changed is phone etiquette. No matter which device is used, the basics of how to address someone over the phone have remained the same.

Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of practical Afrikaans phone call phrases in English and categorized them for your convenience! Also, whether you’re taking or making a call, you still need to greet the person on the other side. So quickly learn all about that in this article titled How to Say “Hello” in Afrikaans Like a Native Speaker! or master it using this easy lesson.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Taking a Call
  2. Making a Call and Starting a Conversation
  3. The Rest of the Conversation…
  4. Example Dialogues
  5. AfrikaansPod101 for the Best Afrikaans Phone Phrases & Much More!

1. Taking a Call

The type of call you’re receiving will determine the Afrikaans phone phrases you’re going to use. Below are examples of how to take a formal call, a business call, and a personal call.

1.1 Formal & Business

For business purposes, if you have a formal relationship with the caller or if you don’t know who’s calling, you’ll answer the phone in a relatively formal, polite way. If you don’t want to identify yourself when taking a call, it’s okay not to in South Africa. 

Note that the following greetings are either neutral or time-specific.


These short, common greetings for receiving a call are most appropriate if you don’t know the caller, you don’t want to identify yourself, and/or you don’t wish to encourage conversation. Preferably, don’t bark out this greeting when you answer! Keeping your tone friendly and polite will help you avoid embarrassment—you never know who could be on the other side of the phone!
    Hello? / Goeiedag? / Goeiemore? / Goeiemiddag? / Goeienaand? 
    “Hello?” / “Good day?” / “Good morning?” / “Good afternoon?” / “Good evening?”
Next are more respectful, formal greetings to use when you don’t know the caller.
    Goeiemiddag. Wie praat, asseblief? 
    “Good afternoon. Who’s calling, please?”

    Goeienaand, dis Magda wat praat?
    “Good evening, it’s Magda speaking?”

    Goeiemore, Magda hier?
    “Good morning, Magda here?”
You would use the following when you answer the phone at work. Afrikaans phone call phrases for business contexts tend to follow the same format, said in a polite tone. When you’re answering the call as a receptionist, personal assistant, shop attendant, etc., you would:
  1. say hello
  2. name the company or business, and
  3. identify yourself.
Sometimes, the third step is replaced with another phrase, or omitted altogether.
    Goeiedag, Brink en Vennote, dis Mariëtta wat praat?
    “Good day, Brink, De Bruin and Partners, Mariëtta speaking.”

    Goeiemore, Dokter Camilla De Beer se spreekkamers. Kan ek help? 
    “Good morning, Doctor Camilla De Beer’s rooms. May I help you?”
This is a polite, formal phrase to use when you know the caller’s identity.
    Goeiemiddag, Dokter De Beer, dis Thijs wat praat.
    (“Good afternoon, Doctor De Beer, Thijs speaking.”)

Note: All of these phrases are statements, but you would use them with a questioning tone. This invites the caller to identify themselves and/or return your greeting and state their business.

A Friendly, Young Black Man Sitting on a Couch, Making a Call on a smartphone.

Goeiemiddag, Dokter De Beer, dis Thijs wat praat. / “Good afternoon, Doctor De Beer, Thijs speaking.”

1.2 Informal

Most of the time, if you know the caller and you’re not taking a business call, it’s customary to answer your phone informally. 


You would say something like this:
    Hello Ma. (“Hello Mom.”)

    Goeiedag! (“Good day!”)

    Haai daar! (“Hi there!”)

    Haai jy! (“Hey you!”)

    Haai Magda! What’s up?! (“Hi Magda! What’s up?!”) 

    South Africa is very Anglicized and Afrikaans speakers often mix their language with English slang or popular phrases from one of the other national languages. As you can imagine, this one is a very informal, casual greeting.

    More Tannie Kotie. (“Morning, Auntie Kotie.”) 

    Note that Goeiemore can be contracted to More, similar to “Good morning” vs. “Morning” in English. 

Oom and Tannie (“Uncle” and “Auntie”) are the forms of address Afrikaners use for much older folks, as well as older relatives. This is a sign of respect. However, when meeting someone for the first time, you’ll often be invited to ditch the formalities and call them by their first name. That said, it’s always best to wait for this invitation, because over-familiarity does not sit well with the older Afrikaners (especially those from rural communities). 

After using any one of these greetings, it’s okay to wait for the other person to introduce themselves (if you don’t know their identity, of course), to return a greeting, and/or to start a conversation. Afrikaners often love a good chat!

A Friendly Young Businesswoman Talking on a Telephone at Her Desk.

More Tannie Kotie. / “Morning, Auntie Kotie.”

2. Making a Call and Starting a Conversation

But what if you’re the caller? Then different rules apply. 

2.1 Formal & Business

When you’re making a business call or have a formal relationship with the person you’re calling, you would reply to the previously listed formal phrases like this:

    Goeiedag, Mariëtta, Thijs hier. Gaan dit goed met jou? 
    “Good day, Mariëtta, Thijs here. Are things going well for you?”

    Goeiemiddag, ___. My naam is ___ en ek wil graag met ___ praat, asseblief?
    “Good afternoon, ___. My name is ___ and I would like to speak with ___, please?”

    Goeiemore Meneer/Mevrou/Me. Hoe gaan dit met u?
    “Good morning, Sir/Madam. How are you doing?”

Note: You could say “Hello” instead of using a time-based greeting. This is generally acceptable, unless:
  1. you’re addressing someone very senior to you (such as a high-ranking employee or your boss),
  2. or a prominent dignitary or politician, especially at formal events.
However, it wouldn’t be a social death to use “Hello.” Afrikaners are down-to-earth and not too hung up on strict formalities, but using a time-greeting is considered good Afrikaans—especially if you want to show off your language skills a bit!

Also note the use of the formal u pronoun, which is plural for “you.” That said, if you’re making a formal call to someone you know is younger than you, it would be okay to simply use jou instead.

A Woman with Red Lipstick Holding the Speaker Piece of a Blue Telephone.

Goeiemore Meneer. Hoe gaan dit met u? / “Good morning, Sir. How are you doing?”

2.2 Informal

When you’re making a phone call in Afrikaans to someone you’re close with or to a business associate you know quite well, the appropriate informal response would sound like this:

    Hello, my kind! Hoe gaan dit?!
    “Hello, my child! How are you?”

    My kind is a common way for parents and older relatives to address a younger loved one. It’s almost a term of endearment.
    Hey! Hoe lyk dinge?!
    “Hey! How are things?!”

    Hoe lyk dinge?! and “How goes?” are two expressions that serve as super-casual greetings to which no reply is expected. They’re mainly (but not exclusively) used by Afrikaner men—think meeting your mates at a bar to watch a lively rugby match together! You can reply if you want to, but really, these are just the noises people make to acknowledge someone’s presence and indicate pleasure at seeing them.
    Hello ___! Hoe gaan dit daar met julle?
    “Hello ___! How is everything on your [plural] side?”
    More Magdatjie! Hoe gaan dit met jou, my skat?
    Lit. “Morning little Magda! How are you doing, my treasure?”

    Many Afrikaners love using diminutives to show affection, but it’s reserved only for people the speaker knows well.

A Young Woman in a Yellow Top, Walking in the City while Talking on Her Cell Phone.

Hello ___! Hoe gaan dit daar met julle? / “Hi ___! How is everything on your [plural form] side?”

3. The Rest of the Conversation…

So you’ve taken or made the call and you both know who you’re speaking to—now what? Here are the appropriate Afrikaans phone conversation phrases with which to continue.


First, you’re going to reply to any query after your well-being. Like in English, this is more of a social habit to ease conversation rather than a sincere question—unless you and the speaker are close, of course. In such a case, it would be acceptable (and even expected) for you to be honest in your reply. 

However, you would usually reply like this, which is perfectly fine for both formal and informal conversations:
  1. If you’re being asked, then reply with: 
    Dit gaan goed met my, dankie, en self? 
    “I am well, thank you, and you?”

  2. If you have asked, you now also get a turn to state how you are. The simplest way is to repeat what the other person said and add ook (“too”): 
    Dit gaan goed met my ook, dankie. 
    “I am well too, thanks.”
Informal alternatives that are fit for use when you know the caller or respondent relatively well:
  1. Alles wel diekant, dankie. En self?
    “All well on this side, thank you. And you?

  2. Dieselfde hier, dankie. 
    “Same here, thank you.”
  1. Kannie kla nie, dankie. Self?
    “Can’t complain, thanks. And you?

  2. Dis goed om te hoor. Dieselfde hier, dankie.
    “That’s good to hear. Same here, thank you.”
Note: These Afrikaans phone phrases can be used interchangeably, meaning this is not a fixed formula. See our example dialogues below.

Now you need to state your reason for the call.

A Woman's Hands Dialing on an Office Telephone.

Gebruik toepaslike Afrikaanse foonfrases om ‘n goeie foon gesprek te verseker. / “Use appropriate Afrikaans phone phrases to assure a good phone conversation.”

3.1 Formal & Business

You have already encountered one reply to a business call where the caller stated their business. If the person who took the call doesn’t know you, you’ll always introduce yourself first. Depending on the reason for the call, you can either state your first name and surname, or only your first name.

More Formal: My naam is ___. (“My name is ___.”) / Dis ___ wat praat. (“This is ___ speaking.”)
Informal: ___ hier. (“___ here.”)


Next, you can state the reason for your call with one of these phrases:
    Ek het ‘n boodskap gekry dat ek julle moet bel?
    “I received a message that I should call you?”

    Ek wil graag bespreek vir…
    “I would like to make a booking for…”

    Ek wil ons bespreking bevestig, asseblief.
    “I would like to confirm our reservation, please.”

    Ek wil graag ‘n afspraak maak met / vir ___, asseblief.
    “I would like to make an appointment with / for ___, please.”

    Ek wil ‘n bespreking / afspraak vir more kanselleer, asseblief.
    “I want to cancel a booking / appointment for tomorrow, please.”

Note: In South Africa, it’s customary to cancel a booking with a service provider at least 12 to 24 hours in advance. Some, not all, will charge you the appointment amount (or a portion of it) if the cancellation is late, or if you don’t pitch without cancelling. This is not the case with restaurants, except fine diners which often charge a non-refundable booking fee or deposit.
    Is Dokter De Beer daar, asseblief? Ek het ‘n dringende navraag.
    “Is Doctor De Beer in, please? I have an urgent query.”

    Ek wil met iemand praat oor ___, asseblief?
    “I need to speak to someone about ___, please?”

A Young Secretary Talking on the Telephone in a Work Setting.

Hou aan vir dokter De Beer, asseblief. / “Please hold for Doctor De Beer.”


Once the purpose of the call is clear, any one of the following response phrases would be appropriate:
    Hou aan vir dokter De Beer, asseblief. 
    “Please hold for Doctor De Beer.”

    Hou aan, asseblief, ek kyk of sy beskikbaar is.
    “Hold on, please, I will see if she’s available.”

    Dankie dat u aangehou het. Dokter De Beer is besig met ‘n pasiënt. Kan sy u later terugskakel?
    “Thank you for holding. Doctor De Beer is busy with a patient. Can she call you back a bit later?”

Note: The formal pronoun u (“you”) is customary when you’re addressing clients, unless the company’s business style is informal or you know the caller well. All the pronouns in the example sentences can be replaced with others, of course. Learn all about Afrikaans pronouns in this blog post! 
    Hoe kan ek help?
    “How can I help?”

    Dankie dat jy teruggebel het. Ek skakel jou deur na ___  toe.           
    “Thank you for calling back. I am putting you through to ___.”

    Hou aan, asseblief.Approximate:
    “Stay on the line, please.”

    Wil jy ‘n boodskap laat?
    “Would you like to leave a message?”

A Young Man Sitting Outside, Talking on a Cellphone.

Hoe kan ek help? / “How can I help?”

3.2 Informal

Informal replies following the initial greetings and introductions usually lead to a casual conversation, since you’re most likely talking to a friend or someone you know well. 

For the purposes of this article, we haven’t included many informal Afrikaans phone phrases for a complete conversation—the possibilities are too numerous! However, see the example dialogue below.


Here are a few popular informal phrases you could use when you’re the caller:
    Mag ek met ___ praat, asseblief? 
    “May I speak with ___, please?”

    Sal jy seblief vir haar sê ek het gebel?
    “Will you please tell her I called?”

    Mag ek ‘n boodskap los, seblief? 
    “May I leave a message, please?”

    Het jy planne vir ___? 
    “Do you have plans for ___?”

    Is jy besig ___?
     “Are you busy ___?
    “This can mean “Are you busy?” or “Will you be busy on / at ___,” depending on the context.

    Wat doen jy ___?
    This can mean “What are you doing?” or “What will you be doing [on] ___,” depending on the context.

    → Kom ons gaan eet pizza.
    “Let’s go have pizza.”

    Tel jou sesuur op?
    “Pick you up at six o’clock?”

    Goed dan. Sien jou netnou!
    “All good. See you soon!”

Note: Seblief is a contraction of asseblief, which means “please.” Also, some of the incomplete questions can be used as they are, but, just like in English, they will mean something slightly different. Or, they can be completed with the time, a date, or a day of the week. Here’s also an article on authentic South African foods that might come in handy when making plans! 

A Friendly Young Asian Woman in a Business Suit Talking on a Cellphone while Looking at Her Watch.

Tel jou sesuur op? / “Pick you up at six o’clock?”


Next are a few popular phrases to consider using if you’ve received the call:
    Hou aan, ek roep haar.Approximate:
    “Hold the line, I’ll call her.”

    Jammer, ___ is nie hier nie. Wil jy ‘n boodskap los?
    “Sorry, ___ isn’t here. Would you like to leave a message?”

    ___ vra dat jy asseblief oor ‘n uur weer sal bel.
    “___ has asked you to please call again in an hour.”

    Ek is nie besig nie. Wil jy iets saam doen?Approximate:
    “I’m not busy. Would you like to get together?”

    Ek is los ___.
    “I’m free [on] ___. “

    Ek is los om ___.
    “I am free at ___.”

    Pizza klink lekker.
    “Pizza sounds nice.”

    Ek kan ___ maak. 
    “I can make ___.”

    → ___ is goed.
    “___ is good.”

    Sien jou later!
    “See you later!”

    Jammer, ek is besig ___.
    “Sorry, I am busy [on] ___.”

4. Example Dialogues

Now, let’s apply what we’ve learned! Below are two examples of what a call in Afrikaans might sound like depending on the context. 

4.1 Business / Formal Dialogue

A Confident, Friendly Female Doctor Dressed in a White Medical Gown.

Goeie foonetiket is net so belangrik soos ‘n goeie “bedside manner” in enige mediese praktyk. / “Good phone etiquette is as important as a good bedside manner in any medical practice.”

Afrikaans phone call phrases in English need not flummox you! Take a look at this dialogue.


Thijs has to speak to his GP, Doctor Camilla De Beer, about a prescription. He has already been this doctor’s patient for years and knows her receptionist, Nelia. This is how he conducts the call:

Dr. De Beer’s Receptionist Nelia: 
Goeiemore, Dokter Camilla de Beer se spreekkamer, Nelia wat praat?
“Good morning, Doctor Camilla de Beer’s Rooms, Nelia speaking?”

Thijs: 
Goeie more, Nelia. Dis Thijs de Vriese wat praat. Hoe gaan dit?
“Good morning, Nelia. It’s Thijs de Vriese speaking. How are you doing?”

Nelia: 
Goeiemore, Thijs. Dit gaan goed met my, dankie, en self?
“Good morning, Thijs. I am doing well, thanks, and you?”

Thijs: 
Dit gaan goed met my ook, dankie. 
“I am also doing well, thanks.”

Nelia: 
Hoe kan ek help, Thijs?
“How can I help, Thijs?”

Thijs: 
Is Dokter De Beer beskikbaar om te praat, asseblief? Ek het ‘n dringende navraag.
“Is Doctor De Beer available to talk, please? I have an urgent query.”

Nelia: 
Hou aan, asseblief. Ek sal kyk of sy beskikbaar is.
“Hold the line, please. I will see if she’s available.”

Thijs: 
Dankie, Nelia.
“Thank you, Nelia.”

Nelia: 
Dokter is besig met ‘n pasiënt. Kan ek ‘n boodskap neem of vra dat sy jou terugskakel? 
“The doctor is busy with a patient. May I take a message or ask her to return your call?”

Thijs: 
Ja, laat sy my terugbel asseblief, Nelia. Ek sal dit waardeer. Baie dankie.
“Yes, ask her to call me back please, Nelia. I will appreciate that. Thank you very much.”

Nelia: 
Dis ‘n plesier. Totsiens, Thijs.
“It’s a pleasure. Goodbye, Thijs.”

Thijs: 
Totsiens.
“Goodbye.”

4.2 Informal

A Smiling Young Latina in a City Setting, Looking at Her Cell Phone.

Is jy besig vanaand? / “Are you busy tonight?”


Morgan has not seen her friend, Sandy, for a while and misses her. This is how Morgan would go about organizing a get-together over the phone. Remember, Morgan’s caller ID is showing on Sandy’s phone.

Sandy: 
Haai jy! How goes?!
“Hey you! How goes?!”

Morgan: 
Kan nie kla nie, en self?
“Can’t complain, and you?”

Sandy: 
Great! Dieselfde hier, dankie.
“Great! Same here, thank you.”

Morgan: 
Is jy besig vanaand?
“Are you busy tonight?”

Sandy: 
Ek is nie besig nie. Wil jy iets doen?
“I’m not busy. Would you like to meet up?”

Morgan: 
Kom ons gaan eet pizza. 
“Let’s go get pizza.”

Sandy: 
Pizza klink lekker! 
“Pizza sounds good!”

Morgan: 
Kry jou sesuur by Pizza Place? 
“Meet you at Pizza Place, six o’clock?”

Sandy: 
Sesuur is goed. Sien jou nou-nou!
“Six o’clock is good. See you soon!”

Morgan: 
Cool! Baai! Literally:
“Cool! Bye!”

Do you have any peculiar phone call phrases in your native tongue? Please share these with us in the comments!

5. AfrikaansPod101 for the Best Afrikaans Phone Phrases & Much More!

We hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to let us know in the comments if there are any phrases or situations we missed, and we’ll be glad to help you!

Of course, while knowing Afrikaans phone conversation phrases is an essential skill, it’s not quite enough. Why not sign up immediately to learn even more Afrikaans? 

Our team of experts employ the latest online language teaching techniques to offer you a unique learning experience. Also, thousands of Afrikaans lessons are available for your use, including free resources such as apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, and Kindle Fire

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About the author: Christa Davel is an experienced, bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and editor, and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s been writing for InnovativeLanguage.com since 2017.

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The 200+ Best Afrikaans Words for Beginners

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After the alphabet, mastering Afrikaans beginner words is the best place to start your Afrikaans learning journey. (Don’t have the Afrikaans alphabet under the belt yet? No problem! You should find this article and the free downloadable Guide for Beginners very useful.) Learning beginner words is essential in building vocabulary for basic communication.

If you’re busy trying to get your foot in the door and learn the basics of Afrikaans, then this is your one-stop vocabulary list for the most important Afrikaans words for beginners! For your convenience, we’ve grouped them into the main word types and included a few sample sentences to illustrate their use.


The Letters ABC on a Notebook with a Pencil.

Begin Afrikaans leer met eenvoudige woordeskat. / “Start learning Afrikaans with simple vocabulary.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Selfstandige Naamwoorde / “Common Nouns”
  2. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Byvoeglike Naamwoorde / “Adjectives”
  3. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voornaamwoorde / “Pronouns”
  4. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Telwoorde / “Counting Words”
  5. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Werkwoorde / “Verbs”
  6. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Bywoorde / “Adverbs”
  7. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voegwoorde / “Conjunctions”
  8. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Lidwoorde / “Articles”
  9. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voorsetsels / “Prepositions”
  10. Let AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn Even More Afrikaans!

1. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Selfstandige Naamwoorde / “Common Nouns”

Nouns are the words we use to identify people, places, animals, and things. Beginners should focus on learning the Afrikaans words for the most familiar people as well as the most common places and items.

Fun Fact: Do you know the longest Afrikaans noun in existence? Nobody will blame you if you don’t—it’s 136 letters long and not commonly used at all!

Tweedehandsemotorverkoopsmannevakbondstakingsvergaderingsameroeperstoespraakskrywer-spersverklaringuitreikingsmediakonferensieaankondiging roughly translates to: “issuable media conference’s announcement at a press release regarding the convener’s speech at a second-hand car dealership union’s strike meeting.”

A Red Classic Sports Car.

Die langste aangetekende woord in Afrikaans het te doen met ‘n persverklaring oor die uniestaking van tweedehandse-motor handelaars. / “The longest recorded word in Afrikaans is about a media release dealing with the union strike of secondhand-car dealerships.”

Note: The following nouns are all in the singular form, except for a few irregular nouns that remain identical for the plural and singular forms.


Selfstandige Naamwoorde / “Common Nouns”
AfrikaansEnglish
Mense en Familie / “People and Relatives”
vrou, man, kind, babawoman, man, child, baby
mamom
padad
seun, dogter, meisieson / boy, daughter, girl
ouma, oupagrandmother, grandfather
oom, tannie

Note: These nouns are the names we call our parents’ siblings

They’re also casual forms of address for Afrikaans people a lot older than us, even when we’re not related. This is a sign of respect towards older folks. The younger generation doesn’t care much how you address them, but, especially in more formal situations, it would be prudent to wait for an invitation before using people’s first names.
uncle, aunt / auntie
Liggaamsdele / “Body Parts”
lyf / liggaam, kop, hare, oorbody, head, hair, ear
oog, neus, mond, tandeye, nose, mouth, tooth
arm, hand, vinger, naelarm, hand, finger, nail
been, voet, toonleg, foot, toe
Tyd / “Time”
uur, minuuthour, minute
dag, week, maand, jaarday, week, month, year
Beroep / “Profession”
baas, werkerboss, worker
dokter, verpleegkundigedoctor, nurse
onderwyser, polisiebeampteteacher, police officer
Alledaagse Items  / “Everyday Items”
pen, papier, potlood, boekpen, paper, pencil, book
selfoon, rekenaarcell/mobile phone, computer
huis, stoel, tafel, bedhouse, chair, table, bed
bord, mes, vurk, lepelplate, knife, fork, spoon
klere, broek, hemp, rok, jas, skoen/eclothes, pants, shirt, dress, jacket, shoe/s
Kos en Drank / “Food and Drink”
vrug, groente, vleis

Note: Vleis and groente are irregular nouns that remain the same for the singular and plural forms.
fruit, vegetable, meat
brood, suiker, eierbread, sugar, egg
pap, sous, kaas, pastacereal / porridge, gravy, cheese, pasta
water, koffie, tee, melk

Note: Melk is an irregular noun as it remains the same for the singular and plural forms. Also, the Afrikaans waters (“waters”) is not a plural, but a mass name describing a big expanse of water. It’s a rather poetic term not commonly used in the vernacular.

The use of the plural for tee (“tea”) is also uncommon.
water, coffee, tea, milk
Plekke en Geboue / “Places and Buildings”
land, stad, dorpcountry, city, town
huis, tuiste, tuinhouse, home, garden
kerk, skool, winkelchurch, school, shop
Diere / “Animals”
kat, hond, voëlcat, dog, bird
slang, muis, perdsnake, mouse, horse

A Black-and-White Cat Playing with Feathers.

Die kat speel. / “The cat is playing.”

Got these easy Afrikaans words for beginners? Great! If you’re keen to speed up your learning, then also take a look at this article: Learn the 100 Most Common Nouns in Afrikaans.

Now for a few sentences with nouns and other basic Afrikaans words for beginners:

  • My vrou is mooi. / “My wife is pretty.”
  • Hy is ‘n dokter. / “He is a doctor.”
  • Dit is ons huis. / “This is our house.”
  • Die kat speel. / “The cat is playing.”

2. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Byvoeglike Naamwoorde / “Adjectives”

In sentences, adjectives are used to tell us more about the nouns. Adjectives possess a few characteristics:

  1. They can add color and vibrancy to otherwise bland language. 
  2. Sometimes, they’re simply informative and descriptive so as to assure accuracy and understanding.
  3. Another feature is that they have degrees of comparison. For example: vinnig, vinniger, vinnigste / “fast, faster, fastest.”
  4. In a sentence, they usually appear…
    …in front of a noun, which makes them attributiewe byvoeglike naamwoorde / “attributive adjectives.” (E.g. Dit is ‘n vinnige trein. / “It is a fast train.”)
    …or after the linking verb, which makes them predikatiewe byvoeglike naamwoorde / “predicative adjectives.” (E.g. Die trein is vinnig. / “The train is fast.”)

Note: Did you notice how the Afrikaans adjective modifies, depending on its position in the sentence?

An Express Train Entering a Station.

Die trein is vinnig. / “The train is fast.”

For the purpose of this article, we’re only listing adjectives in their predicative form. This means that if you want to form a “beginner” sentence, you can simply insert any of the following adjectives after the linking verb is.

Byvoeglike Naamwoorde / “Adjectives”
AfrikaansEnglish
vriendelikfriendly
nors / onvriendelikgrumpy / unfriendly
oulikcute
goedgood
slegbad
vlakshallow
diepdeep
stadigslow
vinnigfast
hardhard OR loud
sagsoft
soetsweet
positiefpositive
negatiefnegative
grootbig
kleinsmall
mooipretty
lelikugly
maklikeasy
moeilikdifficult
bangscared / afraid
kortshort
vetfat
maerthin
rykrich / wealthy
armpoor
slimsmart
domstupid
meermore
minderless
blou, geel, rooi (All colors are adjectives, only occasionally nouns.)blue, yellow, red
helder clear / bright
snaaksfunny
moegtired
boon top
onderunder / below
agter behind
lanklong
suiwerpure

Here’s what predicative adjectives would look like in beginner Afrikaans sentences.

  • Die water is suiwer. / “The water is pure.”
  • Ons reis is lank. / “Our journey is long.”
  • Die grap is snaaks. / “This joke is funny.”

A Young Child Laughing with Abandon.

Die grap is snaaks. / “The joke is funny.”

Ready to speak and write more descriptively? That’s great! Be sure to take a look at The Essential Afrikaans Adjectives List for more inspiration. 

3. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voornaamwoorde / “Pronouns”

Most languages have different types of pronouns, which are substitutes or “place keepers” for articles and nouns. Without them, a language would sound clumsy, because you would repeatedly be using articles and nouns (such as “the boy”, or the boy’s name—Aiden, for instance) in sentences. Pronouns allow you to sometimes replace “the boy”, or “Aiden”, with “he”, and to refer to Aiden’s possessions as “his”. 

So, to be clear—in this example, “he” and “his” are two of the three types of pronouns in English.

Because pronouns are so common, have an important syntactic purpose, and are usually not that complex to learn, we’ve included them in our list of basic Afrikaans words for beginners. Also, take a look at this Best List of Must-Know Afrikaans Pronouns!

In the list below, we’ve differentiated between different types of pronouns, as this information is good to know from the onset.

3.1 Persoonlike Voornaamwoorde – Voorwerp/ “Personal Pronouns – Subject”

Note: Personal pronouns are the subject in sentences, or, in other words—they perform the action as indicated by the verb.

To illustrate with a simple English sentence: “He helps me”.

He = personal pronoun, subject (performing the action.)
me = personal pronoun, direct object (‘receiving’ the action.)

AfrikaansEnglish
ekI
u – singular and plural formalyou
jy – singular informalyou
hyhe
syshe
ditit
onswe
julle – plural, informalyou
hullethey
  • Ek eet. / “I eat.” OR “I am eating.”
  • Sy is welkom. / “She is welcome.”
  • Dit styg op” / “It’s taking off.”

Suitcases Stacked by an Airport Window, with a Plane Taking Off in the Background.

Dit styg op” / “It’s taking off.”

3.2 Persoonlike Voornaamwoorde – Onderwerp/ “Personal Pronouns – Object”

The object pronouns, as the name indicates, serve as the object in a sentence. Or, in other words, it indicates the person or object who ‘receives’ or upon whom an action is performed, so to speak. 

To use our previous example sentence: “He helps me“.

He = personal pronoun, subject (performing the action.)
me = personal pronoun, direct object (‘receiving’ the action.)

AfrikaansEnglish
myme
jou – singular informalyou
homhim
haarher
dit 

Note: When this refers to something or someone, it’s a personal pronoun. However, like in English, it’s also used to refer to natural or other phenomena such as rain, snow, wind, haunting, etc. Then it’s called an onpersoonlike voornaamwoord (literally: “impersonal pronoun”). Such as in the sentence: Dit spook (literally: “It is haunting”) or Dit reën (“It is raining”).
it
julle – plural, informalthem
hulleme
  • Dit pla my. / “It bothers me.”
  • Die man soen haar. / “The man kisses her.”
  • Sy kul ons. / “She is cheating us.”

A Young Man Kisses a Girl Lovingly on the Forehead.

Die man soen haar. / “The man kisses her.”

3.3 Besitlike Voornaamwoorde / “Possessive Pronouns”

As the name suggests, these pronouns indicate possession. Some are modified depending on their position in a sentence, but we will not be looking at any modifications here.

AfrikaansEnglish
mymy
jou – singular, informalyour
u – singular and plural, formalyour
syhis
haarher
onsour
julle – plural, informalyour/s
hulletheir
  • Vra sy ma. / “Ask his mom.”
  • Dis haar boek. / “It’s her book.”
  • Hulle kos is lekker. / “Their food is tasty.”

A Smiling Chef Preparing a Vegetable Dish.

Hulle kos is lekker. / “Their food is tasty.”

3.4 Aanwysende Voornaamwoorde / “Demonstrative Pronouns”

These pronouns are used to indicate something specific in a sentence. Beginners only need to master one.

AfrikaansEnglish
dié

Note: This can be a pronoun OR an article, depending on whether it’s used with a noun. Often, die is pronounced with emphasis when it’s used as a pronoun.
this
  • Dié is mooi. / “This is pretty.”

3.5 Vraende Voornaamwoorde / “Interrogative Pronouns”

These pronouns appear most often at the start of a sentence, or alone as a question. Here are the beginner ones. 

They’re also referred to as “question words” and many of them start with “W”.

AfrikaansEnglish
Wat?What?
Wie?Who?
Waar?Where?
Wanneer?When?
Hoe?How?
  • Wat doen jy? / “What are you doing?”
  • Wie is dit? / “Who is that?”
  • Waar is die badkamer? / “Where is the bathroom?”

Public Restroom Signs.

Waar is die badkamer? / “Where is the bathroom?”

4. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Telwoorde / “Counting Words”

These words always have something to do with numbers. The only type of counting word we’re going to look at here is called bepaalde hooftelwoorde (approximate: “primary counting words”). These are basically the names of numbers.

When you’re studying a new language, numbers are important to learn right from the start. They’re used to indicate important things such as the date and time, age, quantity, and lots more!

The numbers one through ten are very easy Afrikaans words for beginners. However, if you’re looking to learn more about the subject, you might find this article helpful: The Best Tips About Afrikaans Numbers 1 – 30 and Beyond.

Telwoorde / “Counting Words”
AfrikaansEnglish
1. eenone
2. tweetwo
3. driethree
4. vierfour
5. vyffive
6. sessix
7. seweseven
8. agteight
9. negenine
10. tienten
  • Aiden het twee selfone. / Literally: “Aiden has two cell phones.”
  • ‘n Week het sewe dae. / “A week has seven days.”
  • Sy is tien jaar oud. / “She is ten years old.”

Odd Numbers 1— 9.

Ongelyke getalle / “Odd numbers”

5. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Werkwoorde / “Verbs”

Verbs, as you know, are the words that name the action or actions in a sentence. 

When learning a new language, these are crucial words to know and might possibly be the most difficult to learn. This is because verbs, being action words, also tend to be the ones that change according to tense. This change in verbs is called “conjugation”.

Grammar Tip: Conjugations also appear in Afrikaans, but fortunately, learning these tense-based adaptations of verbs is not that difficult. One of the reasons for this is that, in Afrikaans, the verb form does not change for different persons. We only use verb conjugations for time! 

Most languages share this feature. Conjugation often includes the following features:
  • the spelling of the verb changes completely, 
  • another word is added to the verb, or
  • the ending or beginning of the verb is altered.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking at the different types of Afrikaans verbs, with a brief overview of how to use them in the present tense only. The present tense refers to actions taking place in the present, and in Afrikaans, it’s easy to learn. Unlike in English, there are no additional forms of the present tense (such as the present continuous tense, for instance).

What’s important is that the present tense refers to something that is always true or done on a regular basis. It’s also used for something that is occurring now.

Two Young Women Walking Arm-in-arm in the Snow.

Hulle loop. / “They are walking” OR “They walk.”

5.1 Hoofwerkwoorde  / “Independent Verbs”

These are the most commonly used verbs in the present tense.

AfrikaansEnglish
loopwalk (or run, for water)
staanstand
sitsit
lay
slaapsleep
droomdream
hardlooprun
drafjog
pakpack
studeerstudy
skryfwrite
tiktype
speelplay
werkwork
kryget / fetch
nooiinvite
swemswim
fliekmovie
kieschoose
mismiss
kuiervisit / hang out
betaalpay
helphelp
toertour
geegive
neem / vattake
blystay
gaango
reënrain
maakmake
praattalk
hou vanlike
vindfind
dinkthink
koopbuy
verkoopsell
bringbring
belphone
vraask
siensee
roepcall
weetknow
dinkthink
praattalk
geselschat
laglaugh
skreeshout
huilcry
waaiwave
kyklook
luisterlisten
eeteat
proeto taste
drinkdrink
herhaalrepeat
stuursend
  • Die man slaap. / “The man sleeps.”
  • Hy droom. / “He is dreaming.”
  • Hy . / “He lays (down).”

A Man Sleeping in Bed.

Hy droom. / “He is dreaming.” OR “He dreams.”

5.2. Koppelwerkwoorde / “Linking Verbs”

Linking verbs are those words in sentences that join a subject with a specific word or phrase that gives more information about it (the subject). 

Linking verbs are easily confused with main verbs, but as I mentioned before, they are always followed by an adjective, i.e. a word or phrase that qualifies the subject in a sentence.

Koppelwerkwoorde / “Linking Verbs”
AfrikaansEnglish
isis
smaaktastes
klinksound
ruiksmell
lyklook
voelfeel
  • Sy lyk moeg. / “She looks tired.”
  • Die kos smaak fantasties. / “The food tastes fantastic.”
  • Ek voel goed. / “I feel good.”

A Young Man Laughing Heartily

Ek voel goed. / “I feel good.”

6. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Bywoorde / “Adverbs”

Adverbs are verbs’ best friends—they tell us more about them. 

Note: You’ll see that adjectives and adverbs have similar functions and that their differentiation depends on the presence of a main verb. Just like adjectives, adverbs add flavor and flair to language, as well as details to increase accuracy and specificity.

As you’ve already learned, the linking or be-verb (koppelwerkwoord) is / “is” in a sentence indicates that the following word (or phrase) could be an adjective because it qualifies the noun. 

Grammar Tip: If there’s no linking verb in a sentence, it indicates that you’re probably dealing with an adverb.

For instance:
  1. Adjective: Die man is vinnig. / “The man is fast.” – with the linking verb is (“is”).
  2. Adverb: Die man hardloop vinnig. / “The man runs fast.” – without a linking verb.
Did you notice that vinnig (“fast”) in the second sentence modifies the main verb (“runs”), and not the noun (“man”)? Important to note is that in English, this only applies to the simple present and future tenses—not the present continuous. We don’t have these types of time distinctions in Afrikaans.

In Afrikaans, we have different types of adverbs, of which the following will be good to know as beginner words in Afrikaans:

  1. Bywoorde van wyse – “Adverbs of manner”
  2. Bywoorde van plek – “Adverbs of place”
  3. Bywoorde van tyd – “Adverbs of time”
  4. Bywoorde van graad – “Adverbs of degree”

A Grandfather Walks Hand-in-hand with His Two Small Grandchildren in the Road.

Hulle loop stadig. / “They walk slowly.” OR “They are walking slowly.”

6.1 Bywoorde van Wyse / “Adverbs of Manner”

Adverbs of manner tell us more about the nature of common verbs.

AfrikaansEnglish
hardloudly / hard
sagsoftly
hooghighly
laaglow
wonderlikwonderfully
goedwell
slegbadly / poorly
heerlikApproximate: tasty, wonderful
vinnigfast
stadigslowly
bangscary
moegtiredly
  • Hy skryf goed. / “He writes well.”
  • Dit voel hard. / “It feels hard.”
  • Die pannekoek proe heerlik. / Approximate: “The pancake tastes wonderful.”

A Plate of Chinese Pancakes with Meat and Veg.

Die pannekoek smaak heerlik. / Approximate: “The pancake tastes wonderful.”

6.2 Bywoorde van Plek / “Adverbs of Position/Place”

As you can probably guess, adverbs of position tell us more about where an action takes place.

AfrikaansEnglish
buiteoutside
binneinside
oralseverywhere
hierhere
daarthere
  • Ons sit binne. / “We are sitting inside.”
  • Dit sneeu buite. / “It snows outside.”
  • Daar loop hy. / Literally: “There he walks.”

A Few Women Are Walking with Umbrellas in the Snowstorm.

Dit sneeu buite. / “It snows outside.”

6.3 Bywoorde van Tyd / “Adverbs of Time”

These adverbs will answer questions related to time, such as “When?” or “What day?”

AfrikaansEnglish
vandagtoday
gisteryesterday
moretomorrow
nounow
danthen
laterlater
  • Ek werk vandag. / “I’m working today.”
  • Sy speel more. / “She’s playing tomorrow.”
  • Nou slaap die baba. / “Now the baby sleeps.”

A Sleeping Baby in Its Mother's Arms.

Nou slaap die baba. / “Now the baby sleeps.”

6.4 Bywoorde van Graad / “Adverbs of Degree”

These adverbs are often words that answer the question: “How much?” Just like in English, they indicate the intensity of an act. While you’re still mastering the basics of Afrikaans, you only need to know this one:

AfrikaansEnglish
baievery
  • DIe appel lyk baie goed. / “The apple looks very good.”

A Shiny, Red Apple with a Single Leaf.

Die appel lyk baie goed. / “The apple looks very good.”

7. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voegwoorde / “Conjunctions”

As you know, conjunctions are the so-called glue-words in Germanic languages. Their purpose is simple; they combine words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. For the purpose of this article, we’ll only look at the basics.


AfrikaansEnglish
maarbut
enand
want / omdatbecause
ofor
  • Ek praat maar hy bly stil. / “I talk but he keeps quiet.”
  • Ons slaap of ons kuier. / “We sleep or we chat.”
  • Die weer is koud en nat. / “The weather is cold and wet.”

A Young Woman Dressed in Winter Gear, Standing in the Snow Shivering.

Die weer is koud en nat. / “The weather is cold and wet.”

8. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Lidwoorde / “Articles” 

Just like English, Afrikaans has only two articles—‘n (“a”) and die (“the”)—and in a sentence, they always take position ahead of a noun.


Die is a bepaalde lidwoord (“definite article”) that refers to something or someone specific. It’s used for both singular and plural nouns.
  • Die slim politikus / “The clever politician”
  • Die politikusse / “The politicians”
‘n is an onbepaalde lidwoord (“indefinite article”). It refers to a thing or person in general and always in the singular. Note that, in Afrikaans, this article remains a lower-case letter even at the start of sentences and phrases. The word that follows it is always written with a capital letter.
  • ‘n Slim politikus / “A clever politician”
  • ‘n Vorm / “A form”

9. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voorsetsels / “Prepositions”

Prepositions are the last basic Afrikaans words for beginners that we’re going to look at. In a sentence, prepositions indicate the relative position of or the relationship between two separately expressed concepts

Note: They can indicate place and are therefore easily confused with adverbs of place, but don’t worry about that distinction too much at this point. Just learn the following, as they’re the most frequently used Afrikaans prepositions.  

Voorsetsels / “Prepositions”
AfrikaansEnglish
bo / bo-opon (top of)
onderunder
inin
uitout
  • Ek sit op die stoel. / “I’m sitting on the chair.”
  • Klim in die kar. / “Get in the car.”
  • Die lekkergoed val uit die blik uit. / “The candy falls out of the tin.”

A Woman Wearing a Large Hat, Sitting in a Beach Chair by the Seaside.

Ek sit op die stoel. / “I’m sitting on the chair.” OR “I sit on the chair.”

And that’s it, your list of easy Afrikaans words for beginners! 

10. Let AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn Even More Afrikaans!

In this article on words in Afrikaans for beginners, you learned the core words you should know in a variety of categories. But don’t stop here! 

AfrikaansPod101 has so much more in store for you. 

When you sign up, you get instant access to tools like:

1. The Afrikaans Core 100 Word List

2. A new Afrikaans word to learn every day

3. An extensive vocabulary list library, regularly updated

4. A free Afrikaans online dictionary

5. Monthly video talks and shows to help you learn easier and faster, and stay motivated

Don’t hesitate to subscribe now! With our excellent Afrikaans word lessons for beginners, you’ll build a solid foundation to help you master the language and sound like a native in no time.

Before you go: How many of these words did you know already? Let us know in the comments!

About the author: Christa Davel is a bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and journalist, and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s been writing for InnovativeLanguage.com since 2017.

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Afrikaans Filler Words to Make You Sound Like a Native

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Very few people can talk without using filler words or phrases, which would sound a little unnatural, like a speech that’s been rehearsed from a script. Lexically, pause fillers are words, phrases, or sounds without meaning, despite being so commonplace in the vernacular of probably every language.

Let’s have a brief look at their function in speech before proceeding to discuss some of the most common Afrikaans filler words.

A Man Talking with Letters Coming Out of His Mouth.

Filler words are commonplace in the vernacular of probably every language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. The Purpose of Filler Words in Afrikaans
  2. 11 Types of Useful Afrikaans Filler Words and How to Use Them Correctly
  3. Learn Afrikaans Filler Words with Ease on AfrikaansPod101.com!

1. The Purpose of Filler Words in Afrikaans

One of the most common and useful functions of filler words is to let the other person know that you haven’t finished talking. Imagine if, every time you paused to find the right word or the best way to phrase your next thought, you were interrupted because the other person thought you were done! 

So yes, while filler words may have little semantic value, they definitely serve a linguistic purpose and should not be thought of as extraneous or superfluous—unless someone has developed the habit of overusing them. 

The most common Afrikaans filler words resemble those in English, as you’ll see. Some of them are called “hesitation forms,” but they all have several purposes

Here are some other common uses for conversation filler words in Afrikaans: 

FunctionExample
They serve as speech fillers when one needs to think before commenting or gather their thoughts.Reg, so, um…ek sal maar begin.
“Right, so, um…I’ll just begin.”
They can also indicate feelings such as discomfort, shyness, unease, or amazement. In addition, they can even include sounds like clearing the throat, coughing, or inhaling and exhaling loudly.Ek…uh…wil net sé…um…dat…uh…ek van jou hou.
“I…uh…just want to say…um…that…uh…I like you.”
They’re used when: 
  1. the speaker wants to be polite by giving listeners time to process a complex message or explanation, or 
  2. a topic needs to be approached with delicacy
  1. En…uh…dis belangrik om hierdie punt te verstaan. 
    “And…uh…it’s important to understand this point.”

    So…um…daardie geld wat jy my skuld…” 
  2. “So…um…about that money you owe me…”
They’re also used when a listener wants to indicate that they’re paying attention, or that they empathize/sympathize with the speaker.Sjoe! Ja-nee ek sien wat jy bedoel. 
“Whew! Yes, yes, I see what you mean.”
They sometimes indicate that a person is lying and seeking confirmation from the listener. However, this doesn’t mean that most people who inject their speech with fillers such as “you know” or “Know what I mean?” are liars. These fillers could also just be speech habits and may be used without thought.So…jy weet…ek het net…soos in…verby die winkel geloop toe die venster sommer van self gebreek het! 
“So…you know…I was just…like…walking past the shop when the window just broke by itself!”
They often serve as interjections to enhance the meaning of what’s being said.Sjoe, maar haar rok was mooi!
“Wow, but her dress was stunning!”
They’re sometimes eloquent emotional utterances unique to a language, which, at least to native speakers, simply don’t need an explanation.Ai tog! Die trein is alweer laat! 
“Oh no! The train is late again!”

A Young Woman Talking with Her Friend.

Sjoe, maar haar rok was mooi! (“Wow, her dress was stunning!”)

One study showed that women use more fillers than men do. But this is only so until the age of 23, after which the gender difference disappears. The researchers also found that conscientious people tend to use more filler words than other people do.

What are the most unusual filler words in your native language? Tell us about them in the comments!


2. 11 Types of Useful Afrikaans Filler Words and How to Use Them Correctly 

In this list of Afrikaans filler words, you’ll see that some of them have distinct meanings while others are simply used as conversation filler words in Afrikaans.  

#1


AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Uhm / Ah / Uuuuh“Um” / “Ah” / “Uuuuh”
These are basically hesitation sounds that are also found in English, and they’re used the same way as their English equivalents. They often reflect delays in response or speech and occur because the speaker:
    ❖ is at a loss for words or needs to think before commenting,

    ❖ needs the listener to truly understand and/or hear what they’re saying, or

    ❖ is feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed, self-conscious, uncertain, or overwhelmed.
Ek dink jou horlosie is dalk…uhm…in die badkamer? Ek weet nie eintlik nie. 
“I think your watch is perhaps…um…in the bathroom? I don’t really know.”

Ah, dankie vir die kompliment! 
“Ah, thanks for the compliment!”

Laat ek aan ‘n ander voorbeeld dink. Uuuuhm… 
“Let me think of a different example. Uuuuhm…”

A Man and Woman Doing Work Together.

Laat ek aan ‘n ander voorbeeld dink. Uuuuhm… (“Let me think of a different example. Uuuuhm…”)

#2

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Ag“Oh” / “Aw” / “Ah”
Similar in sound to the German “ach,” this is one of the most versatile and popular fillers in Afrikaans that native speakers pepper their speech with. It can depict different emotional states. 

Ag is often used with ja (“yes”) and nee (“no”), depending on the context.
    ❖ Most often, we use it when we want to indicate that something doesn’t matter or it doesn’t matter that much. It’s regularly used with another popular filler: sommer (“just” / “just because”). In fact, in many contexts Ag is short for: Ag, dit maak nie saak nie. (“Oh, it doesn’t matter.”)

    ❖ It’s also popularly paired with the filler tog or toggie to indicate low- to medium-level frustration. This is close to the Yiddish “Oy vey” in meaning and doesn’t have an English equivalent. 

    ❖ It can also denote strong emotions, such as the speaker’s frustration and annoyance with something, or their despondency, disappointment, or resignation. It could also indicate the empathy or sympathy of a listener.

    ❖ We prolong either the “a” or the guttural “g” when we want to express that we find something utterly cute, cuddly, and/or adorable. In this sense, it’s similar to the English “Aaaaw.”
Ag, sit sommer die tasse daar neer. 
“Ah, just put the bags over there.” 
    → In the sentence above, Ag is used in conjunction with sommer to imply that the speaker doesn’t really care where you put the suitcases.

Ag toggie! Hierdie bottel is te moeilik om oop te maak! 
“Bah! This bottle is too difficult to open!” 
    → Learn more variations of Ag tog under #10 below.

Ag, moenie jou daaraan steur nie.  
“Oh, don’t let it bother you.”

Ag nee man, dis sommer nonsens.  
Lit. “Oh no, man, that’s just nonsense.”

Ag, wat kan mens doen. Niks. 
“Ah, what can one do? Nothing.”

Ag jaaaa, daar was nooit regtig twyfel oor die wedstryd se uitkoms nie. 
Approx: “Ah yes, the outcome of the match was never really in doubt.”

Kyk hierdie gemmer katjie. Aaag, hoe oulik!  
“Look at this ginger kitten. Aaaw, how cute!”

A Couple Meeting Guests with Luggage at Their Front Door.

Ag, sit sommer die tasse daar neer. (“Ah, just put the bags over there.”)

#3

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Ja-nee / Ja-ja, okay / Jaaaa“Yes-no” / “Yes-yes, okay” / “Yeah”“Indeed” / “I hear you” / “Right”

These expressions are among the most common Afrikaans filler words and are usually used to indicate agreement with what is being said, but there are exceptions to the rule. Because they are fillers, their exact connotations are not definite and they can therefore be adapted to other uses, depending on how the speaker chooses to employ them. Below is a description of their most common, conventional usage.
    Ja-nee – This unique, apparently contradictory Afrikaans filler word is an interjection that generally indicates agreement with what is being said. It most often serves only as a soothing “conversation noise”, but that depends on the volume of delivery! The louder the utterance, the more emphatically the speaker is in agreement with what is being said.

    Ja-ja – This filler usually indicates unambiguous affirmation or agreement. Occasionally, it can be used to express annoyance/boredom with what is being said and might be used to move the conversation along.

    Okay – This is used in exactly the same way as the English word “okay”.

    Jaaa – This extended ja serves the same purpose as ja-nee and ja-ja, indicating that the person is listening with interest and is in agreement with the speaker. However, it can also be used to express a kind of “told you so” attitude, discernible when the speaker raises their voice on the last “a”.

Ja-nee, daar is g’n twyfel nie. Hy is die skuldige. 
“Yes, there is no doubt. He is the culprit.”

Ja-nee, jy praat die waarheid, suster! 
“Yes, you are speaking the truth, sister!”

Ja-ja, jy’t dit reeds gesȇ. Wat nog? 
“Yes, yes, you’ve already said that. What else?”

Okay, ek sien nou wat jy bedoel het.  
“Okay, I see now what you meant.”

Jaaa, jy wou mos. 
Approx. “See, that’s what you get.”

Two Young Women Chatting Animatedly.

Ja-nee, jy praat die waarheid, suster! (“Yes, you are speaking the truth, sister!”)

#4

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Jy weet / In elkgeval / Ek bedoel“You know” / “Anyway” / “I mean”

While these words might appear to be quite specific when it comes to their meaning, they’re really no more specific than any other conversation filler words in Afrikaans. Because of their non-specificity, they’re quite versatile; therefore, any conventions I mention are descriptive rather than prescriptive—they point to a common usage, not a rule. 

These particular Afrikaans filler words are often used at the beginning of a sentence, especially when one is introducing a new topic, wanting to change the topic, or wanting to expand upon something that is currently being discussed
    Jy weet can also be replaced with Weet jy(?). The latter, although framed as a question, is usually rhetorical. 

Introducing a new topic 
Jy weet, ek het nou net ‘n wonderlike idee gehad. 
“You know, I’ve just had a wonderful idea.”

Changing the topic 
In elkgeval, kom ons praat liewer oor jou.  
“Anyway, let’s rather talk about you.”

Expanding on the topic 
Ek bedoel, hy was reeds daar. Hoekom kon hy nie die pakkie vir my gaan haal nie? 
“I mean, he was already there. Why couldn’t he fetch the package for me?”

#5

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Rerig?! / Werklik / Sjoe / Wow“Really?!” / “Truly” or “Really” / “Whew” or “Phew” / “Wow”

These are filler words in Afrikaans that we use in two ways—either as a response to indicate reactions like amazement and disbelief or to indicate strong agreement with what is being said. They’re often used on their own to mean that we almost can’t believe what we’re hearing.
    ❖ The exclamation Sjoe! has no direct English translation. The closest approximation would be “Phew!” or “Whew!”

    Wow, as one of the conversation filler words in Afrikaans, serves the same semantic purpose as in English. 

They’re also used as interjections in speech to emphasize what is being said.

Rerig?! Jy’t die lotto gewen?  
“Really?! You won the lotto?”

Werklik, hy was darem baie ongeskik met my. 
“Truly, he was very rude towards me.”

Sjoe, maar dis warm!  
“Phew, but it’s hot!”

Wow, kyk daai groot vis! 
“Wow, look at that big fish!”

A Young, Surprised-looking Boy Saying Wow!

Wow, kyk daai groot vis! (“Wow, look at that big fish!”)

#6

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
So / Reg “So” / “Right”

These two Afrikaans filler words usually precede a statement, and might be used prior to making an announcement (or after). For instance, one could say it while waiting for the members of a meeting to be seated. 

Reg…dit lyk my almal is nou hier. Kom ons begin. 
“Right…it looks like everyone is here. Let’s begin.”

So, wat het jy vandag gedoen? 
“So, what did you do today?”

#7

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Wel / Hmm“Well” / “Hmm”

Much like their English equivalents, these Afrikaans conversation fillers often precede a statement of disagreement. 

Wel, ek weet nie of ek saamstem nie. 
“Well…I don’t know if I agree.”

Hmm. Dink jy rerig hy kon so-iets doen? 
“Hmm…do you really think he could do something like that?”

A Pretty Young Woman Looking Doubtful.

Wel, ek weet nie of ek saamstem nie. (“Well…I don’t know if I agree.”)

#8

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Jis / Demmit / Vervlaks“Geez” / “Dammit” / “Darn it”

These Afrikaans exclamations are as close to swearing/cursing as you can get without actually doing so. An interesting fact is that swearing can reduce pain. That’s not to say that you should swear often, because then it actually loses its ability to reduce pain! Perhaps, using exclamations like these would be a useful compromise for those who can’t abide with swearing.

Jis, ek is nou so kwaad! 
“Geez, I’m so angry now!”

Demmit, ek kan nie hierdie bottel oopmaak nie! 
“Dammit, I can’t open this bottle!”

Vervlaks! Ek het my masker by die huis vergeet! 
“Darn it! I forgot my mask at home!”

#9

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Né / Ja, né / Kan jy dit glo?“Right” / “Agreed” / “Can you believe it?”

These Afrikaans filler words are used to request confirmation of agreement from the listener, or to confirm agreement with the speaker. They’re often placed as tags at the beginning or end of a sentence, but can also be used on their own. 
    can be used to request or confirm agreement

    Ja, né is used in response to something that the listener agrees with and is quite emphatic. 

    Kan jy dit glo? (“Can you believe it?” / “Unbelievable!”) Despite the fact that it’s phrased as a question, it is rhetorical and used more like a statement than a question. A person might shake their head in disbelief when using this remark. 

A: Die water is koud, né? 
A: “The water is cold, right?”
B: Dit is koud, ja. 
B: “It is cold, yes.”

A: Ai, die land se administrasie is in flenters. 
A: “Oi, our country’s administration is in shambles.”
B: Ja, né. 
B: “Agreed.”

A: Het jy gehoor van daardie man wat gister deur die kinderbende beroof is? 
A: “Did you hear about that man who was mugged by a gang of children yesterday?”
B: Ja, ek het. Kan jy dit glo? 
B: “Yes, I did. Can you believe it?”

#10

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Ag tog / Ai tog“Oh dear” / “Oh shame” / “Oh my goodness”

Of all the expressions in this list of Afrikaans filler words, I think the function of expressions using tog is the most difficult to pin down. The word tog has so many semantic variants, it would be pointless to try and list them all here. Fortunately, if you would like to investigate this rather unique Afrikaans filler word further, there are resources out there that can help. 
     Ag tog and Ai tog are interchangeable. They are simply variations of each other. 

Ag tog, ek het vergeet om die kliënt te bel! +”Oh dear, I forgot to call the client!”

Ai tog, daardie buurman se hond blaf al weer die hele dag lank! 
“Oh my goodness, that neighbor’s dog has been barking all day again!”

Two of the three interjections I’m going to discuss next also contain –tog. However, they’re grouped together because of their similarity in meaning.

A Frustrated Business Woman Talking Over the Phone.

Ag tog, ek het vergeet om die kliënt te bel! (“Oh dear, I forgot to call the client!”)

#11

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Foeitog / Shame / Siestog“Oh dear” / “Oh shame” / “Oh my goodness”

These three words mean more or less the same thing and are used interchangeably. Ag is often added, especially when the object under discussion is particularly small and/or vulnerable.
    ❖ The interjections foeitog and siestog are similar in meaning and can be used to express sympathy, adoration, and affection. It can also be used to ask for pity or understanding.

    ❖ The interjection “shame” is used similarly to British English, such as, “Oh (what a) shame”, which expresses a mix of pity and sympathy. It also denotes affection.

Foeitog, die arme kind het nog nie ontbyt gehad nie! 
“Oh shame, the poor child hasn’t had breakfast yet!”

Foeitog, gee die arme man nog ‘n kans, asseblief! 
“For pity’s sake, give the poor man another chance, please!”

Ag siestog! Is die hondjie nie te oulik nie vir woorde nie?! 
“Oh my goodness! Isn’t the puppy too cute for words?!”

Shame, hy sukkel om sy gesondheid te herwin na hy COVID gehad het. 
Approx. “Poor man, he’s battling to regain his health after contracting COVID.”

A Smiling Boy Holding a Cute Black Puppy.

Ag siestog! Is die hondjie nie te oulik nie vir woorde nie?! (“Oh goodness! Isn’t the puppy too cute for words?!”)

I’m sure you’ll find these common Afrikaans filler words very useful. They’ll help you to hold a conversation in Afrikaans and make your speech sound a lot more natural!

3. Learn Afrikaans Filler Words with Ease on AfrikaansPod101.com!

Which of these Afrikaans filler words do you think you’re most likely to use? Are any of them similar to filler words in your own language?

At AfrikaansPod101.com, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our fun and practical learning materials, such as recorded videos and free vocabulary lists. With our help, you’ll be able to use the phrases correctly and speak like a native in no time.

Also, decipher Afrikaans phrases yourself with the multiple tools we make available to you upon subscription, such as the Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List. And make sure to keep your Afrikaans online dictionary closeby for easy translation! 

If Afrikaans vernacular is important to you, then take a look at the following blog posts:

  1. The Best Afrikaans Internet Slang and How to Use it!
  2. How to Say “Hello” in Afrikaans Like a Native Speaker!
  3. How to Say ‘Thank You’ in Afrikaans

Still hesitating? Don’t! Subscribe now. You’ll be very happy you did!

About the author: Christa Davel is a bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and journalist, and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s been writing for InnovativeLanguage.com since 2017.

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The 30 Best Afrikaans Love Phrases for All Occasions!

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L’amour, die Liebe, die liefde, любовь (lyubov’)…all of these mean “love.” 

Love is a universal language spoken mostly with the heart, but what a wonderful thing to express in any language!

Therefore, it makes sense that when people study to acquire a new language, one of the first things they learn (not long after hello and goodbye) is “I love you.” For some, being able to communicate with someone they love is their reason for learning the language in the first place! 

If you’re wondering how to say “I love you,” in Afrikaans, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve compiled for you a collection of Afrikaans love phrases you can use to express your feelings in no uncertain terms. Better still? It’s all framed in the context of a short, romantic story. Enjoy!

But before we continue—what is “love” in your native language? Tell us in the comments, please!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Pick-up Lines and the First Flush of Love
  2. Love Phrases for Long-Term Relationships
  3. Must-Know Love Quotes and Phrases
  4. Learn Afrikaans Phrases to Charm the Love of Your Life at AfrikaansPod101!

Two Hands Shaped in a Heart, Held against the Sun

Liefde verander alles! / “Love changes everything!”

1. Pick-up Lines and the First Flush of Love

The hero of our story is named Jeffrey, and when Jeffrey moved to South Africa he was quite lonely at first. Therefore, he asked his Afrikaans friend Willem to take him to a good social venue where he might meet some nice single ladies.

But…he wondered how he would approach these local Afrikaans ladies to begin with. Online, he’d tried searching for things like ‘Afrikaans love phrases,’ but there were a lot of options and they didn’t really look like good pick-up lines. He was glad that Willem would be coming along to act as his ‘wingman.’

A. Keeping it Simple

The two of them were sitting at the bar when Jeffrey noticed a very attractive Afrikaans woman chatting with her friends. She shyly glanced his way every now and then, and he thought she looked approachable, but he still wondered what he should say to her. What would be a good Afrikaans pick-up line? He knew these could sometimes be cheesy and annoying, no matter which language you speak! Also, he wasn’t sure if there was a specific way to address an Afrikaans woman or not.

Young Woman in a Red Dress Holding a Drink with a Young Man in the Background Looking at Her

Wat sal ‘n goeie “pick-up line” in Afrikaans wees? / “What would be a good Afrikaans pick-up line?”

Eventually, he asked Willem for advice, saying, “I checked online but I didn’t know which line to choose. Can you help?”

Willem explained with a smile that there were many colorful (albeit rather lewd) Afrikaans pick-up lines online, and it was definitely not advisable to use any of those. Most Afrikaans ladies like to be courted in a more romantic, old-school kind of way—they prefer a gentleman’s approach.

“Keep it simple, be polite, and be straightforward,” Willem advised him. 

Jeffrey asked for some examples of lines he could use and Willem thought for a bit, searching for the best lines of those he knew. Here are some polite but casual pick-up lines that Willem considered:

Hello. My naam is Jeffrey. Mag ek vir jou ‘n drankie koop?

Hello. My naam is Jeffrey. Gee jy om as ek by jou aansluit vir ‘n drankie?  
“Hello. My name is Jeffrey. May I buy you a drink?”

“Hello. My name is Jeffrey. Do you mind if I join you for a drink?”
One might be tempted to think that the above lines are quite formal, but what makes them casual is the pronoun used. In Afrikaans, if you were going to be formal, you would use the pronoun u instead of jy or jou

Let’s have a look at the same pick-up lines, but using the formal pronoun u
  • Hello. My naam is Jeffrey. Mag ek vir u a drankie koop? (“Hello. My name is Jeffrey. May I buy you a drink?”)

  • Hello. My naam is Jeffrey. Gee u om as ek by u aansluit vir ‘n drankie? (“Hello. My name is Jeffrey. Do you mind if I join you for a drink?”)

This is a very formal way of talking and would seem out of place in a bar. For more information about this and other pronouns in Afrikaans, have a look at this article
Because they are in a bar and the setting is pretty informal, a slightly more flirtatious approach might also be suitable. No person is immune to sincere compliments! However, it would be best to read the situation and say what feels natural, because pick-up lines can be very cheesy, as I mentioned earlier.
Haai daar. Jy’s wraggies baie mooi. “Hi there. You are really beautiful.”
Dame, ek dink jy’s baie mooi en ek wil graag vir jou ‘n drankie koop.“Lady, I think you’re very attractive and I’d like to buy you a drink.”
Gee jy om as ek hier sit? Jy’t my voete onder my uitgeslaan…“Do you mind if I sit here? You’ve knocked me off my feet…”
Jammer as ek pla, maar ek wil net vir jou sê – jy slaan my asem weg!“Sorry if I’m bothering you, but I just want to tell you—you take my breath away!”
Jy maak my knieë lam. Gee jy om as ek hier sit voor ek omval?Literally: “You make me weak in the knees. Would you mind if I sit here before I fall?”
Wraggies, jy lyk bekoorlik. Mag ek vir jou a drankie koop?“Really, you look enchanting. May I buy you a drink?”

Young Man and Woman Laughing and Flirting.

Jy slaan my asem weg! / “You take my breath away!”

Willem decided to stick to the polite but simple, straightforward approach, and suggested to Jeffrey that he say: 

Hello. My naam is Jeffrey. Mag ek vir jou ‘n drankie koop? (“Hello. My name is Jeffrey. May I buy you a drink?”)

After practicing this line a few times, Jeffrey made his approach and delivered it to the beautiful woman at the bar. She did not seem offended, which was a good start, at least.

Jeffrey found out that her name was Charlize. He bought them more drinks and they chatted for almost an hour until she took a break to ‘powder her nose.’ He took the opportunity to hurry back to Willem and told him that it was going really well. He also wanted to know how he could tell Charlize that he really liked her and wanted to get to know her better. In his head, Willem quickly ran through all the Afrikaans love phrases that he could think of: 

Ek weet ons het nou net ontmoet, maar ek is reeds mal / gek oor jou.“I know we’ve only just met, but I’m already mad about you.”
Jy’s regtig cool! Ek hou van jou!1“You are really cool! I like you!”
Hey, dit was nou lekker om met jou te gesels. Ek wil jou graag weer sien. Kan ek jou selnommer kry, asseblief? “Hey, it was nice to chat with you. I would really like to see you again. Could I have your cell number, please?”
Ek dink jy is great en ek het jou geselskap baie geniet vanaand. Ek wil jou graag weer sien.1“I think you are great and I enjoyed our conversation a lot tonight. I’d like to see you again.”

1) Both Afrikaans and English are spoken by a large portion of the population in South Africa. This means that even older folks mix the languages vernacularly. This “cross-contamination” is considered normal, and it’s usually suitable in casual, informal situations.

They were all good options, but in the end, Willem decided on a different one. He whispered it into Jeffrey’s ear and told him that this line was sure to win Charlize over. Jeffrey practiced it a few times, then went over to her again. When he delivered his line, she burst into laughter and blushed. 

“Wait! What does My hart pomp tjoklit vir jou mean?” he asked her nervously. This was, of course, the line he had quoted.

She laughed again and told him that it means: “My heart is pumping chocolate for you.” When she saw how embarrassed he was, she assured him that it was quite a common, cute expression in Afrikaans. She just hadn’t expected it from him. Actually, it was quite sweet, she said, giving him a light kiss on the cheek to make him feel better. 

Jeffrey glared at Willem, who grinned from ear to ear and gave him an encouraging thumbs-up.

Couple Enjoying Drinks, Man Typing the Woman's Number into His Cell Phone.

Ek wil jou graag weer sien. Kan ek jou selnommer kry, asseblief? / “I would really like to see you again. Could I have your cell number, please?”

By the end of the night, Jeffrey and Charlize were quite comfortable with each other and she liked him enough to give him her number. They went on a few dates after that and Jeffrey’s feelings for her deepened. He went to Willem again to ask him for advice on how to tell Charlize that he wanted to take the relationship to the next level…

B. Taking it to the Next Level

Despite the fact that he and Charlize had been together for some months, Jeffrey had not yet learned how to say “I love you,” in Afrikaans. He was a naturally cautious fellow, but now he was ready to commit to a more serious relationship with this pretty, wonderful woman.

Young Couple Cooking Together

My lewe is soveel beter vandat ek jou ontmoet het. / “My life has been so much better since I met you.”

Once again, he turned to the web for insight. This time, he actually found some pretty good answers, but he still decided that he’d best ask Willem for ideas anyway. 

When Willem heard that Jeffrey was getting serious about Charlize, he was happy for his friend and searched through his inner library of romantic expressions in Afrikaans to find just the right one for his friend to use. It was not an easy choice, because there are many, as you can see below:

Sal jy my meisie wees?

Note: 

This “asking out” question most often serves as a formality to seal a relationship. It denotes commitment, exclusivity, and the status of being a couple. Usually, it’s preceded by the Afrikaans love phrases in this column.

However, in many modern relationships, especially among the younger generation, this step is skipped. After a few romantic dates and declarations of mutually passionate feelings, it’s assumed that you’re together as a couple.
“Will you be my girlfriend?”
Ek het romantiese gevoelens vir jou.“I’ve got romantic feelings for you.”
Ek is verlief op jou.“I am in love with you.”
Jy’t my hart heeltemal verower. 

(The word jy’t is a contraction of jy [“you”] and het [“have”]).
“You’ve conquered my heart completely.”
My lewe is soveel beter vandat ek jou ontmoet het.“My life has been so much better since I met you.”
Jy is die godin van my hart.“You are the goddess of my heart.”
Jy is kosbaar vir my en ek gee om vir jou.“You are precious to me and I care about you.”
Jy is die enigste vis in die see vir my.“You are the only fish in the sea for me.”
But what if the roles were reversed? Are there specific Afrikaans love phrases for her when it comes to asking someone to take it to the next level? The answer is “Yes!” Charlize would be able to say most of the phrases above in the exact same way, except for the gender-specific ones, of course. Let’s have a quick look at a few alternative phrases that Charlize could use.
Sal jy my kêrel wees?“Will you be my boyfriend?”
Jy is die ridder van my hart.“You are the knight of my heart.”
Jy is my held.“You are my hero.”
You’ve probably noticed that we haven’t yet looked at how to say “I love you,” in Afrikaans! It’s simply: Ek het jou lief. / Ek is lief vir jou.

The expression that Willem eventually suggested to Jeffrey was a combination of two of the expressions above. He suggested that Jeffrey say: Jy’t my hart heeltemal verower. Sal jy my meisie wees? (“You have conquered my heart completely. Will you be my girlfriend?”)

Young Couple Holding Hands in Front of a Wooden Wall

Ek is lief vir jou. / “I love you.”

Jeffrey took Charlize out on a romantic date and, just after their first glass of wine, he asked her the question. Charlize went quiet and Jeffrey wondered, for a moment, if Willem had tricked him again. But it turned out that Charlize was choking back happy tears. When she felt okay to speak again, she softly told Jeffrey that she felt the same way about him. Below are some Afrikaans love phrases for her that she could choose from as a reply.

In Afrikaans, like in English, if you want to repeat a sentence or phrase back to someone, all you have to do is add the word ook (“too” / “also”) to what they said.
Ek het gevoelens vir jou. (“I have feelings for you.”)Ek het ook gevoelens vir jou. (“I also have feelings for you.”)
Ek is verlief op jou. (“I am in love with you.”)Ek is ook verlief op jou. (“I am also in love with you.”)
Jy is die enigste vis in die see vir my. (“You are the only fish in the sea for me.”)Jy is ook die enigste vis in die see vir my. (“You are also the only fish in the sea for me.”)

Now that you know how to reciprocate what someone has said to you in Afrikaans, can you figure out how Charlize replied to Jeffrey after he said, Jy’t my hart heeltemal verower? It should be quite easy.

If you guessed that Charlize added ook to her sentence, then you were correct: Jy’t ook my hart heeltemal verower. Ek sal jou meisie wees. (“You have also conquered my heart. I will be your girlfriend.”)

Dejected, sad Young Man Sitting on the Floor in a Station

Verwerping is soms baie moeilik om te hanteer. / “Rejection is sometimes very difficult to handle.”

C. Rejection

Sadly, things don’t always work out the way we hope they will when we ask someone to take it to the next level. Sometimes we discover that they don’t feel the same way, or that they’re not ready for an exclusive commitment yet. Happily, Jeffrey did not have to experience this, but what if Charlize had said no? How would she have phrased her rejection? 

In Afrikaans, we make use of double negatives in order to negate an expression. To learn more about the grammar behind this, have a look at this article. What it means, in short, is that you add two negating words to the sentence, not unlike you would do in some English slang. For example: 
  • “I didn’t do nothing.”
  • “I ain’t got no money.” 
In Afrikaans, we often use the double nie to express negation. Below are examples of what Charlize could have said, had she rejected Jeffrey’s proposal: 
Sal jy my meisie wees? (“Will you be my girlfriend?”)Jammer, ek wil nie. Ek hou baie van jou maar ek is nie gereed vir ‘n vaste verhouding nie. (“Sorry, I don’t want to. I like you a lot but I am not ready for a steady relationship.”)
Ek is verlief op jou. (“I am in love with you.”)Jammer, ek is nie verlief op jou nie. (“Sorry, I am not in love with you.”)
Ek het gevoelens vir jou. (“I have feelings for you.”)Jammer, ek het nie dieselfde gevoelens vir jou nie. Maar kan ons vriende wees? (“Sorry, I don’t have the same feelings for you. But can we be friends?”)
Or, you could give a generic negative reply:

Jammer, maar ek voel nie dieselfde oor jou nie. (“Sorry, but I don’t feel the same way about you.”)

Tip: If you’re the one doing the let-down, then remember to do so gently and with respect and kindness. Rejection can be very hard to take, especially in matters of the heart. It would be best to stick with the Golden Rule—do to others as you would have them do to you!

Couple Standing Face to Face, Holding Hands, Man Talks Kindly to Sad Woman at Airport

Jy beteken die wêreld vir my. / “You mean the world to me.”

2. Love Phrases for Long-Term Relationships

If you, like Jeffrey, have experienced luck in love, then it’s time to learn some additional love phrases in Afrikaans you can use to strengthen and progress your relationship. 

A. Phrases that help to keep a relationship strong:

Now that Charlize had agreed to be Jeffrey’s girlfriend, they were entering into a phase of the relationship where Jeffrey no longer had to woo her—but there was still work to be done. 

I don’t know if you agree with me here, but I think that if we want a relationship to work, we have to put some effort into it. Fortunately, Jeffrey was the kind of person who did like to put effort into his relationship. Part of this included studying Afrikaans in his spare time. Naturally, he spent a lot of his study time researching romantic expressions in Afrikaans!

He found that Charlize was a very kind and considerate girlfriend and often did nice things for him, so one of the first things he learned to say was:

  • Baie dankie. Ek waardeer alles wat jy vir my doen. (“Thanks a lot. I appreciate everything you do for me.”)

Sometimes he also wanted to tell her that he appreciated her for who she was, and not just for the things she did. So he learned to say:

  • Jy beteken die wêreld vir my. (“You mean the world to me.”)

Older Couple Working in the Garden, Man Giving the Woman a Yellow Flower

Baie dankie. Ek waardeer alles wat jy vir my doen. / “Thank you. I appreciate everything you do for me.”

And then, of course, there were those occasions when, no matter how considerate he was in general, he did something that required an apology. So he learned to say: 

  • Ek het ‘n fout gemaak; ek is jammer. (“I made a mistake; I’m sorry.”)

Charlize, it turned out, was also a very wise person, and he began to find that he really valued her input when it came to making decisions. He also cared about what she wanted, and for this reason, he learned how to say:  

  • Wat dink jy hiervan? (“What do you think about this?”)
  • Wat is jou opinie? (“What is your opinion?”)
  • Wat verkies jy? (“What do you prefer?”)

And then, of course, Jeffrey often used those two absolutely essential words in Afrikaans culture: 

  • Asseblief. (“Please.”)
  • Dankie. (“Thank you.”)

This article explains exactly how to use these terms correctly in Afrikaans!

Charlize was also very good at using expressions like these and, despite the ups and downs that all relationships go through, they found that their relationship grew from strength to strength.

Man Proposing to a Woman on a Bridge

Sal jy my vrou wees, asseblief? / “Will you be my wife, please?”

B. Popping the Question

Two years after their first meeting, Jeffrey decided he was ready to pop the question! He had been studying Afrikaans almost daily, so he was pretty sure he knew how to ask Charlize to marry him, but he checked his books anyway. This was not the kind of thing you wanted to make a mistake with. He found some great expressions: 

Sal jy my vrou wees, asseblief?“Will you please be my wife?”
Sal jy met my trou, asseblief? “Will you please marry me?”
Ek wil my lewe saam met jou deurbring.“I want to spend my life with you.”
Ek wil saam met jou oud word. “I want to grow old with you.”
The following two expressions are not actually marriage proposals, but they would definitely make any marriage proposal that much more meaningful and beautiful. 
Ek het jou lief bo alles en almal.“I love you above everything and everyone.”
‘n Lewe sonder jou is vir my ondenkbaar.“A life without you is unimaginable for me.”
As uncommon as it is in Afrikaans culture, it’s not unheard of that the woman might pop the question. So, if Charlize had wanted to be the one proposing, are there similar Afrikaans love phrases for her that she could have chosen from? The fact is that all of the above phrases can be used by both men and women, except for the first one. If she had been the one proposing, Charlize would have said: 
Sal jy my man wees, asseblief? “Will you please be my husband?”

One night, Jeffrey took Charlize out on a romantic adventure that included a day of fun, outdoor activities together, dinner at a fancy restaurant, and eventually a romantic stroll on a beautiful, moonlit beach. While they were walking along quietly on the wet sand, he suddenly stopped in front of her, dropped to one knee, and held up a small box that contained a gorgeous engagement ring. (Afrikaans girls tend to like old-style marriage proposals, remember!)

Two Hearts Drawn in the Sand on the Beach at Sunset.

Ware liefde hou vir ewig. / “True love lasts forever.”

Combining two of the phrases he had learned, he said earnestly: “Charlize, ek wil saam met jou oud word. Sal jy met my trou, asseblief?” (“Charlize, I want to grow old with you. Please, will you marry me?”)

Of course, Charlize said ja (“yes”)!

C. Terms of Endearment

Another way of saying “I love you,” in Afrikaans, without actually using those words, is to use terms of endearment. During their engagement, Charlize and Jeffrey grew even closer and Charlize often used Afrikaans terms of endearment when talking to him. Jeffrey soon found himself beginning to emulate her. 

In English, people use terms of endearment like “darling,” “baby,” or “honey.” Afrikaans people use these too, but they are spun in a uniquely Afrikaans way. It’s not easy to find a direct English translation for some of these; hence the literal translations that I have added. You’ll see that they have a very distinct character! 

  • my liefling (“my darling”) Lit. “my loveling”
  • my skattebol (“my darling”) Lit. “my treasure ball”
  • my skatlam (“my darling”) Lit. “my treasure lamb”
  • my skat  (“my treasure”)
  • my liefste (“my beloved”)
  • my enigste (“my only”)
  • my lief (“my love”)

Other expressions Charlize sometimes used were: 

  • my lam (“my darling”) Lit. “my lamb”
  • my ander helfte (“my other half”)

Charlize and Jeffrey were still young and in a relatively new relationship, so they wouldn’t have used the following terms of endearment (except perhaps in a jocular way). However, for older people who have been in a relationship for a while and who have a strong sense of familiarity with each other, these are very common: 
ou ding / my ou dingLit. “old thing” / “my old thing”
my ou man / my ou vrou“my old man” (also husband) / “my old woman” (also wife)
The use of ou in these phrases denotes both age and a sense of fond familiarity. A similar convention occurs in English when a speaker affectionately refers to their aging pet dog as, “my old doggie,” for instance. In this case, “old” carries connotations similar to those that the word ou does in Afrikaans when used as part of a term of endearment. However, make sure you’re using it in an appropriate context, meaning only with people you know very well.

Please note that, in Afrikaans, man can mean “man” or “husband” and vrou can mean “woman” or “wife,” depending on the context. If the speakers are married, then the words connote the latter meaning. 

Charlize and Jeffrey used these terms of endearment so often that they barely used each other’s names anymore. Everyone who knew them felt it was only right that they get married—they were so perfect for each other. Their wedding was something that everyone looked forward to.

Statue of Cupid, Roman God of Love

Ek het die skoot hoog deur! / Approximate: “Love hit me hard!”

3. Must-Know Love Quotes and Phrases

Many times, the words of a poet, songwriter, or novelist can perfectly capture how we’re feeling. Below are some Afrikaans love quotes translated in English, each one written from the heart and sure to capture that of your lover…

A. The Power of Beautiful Words

In a relationship, we often share with our partner lyrics from songs we like or lines from our favorite poems. One of Charlize’s favorite poems was called Erens is jy (“Somewhere you are”), from the anthology Eerste Gedigte (“First Poems”), and it was written by her favorite Afrikaans poet Antjie Krog. Charlize’s favorite lines from the poem were:

… as ek die dag my hand in joune sitsal ek my padkaarte bêre met die wete:my reis op soek na jou is nou verby.“… the day I put my hand in yoursI will put away my maps with the knowledge:my journey in search of you is now over.”

On the day of the wedding, Jeffrey stood in front of everyone and delivered his vows in Afrikaans with no mistakes at all. He knew that if he spoke his vows to Charlize in Afrikaans, they would be far more meaningful for her. After delivering his vows, he surprised everyone by clearing his throat nervously and then, in beautiful Afrikaans, recited a rendition of the poem his wife loved so much: 

Ek sit, hierdie dag, my hand in joune
en bêre my padkaarte met die wete:
my reis op soek na jou is nou verby.

“I put, this day, my hand in yours
and stash away my roadmaps with the knowledge:
my journey in search of you is now over.”

Love Letter and a Red Rose

Sonder jou liefde is die graaf te swaar vir my en val die geil reëns van die berge sonder doel. – D.J. Opperman.
“Without your love, the shovel is too heavy for me, and the abundant rain of the mountains falls without purpose.”

Charlize was deeply moved by his beautiful gesture and Jeffrey had to help her wipe away the tears there at the altar. Once she’d collected herself, the dominee (“pastor” / “minister”) married them and they kissed to raucous applause. 

Oh, and—all of this was 25 years ago. They are still happily married. 

B. Quotations that Inspire Love

If you wish to impress the Afrikaans person you love in the way that Jeffrey impressed Charlize, perhaps you’ll benefit from looking at these wonderful quotes from famous Afrikaans poets and singers.

sonder jou liefde is die graaf te swaar vir my en val die geil reëns van die berge sonder doel.

~ D.J. Opperman
“without your love the shovel is too heavy for me and the abundant rain of the mountains fallswithout purpose.”
Ek stuur vir jou ʼn berggansveermits dese wil ek vir jou sêhoe diep my liefde vir jou lê

~ Boerneef 2
“I send to you a wild goose featherwith which I want to tell youhow deep my love lies for you”
vye word suur, maar die liefde, die liefde is soeter as vye

~ Breyten Breytenbach 
“figs turn sour, but love, love is sweeter than figs”
ek wil vir jou ʼn gewelhuisie bouin die boland van my hart……maar ek wil vir jou my lewe geein die wit afdophuisie van my hart…

~ André Letoit aka Koos Kombuis
Approximate: 

“I want to build for you a gabled housein the pastures of my heart……but I want to give you my lifein the white, dilapidated house of my heart…”
Die liefde is ʼn dubbeldoor—iets te wen en iets verloor.

~ Koos Du Plessis
Approximate: 

“Love is a contradiction—something to win and something to lose.”
Die liefde in my 

Die liefde in my
Dis altyd jy, net altyd jy,
die een gedagte bly my by
soos skadu’s onder bome bly,
net altyd jy, net altyd jy. 

Langs baie weë gaan my smart,
blind is my oë en verward
is alle dinge in my hart. 

Maar dit sal een en enkeld bly,
en aards en diep sy laafnis kry,
al staan dit winter, kaal in my,
die liefde in my, die liefde in my.

~ NP van Wyk Louw


“The love in me,
It’s always you, always only you,
this one thought stays with me
as shadows live under trees
always only you, always only you.

Along many roads my sorrow goes,blind are my eyes and confused
are all things in my heart.

But this one thing remains,
which is nourished from deep within,
even when it’s winter, naked in me,
the love in me, the love in me.”

Happy Older Couple

Ek kan my nie ‘n lewe indink sonder jou nie. / “I can’t imagine a life without you.”

Which of these Afrikaans phrases resonates with you the most, and why? Let us know in the comments! 

4. Learn Afrikaans Phrases to Charm the Love of Your Life at AfrikaansPod101!

At AfrikaansPod101, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our hundreds of recorded videos, themed vocabulary lists, and variety of learning and study tools. With our help, you’ll be able to use the phrases correctly and speak like a native in no time!

Also, you can start deciphering Afrikaans phrases yourself with the multiple tools we make available to you upon subscription, such as the Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List. You should also make sure to keep your Afrikaans online dictionary closeby for easy translation! 

If Afrikaans vernacular is important to you, then take a look at the following pages on our website:

  1. The Best Afrikaans Internet Slang and How to Use it!
  2. How to Say “Hello” in Afrikaans Like a Native Speaker!
  3. How to Say I Love You in Afrikaans

Still hesitating? Don’t! Subscribe now, and you’ll be very happy you did!

About the author: Kurt Donald is an experienced writer and copy editor, and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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All About How to Form the Negative in Afrikaans

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Negation is, very simply put, the so-called “negative form” in a language. We use it when we want to express the opposite of a positive or affirmative statement. What is the negative form in Afrikaans? Let’s dig in!

One of the most fascinating features of the Afrikaans language is its use of the double negative, which means that two negatives resolve into one negative. For instance, in English one would say, “He cannot speak Afrikaans,” and only use the word ‘not’ once. However, to express the negative in Afrikaans, we usually have to use the negating word twice:   

Sy kan nie Afrikaans praat nie.
Literally: “She cannot Afrikaans speak not.”

Young Woman Holding up Both Hands to Indicate No or Stop

The negating word in the example above is nie and, as you will have gathered, nie means “not.” It sounds like “knee” in English, but a bit shorter and sharper on the ‘ee’ (like the ‘i’ in it). Nie is equivalent to the German nicht and the Dutch niet, but it’s used differently, of course.

No one really knows where this practice of using the double negative originated. Some say it may have its roots in the French language, and others suggest that it may have been borrowed from the San languages of Southern Africa. Negating with a double negative can also be found in Middle English, such as in Chaucer’s work, who sometimes used a triple negative!

Double negation still appears in regional and ethnical dialects such as Southern American English, African American vernacular English, and various British regional dialects, according to Wikipedia. Think: “You don’t know nothing,” or “He didn’t go nowhere today.” Whatever the source may be, the double negative is not extensively employed and, especially in the dialects, its use is frowned upon by the purists.

British Flag in a Speech Bubble Shape.

Double negation also occurs in other Germanic languages, such as can be found in villages in the center of the Netherlands and in Low Franconian dialects in West-Flanders—and even then, it’s used differently. The way the negative form in Afrikaans is expressed remains unique.  

While using the Afrikaans double negative may seem strange at first, once you grow accustomed to it, it will start to feel quite natural. Learning how to use it isn’t difficult, either.

However, before we begin with that, let’s start with the exception to the rule of the double negative. This exception uses a form more similar to that of other languages and employs only one negation word.  

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. The Rule of “One Knee”
  2. The Rule of “Two Knees”
  3. Changing Meaning – Placement of the First Nie
  4. Adding Color with Adverbs and Adjectives that Express Denial
  5. Converting Instructions and Requests to the Negative
  6. Formal vs. Informal Imperatives
  7. Negating Compound Sentences
  8. Answers to Exercises:
  9. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn the Negative in Afrikaans?

1. The Rule of “One Knee”

It may be a bit convoluted, but the mnemonic “one knee” should serve to remind you of the simplicity of singularity. The one nie is used only in straightforward, relatively simple sentences.

  1. The single nie is used mostly in simple statement sentences, including those with reflexive or transitive verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and pronouns.
  2. It’s used mostly in present tense sentences. With other tenses, the single nie works only when certain hulpwerkwoorde van tyd (literally: “auxiliary verbs of time”) occur.

Let’s take a closer look at what this means.

A.1 In Simple Statement Sentences

To state the negative in Afrikaans using simple statement sentences, we put only ONE nie (knee!) after the verb, at the end of the sentence. That’s it! It looks like this:

– Short statement sentences: 

  • Hulle sien nie. – “They don’t see.”
  • Die rekenaar werk nie. – “The computer doesn’t work.”

– Statement sentences with a transitive verb and a pronoun:

Sometimes you need to be more specific and would then use a pronoun. In such a case, the One Knee rule applies mostly to statement sentences with transitive verbs in which the object is indicated with a pronoun. Read here all about Afrikaans pronouns!

  • Hulle waardeer haar nie. – “They don’t appreciate her.”
    Literally: “They appreciate her not.”
  • Sy eet dit nie. – “She doesn’t eat it.”
    Literally: “She eats it not.”
Young Woman Gesturing No for Dessert

– Statement sentences with an adjective and/or adverb:

Sometimes you need to be more descriptive in order to illuminate the subject or the action. Adding adjectives and/or adverbs won’t affect the One Knee rule.

  • Die nuwe rekenaar werk ongelukkig nie. – “The new computer, unfortunately, doesn’t work.”
    Literally: “The new computer works unfortunately not.”

A.2 Mostly in the Present Tense

As you may have noticed, these sentences are all in the simple present tense. In fact, this practice is not too dissimilar to negating the present tense verb in English by adding not

  • Hy sing. – “He is singing.” OR “He sings.”
  • Hy sing nie. – “He is not singing.” OR “He doesn’t sing.”
    Literally: “He sings not.”

Note: We don’t have a continuous tense in Afrikaans! Read all about Afrikaans tenses here.

In the Afrikaans past and future tenses, the One Knee rule applies only to very short, simple statement sentences with the following auxiliary verbs that indicate tense in Afrikaans. As mentioned, we call them hulpwerkwoorde van tyd.

Past Tense:      Hy was nie. – “He wasn’t.”
                         Hy wou nie. – “He didn’t want to.”
                         Hy het nie. – “He didn’t.”

Future Tense: Hy sal nie OR Hy gaan nie. – “He won’t.”

Women's Torn Jeans with Two Knees Showing

2. The Rule of “Two Knees”

Although things may seem to be getting a bit more complicated, there’s no need to panic about the negative form in Afrikaans! You simply need to remember to find the first part of the verb (whether it’s a base or an auxiliary verb) in the sentence, put a nie after it, and then put another nie at the very end of the sentence.

As we saw in the previous example, to negate very simply, we could say: Hy sing nie. (Lit. “He sings not.”) However, if we need to be more specific and have to introduce a direct or indirect object, the negation always doubles.

  • Hy sing (base verb) nie in Afrikaans (direct object) nie.
    “He doesn’t sing in Afrikaans.”
  • Hy sing (base verb) nie vir haar (indirect object) nie.
    “He doesn’t sing for her.”
Two Asian Girls and a Guy Singing Karaoke

When we use auxiliary verbs that indicate the past or future tenses, the negation also usually doubles:

  • Hy sal (auxiliary verb, future tense) nie sing nie.
    “He will not sing.”
  • Hy wou (auxiliary verb, past tense) nie sing nie.
    “He didn’t want to sing.”

What About the Be-Verbs?

In the present and past tenses, the be-verb is usually the main verb; in the future tense, the be-verb is an auxiliary verb. However, they all take the double negation.

Take a look at these negatives in Afrikaans:

Be-Verb Negation

PRESENT Tense Affirmative:
is (“is,” “to be”)

Die kat is oulik. 
“The cat is cute.”
PRESENT Tense Negation:
is nie (“is not”)

Die kakkerlak is nie o
ulik nie
“The cockroach is not cute.”
PAST Tense Affirmative:
was (“was”)

Die deur was toe. 
“The door was closed.”
PAST Tense Negation:
was nie (“was not”)

Die deur was nie toe nie
“The door was not closed.”
FUTURE Tense Affirmative:
sal wees / gaan wees (“will be,” “shall be”)

Die weer sal warm wees.
“The weather will be warm.”
FUTURE Tense Negation:
sal nie wees nie (“will not be”)

Die weer sal nie koud wees nie.
“The weather will not be cold.” 

Woman in Winter Gear Feeling Cold

3. Changing Meaning – Placement of the First Nie

While the rule remains true that one should put the first nie after the first verb in the sentence, sentences can sometimes become quite long and complex.

In terms of negation, this means that:

a) the first nie can be placed in various positions after the first werkwoord (“verb”) or hulpwerkwoord van tyd. (Lit. “auxiliary verb of time”); and

b) where one places it can change the meaning of the sentence. 

Consider the following sentence in the future tense: 

  • Sy gaan nie môre met haar nuwe bikini op die strand tan nie. 
    “She is not going to tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow.”

The entire sentence is negated because the nie is placed directly after what is, in Afrikaans, an auxiliary verb that indicates the future tense: gaan

  • Sy gaan môre nie met haar nuwe bikini op die strand tan nie. Sy sal iets anders dra.
    “She is not going to tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow. She will wear something else.”

In this case, the nie directly precedes “haar nuwe bikini” (her new bikini) and therefore negates only that phrase.

Young Woman in Bikini Sunbathing on the Beach
  • Sy gaan môre met haar nuwe bikini nie op die strand tan nie. Sy gaan elders tan.
    “She is not going to tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow. She will tan somewhere else.”

In this case, the nie directly precedes op die strand (on the beach) and therefore negates only that phrase. 

  • Sy gaan môre met haar nuwe bikini op die strand nie tan nie. Sy gaan iets anders doen as tan.
    “She is not going t tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow. She will do something other than tanning.”

In this case, the nie directly precedes the second verb “tan” (tan) and therefore negates only that action. 

It should be clear from the above explanations that one must be sure to place the first nie after the first verb in the sentence, and directly before the phrase or word one wants to negate. 

4. Adding Color with Adverbs and Adjectives that Express Denial

That said, negative sentences in Afrikaans do not always require for the word nie to be the first word of negation. Sometimes, to add a bit of color to your speech, you can use additional negation vocabulary in lieu of the first nie. This strengthens the tone of what you’re saying and makes it more specific and descriptive, like this:

Sy praat nooit Afrikaans nie.
“She never speaks Afrikaans.
“Lit. “She never speaks Afrikaans not.”
Die lesse is gladnie lank nie.
“The lessons are not long at all.
“Lit. “The lessons are not at all long not.”

These additional negation words are adverbs (bywoorde), adjectives (byvoeglike naamwoorde), and auxiliary verbs that express denial and, as you can see, they make the sentence a little more specific and descriptive. Just remember that you still need to add the nie at the end of the sentence! 

Here are some examples of auxiliary verbs, adverbs, and adjectives that can be used for denial. 

D.1 Woorde wat vir Ontkenning Gebruik Word / “Words that are Used for Denial”

AffirmativeNegative
enige (“any”) / een (“one”)

Daar is een oefening. 
“There is one exercise.”
geen (“no,” “none,” “not”)

Daar is geen oefeninge nie.
“There are no exercises.”
enigsins (“at all”)

Is dit enigsins moeite vir jou?
“Is it trouble for you at all?”
geensins (“by no means,” “in no way”)

Dit is geensins moeite nie.
“It is no trouble at all.”
êrens (“somewhere”)

Dit is êrens.
“It is somewhere.”
nêrens (“nowhere”)

Ek kan dit nêrens vind nie
“I can’t find it anywhere.”
iemand (“someone”)

Daar was iemand.
“There was someone.”
niemand (“nobody,” “no one”)

Daar was niemand nie
“There was no one.”
iets (“something”)

Die bobbejaan het iets oorgekom.
“Something happened to the baboon.”
niks (“nothing”)

Die bobbejaan het niks oorgekom nie
“Nothing happened to the baboon.”
ooit (“ever”)

Sal jy my ooit verraai?
“Will you ever betray me?”
nooit (“never”)

Ek sal jou nooit verraai nie
“I will never betray you!”
nog (“still”)

Ek kan nog die geraas verdra.
“I can still tolerate the noise.”
nie meer (“no longer”)

Ek kan die geraas nie meer verdra nie!
“I can’t stand that noise anymore!”
beslis (“indeed,” “definitely”)

Dit is beslis ‘n probleem.
“That is definitely a problem.”
gladnie (“not at all”)

Dit is gladnie ‘n probleem nie
“That is not a problem at all.”
al (“yet”)

Het hy al sy werk gedoen?
“Has he done his work yet?”
nog nie (“not yet”)

Hy het nog nie sy werk gedoen nie
“He has not yet done his work.” 
tog (“and yet”)

Daar was amper g’n reën nie; tog is die dam vol. 
“There’s been almost no rain, and yet the dam is full.” 
tog nie (“and yet not”)

Daar was baie reën; tog is the dam nie vol nie.
“There was a lot of rain, and yet the dam is not full.”
heeltemal (“completely”)

Ek is heeltemal verward.
“I am utterly confused.” 
nie heeltemal (“not completely”)

Ek is nie heeltemal verward nie
“I am not completely confused.”
iets (“something”)

Kan ek iets vir jou doen? 
“Can I do something for you?”
niks (“nothing”)

Ek kan niks vir jou doen nie. 
“I can’t do anything/can do nothing for you.” 
moet (“must,” “should”)

Jy moet my later bel. 
“You must call me later.”
moenie (“don’t”)

Jy moenie my later bel nie
“You mustn’t call me later.”

Note: Similar to the English “don’t,” this is the contracted form of moet nie (“do not”).
sal (“will,” “shall”)

Ek sal die boek later lees. 
“I will read the book later.”
sal nie (“will not”)

Ek sal die boek nie later lees nie
“I will not read the book later.”
gaan (“will”)

Ek gaan more studeer.
“I will study tomorrow.”
gaan nie (“will not”)

Ek gaan nie more studeer nie.
“I will not study tomorrow.”

Diploma Hat on Top of a Pile of Books, with a Scroll Next to It

5. Converting Instructions and Requests to the Negative

Giving instructions/commands and making requests are things that we often do, so it’s important to be able to convert these to their negative form. 

E.1 Giving Instructions and Commands

Converting instructions to their negative form is not that difficult. Have a look at this instruction and its negative form:

Instruction: Sit daar! / “Sit there!”
Instruction – Negative Form: Moenie daar sit nie! / “Don’t sit there!” (Literally. “Don’t sit there not.”)

As you can see, we added the word moenie to the instruction and then added nie at the end of the sentence in order to convert it to the negative form. The word moenie (“don’t”) is a contraction of the words moet (do) and nie (not)

In Afrikaans, when you add moenie to the sentence, you must then move the verb (sit, in this case) to the end and follow that with the ubiquitous nie.

A few more examples: 

Instruction – Positive FormInstruction – Negative Form
Staan op! 
“Stand up!”
Moenie opstaan nie!
“Don’t stand up!”
Lit. “Don’t up-stand not!”
Kom later terug!
“Come back later!”
Lit. Come later back! 
Moenie later terugkom nie! 
“Don’t come back later!”
Lit. “Don’t later back come not.” 
Gaan weg!
“Go away!”
Moenie weggaan nie! 
“Don’t go away!” 
Lit. “Don’t away-go not!”
Kyk daar! 
“Look there!”
Moenie daar kyk nie! 
“Don’t look there!”
Lit. “Don’t there look not!”

Two Young Women Pointing to Something on a Laptop Screen.

Did you notice that the verbs and adverbs got switched around in the negative? For example: 

Kyk daar became “Moenie daar kyk nie.”

Where the adverb usually follows the verb in Afrikaans affirmative expressions, the opposite is true of the negative. This is a rule you should take note of. This switching sometimes results in the formation of a compound verb. Consider this: 

Gaan weg!” becomes “Moenie weggaan nie!” and “Staan op!” becomes “Moenie opstaan nie!

EXERCISE I

Why not try to negate in Afrikaans yourself? Read the affirmative expressions, write your negative answers (using moenie) down somewhere, and check them against the list of answers at the end of this article. Don’t worry, you won’t have to combine any verbs and adverbs! 

Eet die kos! – “Eat the food!”
Drink jou medisyne! – “Drink your medicine!”
Sing hard! – “Sing loudly!”
Praat vinnig! – “Speak quickly!”

6. Formal vs. Informal Imperatives

While the rule is that you should add moenie to an instruction (also called an imperative) in order to make it negative, a formal, more polite imperative will get an asseblief (“please”). As soon as you do this, there is another set of rules that apply. Have a look at the following: 

Informal imperative: Moenie opstaan nie! / “Don’t stand up!”
Formal imperative: Moet asseblief nie opstaan nie. / “Please don’t stand up.”

As you can see, when you add asseblief to the negative sentence, you need to: 

  1. break the compound moenie into its component words moet and nie;
  2. put the asseblief (“please”) between the moet and the nie; and
  3. remember to add the final nie at the end! 

Here are some more examples using the same informal instructions as in exercise E.1, but now converted to formal imperatives.

Informal ImperativeFormal Imperative
Moenie later terug kom nie! 
“Don’t come back later!”
Moet asseblief nie later terugkom nie.
“Please don’t come back later.”
Moenie daar kyk nie! 
“Don’t look there!”
Moet asseblief nie daar kyk nie. 
“Please don’t look there.”
Moenie weggaan nie! 
“Don’t go away!”
Moet asseblief nie weggaan nie!
“Please don’t go away!”

EXERCISE II

Your turn again, if you’d like. Just as before, read the formal affirmative expressions and write the negative down somewhere. Then check them against the list of answers at the end of this article. 

Ry vinnig, asseblief. – “Drive fast, please.”
Loop vinniger, asseblief. – “Walk faster, please.”
Gooi die bal, asseblief. – “Throw the ball, please.”
Tel die vuilgoed op, asseblief. – “Pick the rubbish up, please.”

7. Negating Compound Sentences

Ek Sien Hom Maar hy Sien my Nie. - I See Him but He Doesn't See Me.

Quick grammar note: A simple sentence is one in which there is only a subject and a predicate, as illustrated by this sentence: 

Ek (subject) sien hom (predicate).
“I see him.”

Obviously, a compound sentence then contains more than one subject and more than one predicate. It consists of multiple clauses. Consider this compound sentence: 

Ek (subject) sien hom (predicate), maar hy (subject) sien my nie (predicate)
“I see him, but he doesn’t see me.”
Lit. “I see him, but he sees me not.”

When looking at compound sentences, an important point to remember is that if you’re negating the main clause, you should negate it as you would a standalone, simple sentence. Consider the following examples: 

Hy ry nie, want die verkeerslig is nie groen nie
“He’s not driving because the traffic light is not green.”
Lit. “He drives not, because the traffic light is not green not.”

Ek is nie fiks genoeg nie; dus sal ek nie aan the marathon deelneem nie
“I am not fit enough; therefore I won’t be participating in the marathon.”
Lit. “I am not fit enough not; therefore will I not in the marathon participate not.”

As discussed earlier, in compound sentences, we also only use negating words in the part of the sentence that we are negating

Have a look: 

Ek sal gaan stap as dit nie reën nie
“I will go for a walk if it doesn’t rain.”
Lit. “I will go walking if it not rains not.”

If only the main clause is negated, then we must put the first nie in the main clause and the second nie at the end of the sentence. Here’s an example: 

Ek het nie gedink dat jy my sal onthou nie
“I did not think that you would remember me.”
Lit. “I did not think that you me would remember not.”

8. Answers to Exercises: 

Converting instructions to the negative – Exercise I

Eet die kos! – “Eat the food!”Moenie die kos eet nie! – “Don’t eat the food!”
Drink die medisyne! – “Drink the medicine!”Moenie die medisyne drink nie! – “Don’t drink the medicine!”
Sing hard! – “Sing loudly!”Moenie hard sing nie! – “Don’t sing loudly!”
Praat vinnig! – “Speak quickly!”Moenie vinnig praat nie! – “Don’t speak quickly!”

Converting the polite affirmative to the polite negative – Exercise II

Ry vinnig, asseblief. – “Please drive fast.”Moet asseblief nie vinnig ry nie. – “Please don’t drive fast.”
Loop vinniger, asseblief. – “Walk faster, please.”Moet asseblief nie vinniger loop nie. – “Please don’t walk faster.”
Gooi die bal, asseblief. – “Throw the ball, please.”Moet asseblief nie die bal gooi nie. – “Please don’t throw the ball.”
Tel die vuilgoed op, asseblief. – “Pick the rubbish up, please.”Moet asseblief nie die vuilgoed optel nie. – “Please don’t pick up the rubbish.”

9. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn the Negative in Afrikaans? 

We can assist you in learning Afrikaans negations in many ways! After all, that’s what we’re here for. Do you have any questions about the negative form in Afrikaans, or about these exercises? Please let us have them in the comments!

At AfrikaansPod101, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our hundreds of recorded video lessons, grammar and pronunciation guides, and these vocabulary lists.

Also, be sure to arm yourself with some words and phrases from our Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List. Remember to keep your Afrikaans online dictionary closeby for easy translation!

Also supplement your learning with these blog posts:

Enroll now for a free lifetime membership with AfrikaansPod101 to easily learn the Afrikaans negative form and so much more!

About the author: Christa Davel is a bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and journalist, and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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10 Great Reasons Why You Should Learn Afrikaans

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Why learn Afrikaans? 

Well, there are plenty of good reasons to learn a new language.

Some might be inspired to learn the language because of its unique appeal. Or, perhaps they wish to acquire proficiency in a language other than their mother tongue, because it’s bound to open many doors for them. Perhaps you have your own, special reason for wanting to learn Afrikaans—or perhaps you’re still deciding whether you’d like to start learning it. In that case, it might help if I tell you what I, as a native speaker, love about the Afrikaans language!

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  1. It is uniquely expressive.
  2. It’s full of humor!
  3. It has lovely nuutskeppings (“neologisms”).
  4. It can broaden your job horizons.
  5. It has a significant international presence.
  6. Despite rumors, Afrikaans is not a dying language.
  7. It opens unique cultural horizons.
  8. It’s good for your brain.
  9. Learning Afrikaans specifically offers certain advantages.
  10. Because of its roots, Afrikaans is not that difficult to learn.

1. It is uniquely expressive.

Languages reflect the culture they originate from, so each language inevitably spawns its own inspiring words. The wonderfully descriptive Swedish word mångata comes to mind, for instance. This refers to the path-like glimmer of the moon on water.

Moonlight on Water

‘Mångatais ‘n pragtige Sweedse woord wat “maanligpad” beteken. / “‘Mångata’ is a beautiful Swedish word that means ‘the path of the moon on the water'”

Another beautiful example is the soulful, essentially untranslatable Portuguese saudade, which is so nuanced in meaning that it still inspires music and literature, and also has its own Wiki page. Saudade refers (very basically!) to a sad and deep yearning for something currently unattainable—a pretty universal feeling.

1.1 Afrikaans has personality!

Each language has its own unique “personality,” and this is especially true of Afrikaans. One often hears people talking about how “very expressive” Afrikaans is. Even South Africans will comment on this, despite having been exposed to it all their lives. 

It’s a very earthy, bold language that is reminiscent of the harshness and beauty of Africa—hence the word Afrikaans. Because of this, we’re often able to capture the essence of the thing we’re talking about in a way that few other languages can.

I’m particularly partial to the earthiness of Afrikaans. The somewhat grating, guttural “g” and our rolling “r” remind me of wagon wheels rattling over the hard earth, or perhaps something even more primal. It’s an unpretentious language that tends to express the thing as it is.

Even the words we use are often literal and relate directly to the thing they signify. Take the word aardvark, for instance. Literally, it translates to “earth pig,” which makes sense when you look at the animal

Drawing of an Aardvark

Die aardvark is ‘n uniek-Suid Afrikaanse dier. / “The aardvark is a uniquely South African animal.”

The aardvark looks like a long-nosed pig, and it gets its food from the earth by pushing a long, sticky tongue into subterranean termite nests. 

Consider also the word kameelperd (“giraffe”), which directly translates to “camel horse.” If you ask me, that’s a rather apt description of the giraffe!

An interesting aside: The English word “giraffe” originated from the Arabic zarāfah (زرافة), which delightfully translates to “fast walker”—something the kameelperd definitely is, by the way. I think that’s a wonderfully descriptive name too.

A Giraffe in Africa

Die Engelse woord “giraffe” wat ‘kameelperd’ beteken, vind sy oorsprong in Arabiers. / Approximate: “The word ‘giraffe’ originated from the Arabic language.”

1.2 Afrikaans has very expressive dialects and slang

Our language also has some fascinating dialects, and few can compare to Cape Afrikaans (also called Cape Flats Afrikaans) and Orange River Afrikaans. Even among Afrikaners, these are considered characterful and extremely expressive. 

We take creative license with slang, especially. Consider, for instance, the word bebloed (“bloody”). In Cape Flats Afrikaans, this word has its regular meaning (something covered or infused with blood), but it can also refer to anger, such as in the sentence: Hy was bebloed toe die kar gebreek het. (“He was really angry when the car broke.”) I guess it could refer to a person’s blood-red face associated with an outburst of extreme anger!

Or, consider the words kwaai (“angry”) and gevaarlik (“dangerous”). In Orange River Afrikaans, these are also exclamations used to indicate that something is excellent, awesome, and exciting. Like this: Dis kwaai musiek daardie! (“It is excellent music, that!”) Or: Sy nuwe bike is gevaarlik! (“His new bike is awesome!”) Many other South African languages adopted the use of these slang words, too.

Why study Afrikaans? Perhaps the gratification of expressing yourself in a wholly new, colorful way could be reason enough.

Laughing Young Woman Holding a Book Over Her Mouth.

Leer ‘n nuwe taal om nuwe horisonne oop te maak. / “Learn a new language to open new horizons.”

2. It’s full of humor!

I also think Afrikaans has a marvelous sense of humor. Have a look at some of these amusing idiomatic expressions. Maybe you can tell me which is your favorite in the comments! 

(And definitely also expand your language horizons with The 31 Best Afrikaans Proverbs and Their Meanings.)

  1. Die bobbejaan agter die bult te gaan haal. 

    Lit. “To fetch the baboon from behind the hill.”
    Meaning: To risk making things happen by talking or thinking (i.e. worrying!) about them in advance, similar to a self-fulfilling prophecy

  1. So ń bek moet jem kry.

    Lit. “Such a mouth should get jam.”
    Meaning: A response to a comment that is very clever or witty, or that rings true

  1. Wors in die hondestal soek.

    Lit. “To look for sausage in the dog cage.”
    Meaning: Looking for something that is hard to find, like looking for a needle in a haystack

  1. Dis ‘n feit soos ‘n koei.

    Lit. “It’s a fact like a cow.”
    Meaning: An obvious fact that can’t be argued with

These idioms are just the tip of a massive iceberg of wonderfully imaginative expressions!

3. It has lovely nuutskeppings (“neologisms”).

Having so many dialects, and being spoken by a people who love creative expression, Afrikaans is bound to deliver some interesting and colorful neologisms. 

The most recent one I encountered was googleloer. This is a verb that refers to the brief use of Google (the search engine), and translates literally to “Google peek.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic—a difficult time that saw more or less the entire world in lockdown and in dire need of lightheartedness—Afrikaners introduced neologisms such as koeshoes (literally: “dodge cough,” or the type of cough one should dodge away from) and kwarantynwyn (“home-brewed alcohol” or literally: “quarantine wine”). The words rhyme in Afrikaans, which makes them more catchy.

Now that I have hopefully convinced you that our language is appealing enough to want to get to know better, let’s look at other reasons why learning Afrikaans is a good idea.

Man with Six Arms Holding Different Items Pertaining to Work, Money, and Exercise.

Om meer as een taal te kan praat maak jou meer veelsydig in die lewe. / “Speaking more than one language will make you more versatile in life.”

4. It can broaden your job horizons.

This is true of all languages—they are portals into worlds of many kinds. But if you’re ready to transform your life by doing something really adventurous, consider working in South Africa or Namibia, where Afrikaans is widely spoken. Mother Africa has a way of getting into your blood like no other continent, and you are guaranteed a unique and soulful experience. You might even choose not to return home at all! Many foreigners eventually relocate permanently to South Africa or Namibia. Read here about South Africa’s most beautiful city to learn why this might be one of your best decisions yet. 

4.1 Don’t believe the negatives…

Don’t believe the nay-sayers too readily. With the right qualifications, and by working with a reputable recruitment agency, landing a great job in South Africa is entirely possible.

For instance, what do a CISCO solution specialist and a safety, health, environment, and quality practitioner have in common? They’re both on the South African government list for critical skills lacking in the country. 

There’s furthermore a dire need for medical staff and teachers of Afrikaans, especially in our rural areas. These jobs are almost guaranteed for applicants with the right qualifications, and obviously only if you’re fluent in Afrikaans.

Successful foreign applicants will have to apply for a critical skills visa, where speaking one or two of the 11 official languages will also count in your favor.

Tip: Do not visit South Africa in the hope that you’ll find employment while you’re there—that’s job-hunting the hard way. There are numerous private-sector foreign recruiting options, but be sure to look at Job Nexus, an agency that helps international job-seekers find suitable recruitment agencies in the country. Also consider Initiate International Recruitment, which lists several white-collar jobs every day. Read, in addition, our article Agencies that help you find a job in South Africa & More! for helpful tips.

Map of the World

Afrikaans het ‘n aansienlike internasionale teenwoordigheid. / “Afrikaans has a significant international presence.”

5. It has a significant international presence.

Aside from its unique beauty and its prevalence in South Africa, why is it important to learn Afrikaans? Well, while the language originated in and is widely spoken in our country, it has a significant international presence too.

  • Afrikaans is spoken by most Namibians as a first language, according to their 2011 census. English is the country’s official language, but it has first-language status in only 2% of households.
  • A few areas in Botswana, one of our neighboring countries, have significant Afrikaans-speaking populations. Afrikaans is not an official language of the country, but in the Kgalagadi, Kang, and Gantsi districts, its use is significant enough for “Botswana Afrikaans” to be classified as a distinct variety of the Oranjerivier (“Orange River”) dialect. 
  • Afrikaans courses are offered internationally by prominent universities such as Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.A. It’s also offered as a subject by the Institute for Asian and African Languages at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. The University of Vienna, Austria, furthermore endorses an Afrikaans research group, while the Ghent University in Belgium has a ‘Centre for Afrikaans and the Study of South Africa.’
  • Furthermore, there are large groups of Afrikaans expats in countries like, among others, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the U.S.A., the U.K., and even the U.A.E.
  • Who’d have thought that you’d also find a small group of Afrikaans-speaking people in Patagonia, Argentina? This group comprises the hardy descendants of Afrikaners who left South Africa during the Boer Wars two centuries ago. They’re few in number, but the community is significant enough to have been the subject of a study by Michigan University, U.S.A. They even had a film made about the group, which was released in 2015: The Boers at the End of the World. Interestingly, the group was considered extinct three decades ago, but the community and their unique cultural heritage were revived. We have a word for this phenomenon in Afrikaans—kanniedood (lit. “cannot die”)—and it describes one of the most enduring Afrikaner characteristics: We are survivors—a hardy people who have historically faced incredible resistance, and have, time and again, survived against the odds. In much the same way, the Afrikaans language continues to survive and adapt.
The South African Flag in a Speech Bubble

Dit sal voordelig wees om goed Afrikaans te praat as jy in Suid Afrika of Namibië werksoek. / “It will be beneficial to speak Afrikaans well if you are looking for a job in South Africa or Namibia.”

6. Despite rumors, Afrikaans is not a dying language.

When South Africa gained full democracy in 1994, the fear was born among some Afrikaners that their language would disappear. Up until as recently as a few years ago, many thought it was only a matter of time before it would join the list of “Dead Languages.” However, these days, the nay-sayers are changing their tune—and also, the facts beg to differ.

  • The argument that the continued existence of Afrikaans is in danger has some validity, but this concern is disproportionately represented in the media by those with political agendas and narratives. Unfortunately, many still (justifiably) consider Afrikaans to be the “oppressor’s language”—the Caucasian Afrikaners being the oppressors. And yes, there’s no denying that Afrikaans history is steeped in blood that was shed during political struggle. However, the negative label is not entirely fair or accurate. Firstly, the majority of Afrikaans-speakers are non-Caucasian or “Coloreds”1—constituents of one of the country’s previously oppressed groups. Secondly, as a friend remarked: If somebody used to behave very badly, but was converted and was demonstrably committed to the good of all, would you really condemn them to death? Is there no redemption? Many feel that the Afrikaans language doesn’t deserve to die, despite its checkered past, and we believe that it still has a significant role to play in the world. It’s furthermore noteworthy that some of our most outstanding Caucasian Afrikaans authors were stalwarts of the political struggle against oppression and apartheid. Breyten Breytenbach, André P. Brink, Ingrid Jonker, and Athol Fugard come to mind.
  • Even though Afrikaans is not spoken by the majority of people in the country, it is nevertheless the South African lingua franca of business. It shares this status with English.
  • In 2018, 12.2% of the population listed Afrikaans as their home language, compared to 8.1% of English home-language speakers. It’s also the fourth most spoken language outside of the home.
  • The majority of the population in the Western Cape, Northern Cape, and Gauteng provinces speaks Afrikaans. This matters, because the Western Cape and Gauteng are the economic hubs of the country, while the Western and Northern Cape are home to many of our major tourist attractions.
  • The majority of the country’s population can speak Afrikaans as a second or third language, or they are at least able to communicate well enough in it to get what they need. If you plan to work or travel in rural areas, you’ll find English almost useless.
  • Afrikaans literature has the biggest market share in the local publication business, according to Dr. Nicol Stassen, executive head of one of the largest publication houses in South Africa (Protea Boekhuis). He noted that in 2015, 49% of all locally published books were Afrikaans, and large international publishers (such as Oxford and Penguin Random House) have joined this market. This was not always the case, by the way. In 2004, only 22% of all locally published books were Afrikaans, so the growth is very encouraging.
  • A number of extremely successful Afrikaans authors’ works were translated into other languages and distributed internationally. Many of these books have been turned into movies—think Deon Meyer, Elsa Joubert, Dalene Matthee, and so forth.
  • Afrikaans furthermore thrives in the performing arts arena, notably in the music and film industries. The movies Moffie and Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story garnered a lot of international interest and were nominated for important film awards. Also, countries like the Netherlands and Belgium love Afrikaans music, and our local stars often travel there to perform in front of huge crowds. 

1In South Africa, a large group of people of mixed descent (mainly Black, White, Malay, and San), self-identify as “Colored.” Please note that, unlike in America, this is not a derogatory term in South Africa.

South African Cape Vineyard

Suid Afrika is een van die wêreld se mooiste toeristebestemmings. / “South Africa is one of the world’s most beautiful tourist destinations.”

7. It opens unique cultural horizons.

South Africa is home to a rich diversity of cultures. Among them, the Afrikaners, specifically, are known for their cuisine, especially the famed braai. Be sure to read our article The Best South African Foods (with Recipes to Try) for more information on this delightful topic. 

Of course, there’s also our love of rugby. When our international rugby team, the Springbokke (lit. “jumping antelope”) plays, the game is a national event many won’t miss for anything. This is one of the top teams in the world and has won the Rugby World Cup on three occasions. The only other country to have done so is New Zealand.

One of the oldest industries in the country, the wine industry, is run mainly by Afrikaners. The quality of our wines is known far and wide, and the wines have won many prestigious international awards over the decades.

We South Africans are, in general, a friendly and generous lot, and it’s possible to make friends for life here. The country’s political scene is not the easiest to understand, and the divide between the rich minority and the poor majority is still way too big, but we’re also busy building a different, inclusive culture that many foreign visitors find unique and inspiring.

If you’re still not quite convinced about the benefits of learning Afrikaans—or of being introduced to such a unique culture—have a look at the next topic…

A Young Child Learning English Vocabulary

8. It’s good for your brain.

As it turns out, experiencing a new culture and studying in a different country may have cognitive benefits. These benefits are fairly well-documented and, while the research is not uncontested, the evidence leans most strongly towards second-language acquisition being a positive thing. 

  • One 2012 review of the data links bilingualism to improvements in cognitive and sensory processing. The authors also remarked that the ability to speak two languages may help you to better process information in the environment, leading to improved attention to detail and better task-switching capabilities. 
  • And that’s not all! It has been shown that bilingual students will learn a third language more easily than they did their second language. So, it appears that acquiring a new language becomes easier the more languages you master!

Research also seems to suggest that children and older adults benefit the most from bilingualism. Both groups can perform certain tasks better, and the benefits for adults are that they age better neurologically and show delayed onset of neuropathy. To think that it was once considered harmful for the brain to learn a new language…!

Young Woman Holding and Reading a Notebook

Om ‘n nuwe taal te leer is goed vir jou grysstof! / “Learning a new langauge is good for your grey matter!”

9. Learning Afrikaans specifically offers certain advantages.

Once you’ve mastered Afrikaans, you’ll likely find it extremely easy to learn Flemish and Dutch, and relatively easy to understand and study German and other related languages. Many birds with one stone, so to speak! And here’s why …

10. Because of its roots, Afrikaans is not that difficult to learn.

Like English, Flemish, German, Dutch, etc., Afrikaans is of Germanic origin. This means that for speakers of any related language, Afrikaans would be much easier to master. 

It’s also a relatively young language, so:

  • it has an uncomplicated vocabulary compared to, say, Mandarin or Chinese;
  • nouns don’t have gender;
  • conjugations are less complex compared to all older languages. For instance, the be-verbs don’t change for number and pronoun, as they do in English, for instance.

What’s more, over the past three decades, the internet has made language learning so much easier! Wondering where to learn Afrikaans when so many options are available? Innovative Language, which is one of the oldest online language-learning platforms around, draws from years of experience and tried-and-tested expertise. 

At Innovative Language, AfrikaansPod101 is one of 34 languages available to study and you can expect offerings such as:

Sign up right now and see for yourself why you should learn Afrikaans!

About the Author: Christa Davel is an experienced, bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and copy editor, who’s currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s been writing for InnovativeLanguage since 2017.

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Tenses in Afrikaans – Your Easy Guide

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Tenses in Afrikaans are not as hard to master as those of many older languages. In fact, there’s no need to feel tense about tenses!

A Woman Laughing with a Book on Her Head

Dis nie nodig om gespanne te voel oor Afrikaanse tye nie! / “There’s no need to feel tense about Afrikaans tenses!”

How Do We Indicate Afrikaans Tenses?

In Afrikaans, the verbs usually inflect for time, just as in English. This is called “conjugation” (werkwoord verbuiging) and it’s characterized by a change to the form of the verb—in this case, to indicate the tense. (Think “walk” vs. “walked.” Here, the verb has a suffix [-ed] to indicate that the action took place in the past.)

Some more good news: There are very few complex conjugations and rules for indicating the continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous tenses in Afrikaans! Of course, we have methods of expressing these concepts, but they’re very simple compared to those used in most older languages. In this article, we’re going to cover the basics of the simple past, present, and future tenses in Afrikaans.

Afrikaans Conjugations for Time

Conjugations for the simple past, present, and future tenses in Afrikaans tend to be less complex than those in English. Take the verb “to be,” for instance. It can be conjugated for time, but it doesn’t change for person or number as it does in English, Spanish, or French. 

Look at the following examples. Can you see how the irregular English verbs change only for time in Afrikaans?

PastPresentFuture
was … gewees 
(“was” / “were”)
is 
(“am” / “is” / “are”)
sal … wees
 (“will be”)
Example 1: 
Ons was by die see gewees. 
(“We were at the seaside.”)
Example 1: 
Ons is by die see.
(“We are at the seaside.”)
Example 1:
Ons sal by die see wees. 
(“We will be at the seaside.”)
Example 2: 
Die Afrikaanse les was baie interessant gewees.
(“The Afrikaans lesson was very interesting.”)
Example 2: 
Die Afrikaanse les is baie interessant.
(“The Afrikaans lesson is very interesting.”)
Example 2: 
Die Afrikaanse les sal baie interessant wees.
(“The Afrikaans lesson will be very interesting.”)

Footprints in the Wet Sand on the Beach

Ons was by die see gewees. / “We were at the seaside.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. What Does the Present Tense in Afrikaans Look Like?
  2. What Does the Past Tense in Afrikaans Look Like?
  3. What Does the Future Tense in Afrikaans Look Like?
  4. Compound Verbs (Partikelwerkwoorde) & Tenses in Afrikaans
  5. Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Master Tenses in Afrikaans?

1. What Does the Present Tense in Afrikaans Look Like?

The simple present tense (eenvoudige teenwoordige tyd) in Afrikaans is used to express something happening right now. Its characteristics include…

  1. …the presence of selfstandige werkwoorde (“simple verbs”), such as werk (“work”), speel (“play”), and maak (“make”);
  1. …sometimes, a present tense koppelwerkwoord (“linking verb”), such as is (“is”) and a byvoeglike naamwoord (“adjective”);
  1. …appropriate adverbs and adverbial phrases of time.

The following adverbs of time (bywoorde van tyd) and adverbial phrases of time (bywoordelike bepalings van tyd) indicate the present tense in Afrikaans.

    nou (“now”)
    vandag (“today”)
    op die oomblik (“at the moment”)
    nou dadelik / onmiddelik (“right now”)
    deesdae (“these days” / “nowadays”)
    tans (“currently”)

Take a look at these syntactic analyses to see where the conjugations fit in.

Ek is tevrede. / “I am pleased.”

Subject PronounLinking VerbAdjective
Ekistevrede.
Iampleased.

Die bloggers is gewild. / “The bloggers are popular.”

Subject PhraseLinking VerbAdjective
Die bloggersisgewild.
The bloggersarepopular.

My selfoon lui nou. / Lit. “My cell phone rings now.”

Subject PhraseSimple VerbAdverb of Time
My selfoonluinou.
My cell phone“(is) ring(ing)”anow.

Baie toeriste geniet op die oomblik die Suid Afrikaanse somerweer. / Lit. “Many tourists enjoy the South African summer weather at the moment.”

Subject PhraseVerbAdv. Phrase of TimeObject Phrase
Baie toeristegeniet op die oomblik die Suid Afrikaanse somerweer.
Many tourists “(are) enjoy(ing)”aat the momentthe South African summer weather.
  • aNote: Afrikaans doesn’t have continuous tenses!

REVIEW: So, to recap quickly—how do we identify which tense is used in these sentences? 

That’s right! We know these are in the simple present tense because:
 
  • the linking / be-verbs are the present tense is (“am” / “is” / “are”);
  • the verbs are not conjugated; and
  • we can also spot a present tense adverb and adverbial phrase.

  • A Young Couple on a Sailboat in Beautiful Weather

    Baie toeriste geniet op die oomblik die Suid Afrikaanse somerweer. / “Many tourists are enjoying the South African summer weather at the moment.”

    Hopefully, that was easy enough. Now, onto the past tense in Afrikaans!

    2. What Does the Past Tense in Afrikaans Look Like?

    The simple past tense in Afrikaans (eenvoudige verlede tyd) is the most complex of the three tenses. It’s typically characterized by one or more of the following:

    1. Past Tense Verb Conjugation A) where a past tense koppelwerkwoord / linking verb (was) is used in tandem with the hoofwerkwoord / main verb (wees), but the latter gets the ge- prefix (gewees). These terms don’t correlate exactly, but the nearest English conjugation would be: “I was tired.” / Ek was moeg gewees. It’s also acceptable to simply say: Ek was moeg.
    1. Past Tense Verb Conjugation B) where a hulpwerkwoord van tyd / Lit. auxiliary verb of time (het) is paired with a hoofwerkwoord / main verb that also gets the ge- prefix. An English approximate would be the simple past tense conjugation, e.g. “The water boiled.” / Die water het gekook.
    1. The use of appropriate adverbs and adverbial phrases of time.

    A Pleased-Looking Employee Receiving a Certificate of Excellence

    Ek was tevrede gewees. / “I was pleased.”

    The following adverbs and adverbial phrases of time usually indicate the past tense. 

      toe (“then”)
      gister (“yesterday”)
      voorheen (“previously”)
      die vorige (“the previous”)
      laasjaar / laasweek / laas Kersfees (“last year” / “last week” / “last Christmas”)
      verlede jaar / verlede week / verlede Kersfees (Also “last year” / “last week” / “last Christmas”)
      in die verlede (“in the past”)

    Let’s see where the Afrikaans past tense conjugations fit into these sentences:

    Ek was tevrede gewees. / “I was pleased.”

    Subject PronounLinking Verb AdjectivePrefix ge- + Main Verb
    Ek wastevredegewees.
    Iwaspleased.

    Note: This can be translated as “was” OR “have been.”

    Die bloggers was gewild. / “The bloggers were popular.”

    Subject PhraseLinking VerbAdjective
    Die bloggerswasgewild.
    The bloggerswerepopular. 

    Note: Vernacularly, gewees is often omitted from the was … gewees conjugation, as shown in this sentence. The omission won’t change the tense or the meaning of the sentence.

    My selfoon het toe gelui. / “My cell phone then rang.”

    Subject PhraseAuxiliary VerbAdverb of TimePrefix ge- + Main Verb
    My selfoonhettoegelui.
    My cell phonethenrang.

    Baie toeriste het laasjaar die Suid Afrikaanse somerweer geniet. / Lit. “Many tourists enjoyed the South African summer weather last year.”

    Subject PhraseAuxiliary VerbAdverb of TimeObject PhraseIrregular Past Tense Verb
    Baie toeristehetlaasjaardie Suid Afrikaanse somerweergeniet.
    Many touristshavelast yearthe South African summer weatherenjoyed.

    Note: Keep in mind that geniet is an irregular past tense verb, meaning that there is no ge-morpheme conjugation. Read on for more about these irregular verbs and their conjugations for the past tense.

    REVIEW: So, to recap quickly—how do we identify the tense in these sentences? 

    That’s right! We know these are written in the simple past tense because: 
    1. the be-verb, as a linking verb, conjugates for the past tense—was (“were” / “was”)—and appears with and without the conjugated main verb gewees;
    2. there’s an auxiliary verb het + prefix ge- main verb conjugation; and 
    3. we can also spot a past tense adverb and adverbial phrase.

    2So, what is the exception? The exception is irregular main verbs.

    A Young Man Talking on His Cell Phone in a Street.

    My selfoon het gelui. / “My cell phone rang.”

    B.1 Irregular Main Verbs (onreëlmatige hoofwerkwoorde)

    Many (if not most) simple past tense sentences are conjugated with the Past Tense Verb Conjugation B (auxiliary verb het + gemain verb) mentioned under the previous heading. But of course, grammar being grammar, there are several exceptions to this rule. Very simply put—some verbs do not get conjugated with het + ge-main verb, ergo the term “irregular main verbs”. Only the auxiliary verb het appears in the sentence. 

    While it’s not difficult to spot these irregular verbs in a sentence (just look out for het plus a main verb), it’s challenging to list them based on similar morphological characteristics. So, for the purposes of the article, I’ve listed these irregular verbs according to the cluster of letters they start with. Some of these clusters are morphemes or prefixes (a morphological unit with meaning, such as “re-” in English), and others are just clusters of letters without classification.

    If this is all too complex—just memorize these irregular verbs, and remember the past tense conjugation! The asterisk * indicates transitive irregular verbs, meaning that when they appear in a sentence, you will always find a subject too. (Or, in other words—a subject is necessary in the sentence in order for it to make sense!)

    Starting with:Irregular Main Verbs:
    Ge-
      gesels (“chat”)

    Ons het gesels. (“We chatted.”)

      *gewaar (“notice”) / *gedra (“behave”) / *geniet (“enjoy”)

    *Die kinders het eerste die leeu gewaar. (“The children were the first to notice the lion.”)
    Be-
      beperk (“limit”) / betaal (“pay”) / bedaar (“calm down”)

    Sy het betaal. (“She paid.”)
    Ver-
      vergeet (“forget”) / verloor (“lose”) / vergewe OR vergeef (“forgive”) / vergaan (“expire”)

    Hy het vergeet. (“He forgot.”)
    Her-*
      herhaal (“repeat”) / heroorweeg (“reconsider”) / herdenk (“commemorate”)

    Billie Eilish het sommige liedjies herhaal tydens haar konsert. (“Billie Eilish repeated some songs during her concert.”)
    Ont-*
      ontvang (“receive”) / ontken (“deny”) / ontlont (“set off,” “ignite”)

    Hy het skuld ontken. (“He denied his guilt.”)
    Er-*
      erken (“admit”)

    Hy het skuld erken. (“He admitted his guilt.”)
    Irregular Compound Verbs 

    (Read on for more about regular compound or particle verbs and how they conjugate for the past tense.)
    afbetaal (“paid off”)
    opbetaal (“paid-up”)
    oorbetaal (“paid over”)
    inbetaal (“paid in”)
    weergee (“relay”)

    Hy het die volle bedrag inbetaal. (“He has paid in the full amount.”)
    Weer-*
      weerspreek (“contradict”) / weerlê (“disprove”) / weerlê (“refute”)

    Die politikus het haarself weerspreek. (“The politician contradicted herself.”)

    Note: These look like particle or compound verbs, don’t they? They’re not, though, because the meaning of weer changes to “again” when it stands alone. In these irregular verbs, the prefix weer confers almost the same meaning as “against” or “contra-“.

    A Male Customer at the Bank Counter with a Lady Counting Money

    Hy het die volle bedrag inbetaal. / “He has paid in the full amount.”)

    Wait! These are not the only exceptions, unfortunately.

    B.2 Irregular Linking Verbs (onreëlmatige skakelwerkwoorde)

    If you spot one of the following linking verbs (skakelwerkwoorde) in a sentence, then they conjugate the same way as the irregular main verbs under the B.1 heading (auxiliary verb het plus the linking verb without a ge- prefix). The main verb retains its base form.

    Look at these examples:

    bly 

    • Dit het bly reën. / “It kept raining.”

    gaan

    • Ons het gaan eet. / “We went eating.”

    kom

    • Die dokter het kom help. / “The doctor came to help.”

    probeer

    • Ek het Fortnite probeer speel. / “I tried to play Fortnite.”

    Vernacularly, it’s acceptable to conjugate the following with or without the prefix ge- when they serve as linking verbs

      leer (“learn”)
      aanhou (“keep on”)
      ophou (“stop”)
      help (“help”)
      sien (“see”)

    Some sources say this is a dialectical preference specific to certain parts of the South African Western and Northern Cape provinces, but I have encountered it across the whole country. It doesn’t matter, really, because the meaning remains unchanged.

    Here’s what these linking verbs look like in sentences:

    leer
    Tydens die pandemie het ek (ge)leer programmeer. / “During the pandemic, I learned to program.”

    aanhou
    Dit het aan(ge)hou reën. / “It kept raining.”

    ophou
    Almal het op(ge)hou alkohol drink. / “Everyone stopped drinking alcohol.”

    help
    Die laaste ent van die pad het hy (ge)help dra aan die baggasie. / “(For) the last bit of the road, he helped carry the luggage.”

    sien
    Ons het die uil (ge)sien wegvlieg. / “We watched the owl fly away.”

    An Owl in Flight

    Ons het die uil gesien wegvlieg. / “We watched the owl fly away.”

    You probably noticed the compound verbs (deeltjiewerkwoorde)—aanhou and ophou—and the special treatment they got. More about that later.

    Now buckle up for the future!

    3. What Does the Future Tense in Afrikaans Look Like?

    The simple Afrikaans future tense (eenvoudige toekomende tyd) can be recognized by one or more of the following:

    1. Future Tense Verb Conjugation A) which comprises an auxiliary or modal verb (hulpwerkwoord van modaliteit) sal / gaan, plus an unchanged main verb, similar to the English simple future: “We will walk.” / Ons sal loop.
    1. Future Tense Verb Conjugation B) which comprises an auxiliary or modal verb (sal / wil / kan), plus the auxiliary verb wees for the active voice and word for the passive voice. An approximate conjugation in English could be: “I will be satisfied.” / Ek sal tevrede wees. This is the active voice. To illustrate the passive voice: “That will be done.” / Dit sal gedoen word.
    1. Appropriate adverbs and adverbial phrases of time.

    The following adverbs of time and adverbial phrases of time usually indicate the future tense.

      dan (“then”)
      nou / binnekort (“soon”)
      nou-nou (Lit. “now-now,” which means almost the same as “soon-ish”)
      more (“tomorrow”)
      volgende week / maand / jaar (“next week / month / year”)
      voortaans (“henceforth”)
      van nou af (“from now on”)
      in die toekoms (“in the future”)
      oor ‘n uur / dag (“in an hour / day”)

    Now let’s look at how this works in a few sample sentences. 

    Ek sal tevrede wees. / “I will be contented.”

    Subject PronounAux. / Modal VerbAdjectiveBe-Verb
    Eksaltevredewees.
    Iwillcontentedbe.

    Die bloggers gaan gewild wees. / “The bloggers will be popular.”

    Subject PhraseAux. / Modal VerbAdjectiveAux. / Be-Verb
    Die bloggersgaangewildwees.
    The bloggerswillpopularbe.

    My selfoon sal dan lui. / Lit. “My cell phone will then ring.”

    Subject PhraseAux. / Modal VerbAdverb of TimeBase Verb
    My selfoonsaldanlui.
    My cell phonewillthenring.

    Baie toeriste sal volgende jaar die Suid Afrikaanse somerweer geniet. / Lit. “Many tourists will next year enjoy the South African summer weather.”

    Subject PhraseAux. / Modal VerbAdv. Phrase of TimeObject PhraseBase Verb
    Baie toeristesalvolgende jaardie Suid Afrikaanse somerweergeniet.
    Many touristswillnext yearthe South African summer weatherenjoy.

    REVIEW: So, to quickly recap—how do we identify which tense is used in these sentences? 

    That’s right! We know they are in the simple future tense because: 
    1. some auxiliary verbs are conjugated to the future tense sal / gaan wees (“will be”);
    2. others conjugate simply to sal / gaan plus a base verb; and
    3. we can also spot future tense adverbs and adverbial phrases of time.

    If you’ve found our article on Afrikaans verb tenses helpful so far, also look at Your Definitive Guide to Proper Afrikaans Sentence Structure. Learning to form sentences is a great way to practice your use of tenses.

    But before we wrap it up—what happens to compound verbs (samekoppelings, deeltjiewerkwoorde, or partiekelwerkwoorde) in the past, present, and future tenses in Afrikaans…?

    4. Compound Verbs (Partikelwerkwoorde) & Tenses in Afrikaans

    This type of verb, also called samekoppelings, partiekelwerkwoorde, or deeltjiewerkwoorde, is a combination of what we call in Afrikaans a partiekel and a main verb, and they go together like a motorcycle with its sidecar. Well, not entirely, because the first part of the compound verb (particle) usually retains meaning when used separately from the main verb. So, unlike a sidecar, the particle can stand independently. Yet, the main verb’s meaning is modified by the partiekel—just as a motorcycle’s function and character are redefined by a sidecar!

    Below is a list of the most common compound verbs. In Afrikaans, the rule is that the particle and the main verb go together, even when they’re not written as one word. 

    D.1 Common Compound Verbs + Conjugations

    Particle VerbMain VerbPresent Tense ConjugationPast Tense Conjugation
    het + particle + -ge- verb

    Where the ge- appears in brackets, it means that it is sometimes omitted in the vernacular.
    Future TenseConjugation
    sal / gaan
    ingeeingee / “give in”het ingegee / “gave in”sal ingee / “will give in”
    toegeetoegee / “concede”het toegegee / “conceded”gaan toegee / “will concede”
    aangeeaangee / “pass on”het aangegee / “passed on”sal aangee / “will pass on”
    opgeeopgee / “give up”het opgegee / “gave up”gaan opgee / “will give up”
    oorgeeoorgee / “hand over”het oorgegee / “handed over”gaan oorgee / “will hand over”
    ophouophou / “cease”het op(ge)hou / “ceased”sal ophou / “will cease”
    aanhouaanhou / “keep on” OR “persist” OR “keep”het aan(ge)hou / “kept on” OR “persisted” OR “kept”sal aanhou / “will persist”
    inhouinhou / “keep in”het ingehou / “kept in”gaan inhou / “will keep in”
    voorhouvoorhou / “pretend”het voorgehou / “pretended”gaan voorhou / “will pretend”
    ingaaningaan / “go into”het ingegaan / “went into”sal ingaan / “will go into”
    oorgaanoorgaan / “go over” OR “cross”het oorgegaan / “went over” OR “crossed”sal oorgaan / “will cross”
    toegaantoegaan / “close” (by itself)het toegegaan / “closed”sal toegaan / “will close”
    aangaanAangaan / “persist” OR “go on”het aangegaan / “persisted” OR “went on”sal aangaan / “will persist” OR “will go on”
    afloopafloop / “walk or run down”het afgeloop / “walked or ran down”sal afloop / “will walk or run down”
    oploopoploop / “walk up”het opgeloop / “walked up”gaan oploop / “will walk up”
    inloopinloop / “walk in”het ingeloop / “walked in”gaan inloop / “will walk in”
    aankeeraankeer / “arrest” OR “round up”het aangekeer / “arrested” OR “rounded up”sal aankeer / “will arrest” OR “will round up”
    afkeurafkeur / “disapprove”het afgekeur / “disapproved”sal afkeur / “will disapprove”
    afbreekafbreek / “break down”het afgebreek / “broke down”gaan afbreek / “will break down”

    Did you like learning from this article? Then also look at The Best Afrikaans Verbs List at Your Fingertips and Your Easy Guide to Understanding Afrikaans Grammar.

    5. Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Master Tenses in Afrikaans?

    I’d say yes! There are plenty of reasons why enrolling immediately is a good idea. For example, read about the benefits of a Premium PLUS membership, which is very reasonably priced and can fasttrack your learning considerably. 

    Skint month? No problem. Start with the lower-priced Basic option. You can always upgrade later. 

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    About the author: Christa Davel is an experienced bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and journalist, and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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